Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dreamspinner Press, Plagiarism, and Stupidity

Okay, so I tend to glance over things most of the time. It takes me a while to get to the point where I may look further into it. Now, I haven't really read Bear, Otter and the Kid by TJ Klune, but I am a Dreamspinner Press author and DAMNED proud of it. I also can say that Dreamspinner Press DOES NOT CONDONE plagiarism without a doubt in my mind.

My last release, Chasing Seth, was originally written in a totally different manner. After submission and going through the first round of edits, a couple of their team members noticed the similarity between my story and another author's. Now, do not take this as my stealing from another author because that is far from the truth. I wrote Chasing Seth on my own without using another author's work for the plotline. But there were enough similarities that it made DSP editors wary about releasing it without some major editing. Which I gladly did as I do not wish to have the same story as another author in the m/m world or any genre for that matter. DSP would never KNOWINGLY allow plagiarism. I will never believe otherwise.

I read the initial post that started this whole bruha about plagiarism and the many posts on the Yahoo groups I am part of and I want to say I think the writer is an idiot. No offense meant, but to be a professional reviewer of books as you are so obviously attempting to do on your blog/site, you have to set your heart aside and lead with your mind. For you to refuse to review books from DSP because of something which you haven't done more than a cursory investigation into is the most unprofessional B.S. I've ever read.

Read that post here


Do some actual research before you jump to conclusions!


My opinion... as always... does not require anyone jumping on me for it. I just feel very strongly in regards to Dreamspinner Press. They do not deserve to have such a hornet's nest stirred up about them. The slightest bit of bad press can hurt any company, no matter their size. And I think it's extremely hateful, ignorant and rude to spread such filth without having all of your facts and PROOF before you open your mouth. I have personally met Elizabeth from DSP and I know for a fact that she is a person with high morals and integrity beyond which this person accusing DSP of allowing their authors to plagiarize is capable of even understanding or possessing.

Thank you for listening to my rant and no matter what anyone says I will always support and submit to DSP.

J.R.

7 comments:

  1. George Harrison was sued over My Sweet Lord being similar to He's So Fine...AS IF! With as many writers as there are, there are bound to be similarities unconsciously written.

    Matthew Darringer

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    1. That is one of the biggest truths told in a long time. It doesn't matter what story line you read, there are ALWAYS similarities between it and another and another and another. Like Dracula... you can't tell me there hasnt been a million vampire books written where several key pieces are the exact same?

      Or shapeshifters, wizards, witches, etc etc. How many times has Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Little Mermaid and other classic fairy tales been rewritten?? Is that plagiarism?? If it is, then why isnt Hans Christian Anderson reaching out from the dead to smack those people for writing it again? or the Grimm Brothers?

      I just think that the person attacking DSP either has a personal agenda or was having a really bad day because in the overall grand scheme of things if you really look at it, what publishing company hasn't released SOMETHING which may be considered on the fringes of plagiarism? It's getting harder and harder to find an original idea anymore.

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  2. Books, like movies, are never fully original. The story lines have been around, what makes it different is the author's spin on it. There are a gazillion books of guy secretly in love with best friend's sister, but that doesn't equate to plagiarism if another author decides to weave a story around the plot. I agree with Matthew in that there are bound to be similarities unconsciously written at some point. As long as it's not an exact replica (or close to being an exact replica) I think it can be moderately safe to say the person wasn't trying to claim ownership of someone else's words.

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  3. I've read the book Bear, Otter and The Kid and I've seen the movie Shelter that's mentioned in the post and not once while reading the book did I think it resembled Shelter and I still don't.

    Books are bound to have similar plotlines, even names but that doesn't mean it's plagiarised.

    Also, what are your opinions on the paypal ultimatum? I think it's stupid, it's like they're trying to dictate what authors can write and what people can read.

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  4. I couldn't agree with you more. Very well said.

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  5. I have to agree with Anonymous there. With so many stories being written, movies being made (such as remakes of older tv shows and films, even films made less than 10 years before!) Spider-Man came out in 2002, and The Amazing Spider-Man is being released in 2012. Ang Lee's Hulk (starring Eric Bana, very high on my cool list) came out in 2003. The Incredible Hulk (starring Edward Norton, also very high on my cool list) came out in 2008, a reboot of the character origin and continuation of his story. Are these movies plagiarizing the earlier ones? I realize studio and other entertainment industry politics are involved, but geez!

    Back to the original post, there are websites which list basic plotlines. There is a very generic "seven plotlines" list and a "36 storylines" list. Here are the websites I found with a basic Google search:
    http://ask.yahoo.com/20070305.html
    http://www.tennscreen.com/plots.htm
    http://www.coolinfographics.com/blog/2012/4/27/mapping-popular-story-plot-lines.html
    http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html
    http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-001347.htm
    http://www.tameri.com/write/plotnstory.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plot_(narrative)
    Each of these also have very useful writer resource links.

    With so many writers, there are going to be similarities no matter who spins what. It's like the thousand monkeys typing on a thousand computers for a thousand years and producing the works of Shakespeare. And yes, I am one of those monkeys. I have written fanfic that I am certain contains elements similar to what other authors have used, and even turns of phrase. I have also written original fiction that is undoubtedly sharing the same qualities as other stories. All authors plagiarize little bits and pieces, we do it to polish and refine our own style. We do it because we love another writer's word or phrasing.

    Now, I agree that lifting entire stories, dialogue and exposition wholesale - word for word - is plagiarism. If authors are going to use another author's work for inspiration, then at least take the time to rewrite and create something that is at least a little original. Simply swapping out names and using synonyms isn't enough. If one wants to do a rewrite of someone else's work, then contact the author and ask permission to do so. Even with fanfic, even bad fiction, an author's story is part of them. Stealing it is stealing part of the author and that is not to be tolerated.

    To quote Dennis Miller, "Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong."

    Ari

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  6. Addendum:

    That said, I must also add that I have every intention of submitting my next original slash fiction to Dreamspinner Press. I have heard nothing but good comments about DSP before this bruhaha happened. A publisher cannot possibly review all stories on all sites on the internet. I'm sure they don't have the staff to do so and still review their own submissions in a timely manner.

    Ari

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