I had a serious encounter of how foolishly people copy other people’s work and think they can get away with it!
It began few days back, when I heard that one site’s writers had created a small gathering for themselves. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go and see the chat.
I think we had been speaking for, what, ten minutes? When suddenly one older fellow decided we should read something out from our own works. To get acquainted with each other and what we write. Idea had merit, so we did. He went first.
And what followed looked something like this:
“She stared at the man before her as if she’d seen one really bad rotting egg. He knew from the first time he laid his eyes on her she had no interest of knowing him better. Especially after a bad remark on her job, this made her now as bitter as ale gone off. He hadn’t really meant it, at least not about her, but as he hadn’t had a chance to fix it, she didn’t know it.
Even worse was his surprise to hear her voice in the other end of the line, when announcing his arrival with the goods in less than fifteen minutes. She hadn’t been expecting them anymore as he could read out from her stuttering, but she regained her posture fast, telling she’ll open the gates. That’s what you got when replacing your truck driver, who calls on Friday the 13th that he is sick. The whole day had gone down the hill from there. And now he had this pretty site to welcome him. How he had even memorized her voice was beyond his comprehension – it was just as pleasant as any other.
She looked strange with her working clothes. Obviously, with what they did, he could hardly imagine her wearing something more revealing or something that would have suited her more, but this was truly ugly shade of grey apron and jacket. Her hair were all messed up, too – probably put up in hurry and waiting few minutes in rain had turned her usually soft curly hair into fuzzy hay like mess. What a peculiar site she was. He blinked to get that vision out of his head. She was actually graceful like that.
He coughed. The older man that shared several her traits seemed nicely oblivious about them knowing each other and the way she clenched her lips into a very sharp edged line, she had no intentions of doing the honors and introducing them to each other.
She was wearing a long gypsy skirt. He hadn’t realized it before she turned to catch the truck’s back door that went flying towards her. She caught it with ease and softly let it fall against the machine’s side.”
Not just SOMETHING, but pretty surely EXACTLY like this! Only, I know this story. I know it from my heart. I even put some of it up in my back-then blog, though years later.
I wanted to know more and I asked him then bluntly if the “she” character is making muffins next, in a warm honey-like kitchen? And perhaps they fall out and she responds to his ultimatum with resigning her secretary post in the office they both work in?
How do I know, they asked – he’s only worked of this for three months. I said I don’t think he’ll work on it much longer, considering I only have a chapter to finish it! Amazing how gravely silent your surroundings can get.
He is respected author, they said.
Well, then he sure chose the wrong way to boost his career, I responded, because I have the original – on paper, photographed with dates. And I do not consider it much of a progress if an older colleague chooses something to present as his own what I wrote more than six years ago!
Think wisely if it is worth the trouble, when you go down the road of plagiarism! Just because the stories are old and written by less known authors does not make them less known. There is always someone, who recognizes, who the original comes from. The best scenario – you might end up presenting it to the author of the original. The worst scenario – she might find it enough of a reason to present it to her lawyers.