Sunday, September 29, 2013
Copy, paste, publish...
Well, another week and another plagiarism scandal breaks. And once I was over my usual incredulous head-shaking, I started wondering...
Okay, so just imagine you want to publish a book. So you trawl through the vaults of fanfiction, and what do you find? A few different stories that you decide to cobble together as one, change the names, and voila, a book!
Except instead of being a shortcut, doesn't that actually seem like a lot of work?
Now, I understand how easy it would be to steal a book, change a few details like the title and names, and slap it on Amazon under my name. Easy, and totally reprehensible. But this more sophisticated sort of plagiarism where you steal from multiple sources? Frankly, I'm not seeing the point.
If you're talented enough to take a bunch of different manuscripts and edit them together with all those pesky tenses, and POVs, and voices, and plot points, then you're talented enough to come up with your own idea surely?
I could download 80 000 words of a couple of different fanfictions in minutes...but putting them together? That's like one of those jigsaw puzzles with no edges. And where you also lost the box with the picture on it.
I don't know about you guys, but I find editing the hardest part of writing. And the very thought of taking a bunch of different stories and actually making them into something cohesive...hell no. I'd rather start from scratch, thanks.
I'm not saying this to be disingenuous. Once, I tried to restart a WIP after I'd already written three chapters because I wanted to change the genre, and go from sci-fi to contemporary. Easy, right? I'd just have to change a few details and it would all be done.
Um...no. I had to throw those chapters out and start again, because simple tweaking didn't make it make sense. It had to be entirely rewritten.
Plagiarism seems like it would be hard work. Harder than actually writing. And why would you pick something that managed to be hard and reputation-killingly-stupid at the same time? I just really don't understand it at all.
Which is lucky for me, because it means I'll never be caught out in this sort of shit fight.