A 19th century engraving from The Astrologer.
The title of today's post is a straight plagiarism by me of a line by a commenter on Making Light somewhere in the messages ( over 650 and counting) that follow the October 11 topic, Weirdly Similar, about some extensive plagiarism of David Gemmell's novel Dark Prince.
The line references another comment made by Patrick Nielsen Hayden about a couple of years ago regarding someone who advised writers to lie about their credentials: This is stupid. Now I have stupid all over me.
The story broke at Dear Author with a post Ten Top Tips for Plagiarists.
Messages there amount to 350 and counting.
(If I've screwed up links, they're available at Writer Beware which also has background on the subject.)
I got hardly any work done over the weekend.
Found the full operatic glory of it all utterly fascinating: accusations of "slander", threats of law suits for "deformation of character" and super "Wicca" curses of ten-fold boils or fleas or something, and assertions that "mean" people will have "blood on their hands."
The disability card was also played in an irky enough fashion to keep the pot on continuous boil.
Of course, the conversations included the usual suspects -- the morally superior expressing their disgust at the low-lives who dared rush to judgment, as well as the occasional sock puppet.
Lots of long knives. But, for the most part, fairly wielded, I thought.
And rather than describe the situation as watching a train wreck in slow-motion, one poster compared it to "having a front-row seat to Krakatoa."
Besides the sheer soapy drama of it all, a number of related and interesting writerly issues emerged.
Since the original source of the plagiarism was/is, apparently and allegedly, a scam agent subsequently hired as a ghost writer -- another poster observed a difference between those who want to write and those who merely want to be published.
In defense of the scamee, Mary Kellis, aka Lanaia Lee, someone claimed that lots of bestselling authors do the same thing, ie. use ghostwriters.
If one excludes celebrity authors -- who, incidentally, often name their amanuensis -- I'm not sure that's true.
I don't think those who have research assistants or those who hire freelance editors to clean up their grammar and point out plot holes qualify as users of ghostwriters.
All in all, a riveting school for scandal.