Val Chapman tackles the issue of plagiarism in this post, raising issues and giving us her thoughts
……They accused me of plagiarism. Their words, not mine……..
I do sometimes wonder if I should include certain quotes in my stories. Obviously, I do not want anyone to think I have knowingly ‘stolen’ someone else’s work, passing it off as my own.
I have a little book where I write snippets of conversation I overhear, perhaps an interesting sentence or story I may read in a magazine. I look through this from time to time, looking for inspiration.
Sometimes it helps, mostly it does not.
But because these little prompts are ‘second hand’, should I use them at all?
I do wonder at times what constitutes plagiarism?
I think ‘knowingly’ is the keyword.
Surely we have all, at some point, used words from another body of work we have remembered and used in our own efforts, either consciously or unconsciously?
I assume that to be classed as ‘plagiarism’, it refers to a whole piece of work and not a few words or sentences here and there. Let’s face it, if it referred to ANYTHING then we wouldn’t be able to write at all!
So I’ll just continue along, in blissful ignorance and hope I don’t incur the wrath of someone with far more talent than me.
One thought on “All my own work.”
It is (apparently) easy to ‘unknowingly’ copy a phrase of music into one’s own composition without realising that earworm you’ve been carrying around all month comes from someone else’s symphony or pop song. People have been sued for such borrowings.
Bearing in mind the trouble I used to have memorising poems or quotations for English lessons (do schools still do that?) I should think the chances of reproducing someone else’s prose by accident must be similar to those of that infinite quantity of monkeys reproducing the works of Shakespeare.
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