It was about the tenth grade when my English teacher accused me of plagiarism. Back then, I read books and wrote stories when I should have studied. It began the day before when my English teacher yelled at me for reading Johnny Tremaine. She said, “Stop reading that romance story.” Then, she gave me a stereotypical story assignment most often given by teachers at the beginning of the year: Write about your summer vacation.
For a creative writing person who loved good fiction and loved to write stories on her spare time, this assignment squelched any creative flair. I chose instead to invent a summer vacation story. My imagination went wild and several pages later I had an admittedly unrealistic summer romance story. I turned it in and the teacher said I failed because it was plagiarized from the romance book that I was reading.
Johnny Tremaine? Really?
I protested the grade, took the fake hall pass my friends had forged, and went directly to the assistant principal. The assistant principal knew me. He knew that I could write. He was there when I won first-place in the city-wide essay contest for Torrance, California and was awarded $100 by the Mayor of Torrance. He knew I rode in the Armed Forces Day Parade because of my talent. He pulled the English teacher into the office.
And we were both soundly chastised; me, for not knowing the rules to break them correctly (i.e. making up a story and not making it realistic); and the English teacher, for falsely accusing me. The worst possible insult to a writer is to accuse them of plagiarizing. However, there are widely spread reports that plagiarism is on the rise, especially where it concerns fan fiction.
20,000 Fans of author, Cynthia Eden, notified her that her novel had been plagiarized by someone named “Misconception.” Her entire novel was posted as Misconception’s own work on FanFiction, and the plagiarizer notably remarked how much work it took to write Cynthia’s novel. Eventually, the scandal found resolution. The plagiarizer took down the novel and left an apology, but never apologized to Cynthia. You can read that article here.
plagiarism means you have stolen someone’s work or life story and claimed it as your own. Any plagiarizer should understand that writing is a lot of work and not for glory-seekers wanting only their name on the front cover of a book and the accolades that come with it; they don’t want the work associated with writing. Someone plagiarized my story once, and there were many ways I could have handled it; because I knew this person I chose instead to let it go. However, that’s not to say I wouldn’t hesitate to fight for my writing. As the story above has shown, I did and still will protect my work. Everything is protected on this blog and on my website. Some people have ongoing permissions to use my work on their blogs. But if you’re not one of them, please ask first before you repost my blog. I will also do the same for you, extending that respect and love required of a Christian.
With Love, Nikki