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Nora Roberts vs Plagiarism

I came across something on Twitter this evening that caught my attention.

I went looking for what was up and made my way to Nora Roberts’ website where I found that she had made not a rant, but a promise a few days ago.

Writers are aware of the dangers of others plagiarizing their work, and it is hard hard work to write a book. It takes a lot of hours of not just writing the story, but then rereading it and adjusting it and fixing places so that all the parts work as a whole and assuring that all of the lose ends are brought to a neat and satisfying conclusion at the end of the story.

Someone might think that it is not that big of a deal to just lift a small set of words out of tens of thousands of words. But trust me, writers put a lot of real work into those few words that someone decided were so great they wanted to claim credit for them.

I’ll write a scene, then go back and adjust how it reads to make it better. Then adjust it again so that it better conveys what I want to say, then adjust it again so that it touches the perfect emotion in the reader. Add in about 200 more adjustments and minor re-phrasings to get the passage to fit with the tone and mood and overall atmosphere of the story… there is a lot of hard hard work that goes into creating a piece of fiction that someone will possibly never read. Don’t even get me started on the work that is added if I decide to redo the scene with another character as the viewpoint.

I might never see any payment for my hard work, and if I do see any money from it it will quite likely never equal how much work I put into creating that passage.

And yet… there are people out there that think nothing of taking that passage and claiming that it was written by them and selling a book they put no real effort into. A book that was ghost written from bits and pieces of other books.

Those are the thieves that have been brought to my attention by Ms. Roberts’ experience and her writing about them. I doubt there is much that I can do, but I thank those, like Ms. Roberts, who have taken on the battle to try to stop the theft of writing. Hopefully one day my writing is to a point where others can read it, and while I understand that imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, and would be open to the option of fans writing stories set in my worlds, I would not want others to profit off of the words I have struggled so hard to create. Especially through the claim of having been the crafter of those passages and scenes.

Thank you, Ms. Roberts, for standing up for writers. I’ll stand up with you as best I am able and help support the real artists in the writing community.

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