Hey! That’s mine!

I've been following this whole story about that Harvard girl who was allegedly inspired by some of her favourite authors with a lot of interest.

When I interned at a very big publisher, a particular writer who had been similarly inspired by another big name writer was revealed. And although no one really said it, looking back, I think the biggest thing felt by the editors I worked with who spoke about it was betrayal. Now, this particular writer had a big name behind her. She'd proven herself again and again for almost twenty years and was a VERY BIG DEAL at this particular publisher and in the writing community in general, and then all of a sudden there were these accusations and scandal. A lot of people were very, very surprised. And the questions were asked, why didn't anyone catch it? How did no one notice that this had happened?

The thing is, nine years later, this writer is still writing and selling books. Not with the very big publisher, but with another one. And she's still selling. Why? Because outside of our very small community of writers, there are very few people who know…or care…what happened.

In my day job, I'm a technical editor for a big company. Out of curiousity, I mentioned the more recent situation to the rest of my team of editors. Not a single one had heard of the story or any of the controversy.

And I think this shows two things. One… for this Harvard girl, this will blow over. Some people will remember, and it could likely affect her future in publishing, but I doubt it. In four years, she'll have a degree from Harvard and will be able to take that and work just about anywhere.

And two, as a society, we let it go. We think it's okay, so it is. Meg Cabot, one of the alleged inspiring authors, wrote a great post about this. To the Carols and the Harvard girls and the others who think it's okay, it's not. And I, too, feel sad that you won't ever get it.

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3 Comments »

  1. Why do I feel as though I know the very big author who plagiarized the Much Bigger Author is? And the name of the Much Bigger Author too?

    People don’t care about plagiarism. It’s just like downloading music online without paying for it.

  2. Lara Said:

    Heh, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did know who the big author and much bigger author was. Tho at the time, big was bigger than much bigger đŸ™‚

  3. Jenna Howard Said:

    I stood in front of the books at Zeller’s, staring at Big Author’s new release and went “Um Yeah No.” Why? I’ve never read her. Never picked her up. But I can’t trust her. How do I know all 100,000 words are hers? As a reader I need to know that all the words belong to the writer. As a writer…I need to know that all the words are mine and won’t pop up elsewhere.


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