Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How Dare You

I’m a writer. That’s no secret.  It’s not my day job, but anyone who knows me, especially members of my immediate family, can attest to how much time I spend on my work.  My books are like children to me, and I love my characters so much that I laugh and cry with them.  The first time I killed off one of my male leads, I cried so hard I swore I’d never do it again. That’s how much I love what I do, and I know I’m not the only author who feels this way.

That’s why I’m always appalled and disgusted when the word plagiarism rears its ugly head. Taking the work of another and claiming it as your own is deplorable and hurtful and lower than low.  There have been a number of novels I’ve read where I’ve liked them so much I’ve wished I'd written them. I’ve also often really enjoyed certain scenes in novels and had the same feeling, but I can safely say I would never lift these passages and try to pass them off as my own.  Not only is that unfair to the author who invested so much time and emotion in creating the original work, but it’s illegal and unethical and immoral.

One time, at least that I’m aware of, I found myself the victim of plagiarism. A young author posting a story on a Justin Bieber fan fiction website of all things took several scenes from my story Like You Mean It and inserted them into “her” story. She not only copied scenes, but she used the same premise. An alert fan brought this to my attention and after months of working with the site, the story was taken down and the author banned from posting, under that name anyway. With the anonymity provided by the worldwide web, there’s no guarantee she’s not already at it again.

The outrage I felt over this is still quite fresh in my mind, and my husband can confirm the many screeching rants I subjected him to regarding this issue. Sadly, plagiarism will never go away, but it never ceases to anger me as it did last week when I learned an “author” named Jordin Williams was found to have plagiarized work from not one but two published authors. It was found that several of the passages in Williams' novel were taken directly from the works of legitimate authors Tammara Webber and Jaime McGuire. When confronted with this accusation, Williams initially denied writing the novel and claimed it was the work of a ghostwriter which smacks of fraud since Williams claimed to be a ghostwriter turned author. Since then, Williams has gone into hiding. No one can find the once ubiquitous web presence she had. Anyone who purchased Williams’ novel, Amazingly Broken, is urged to return it for a refund. 

When I first heard the name Jordin Williams, I had no idea who she was. My Twitter feed was abuzz with the news that she was not only a fake but her identity was in question. I took to the web to find the information in the preceding paragraph. Now, it’s only right to mention that in the United States all persons accused of a crime a granted the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law.

All I can say is if this person really did this, and I say this on behalf of all authors who’ve spent countless hours, days, months and even years working on our stories, is how dare you! 

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