Friday, January 11, 2008

Brouhaha

STATUS: TGIF. I’m in the middle of negotiating several different deals this week, which has made life particularly hectic on top of all the “normal” stuff.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? NEVER LET ME DOWN AGAIN by Depeche Mode

You probably have to be living under a rock not to have heard all of the hullaballoo happening over at the Smart Bitches Blog and the possible allegations of plagiarism and romance writer Cassie Edwards.

If you are living there and haven’t heard, you might want to pop over there to check it out. (Stories are also running on the AP and hence in a lot of major newspapers.)

I’m not really going to jump into the discussion per se because I think most of the pertinent things have been said.

If you remember there was another recent brouhaha with the OPAL MEHTA novel scandal and the plagiarism of established author Megan McCafferty. In both cases, I must say I felt a small pang for the editors involved. Why? Because I’d be silly not to live in fear of the possibility happening with one of my clients, and I missed it.

When pointed out so clearly, it seems like the misuse should have been clear as day but egads, what if you had never read Megan’s SLOPPY FIRSTS (so didn’t catch the obvious echo) or, because you are so used to the author’s style, you just missed the change in tone for the passages in question? Makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about that.

So for all my clients, a message. Don’t plagiarize and if you remotely have a question on whether content could be “paraphrased,” for heavens sake ask me!

I know the rules. I was an English College Professor for years and had to teach this stuff and how to cite and attribute correctly (based on several different styles: MLA, Chicago AP etc.) I’ll be happy to guide you.

And for all those non-clients reading this, use this incident as a learning moment to be warned, to be careful, and to be knowledgeable about what plagiarism is.