Thursday, January 10, 2008

Re: Cassie Edwards & Plagiarism

Romance novelist Cassie Edwards has been accused of lifting work from other texts. Via Yahoo & the AP:
One example compares a description of black-footed ferrets in "Shadow Bear," which came out last year, with text from a 2005 article in Defenders Magazine, a quarterly published by Defenders of Wildlife, a conservation organization.

From "Shadow Bear":

"While alone in my father's study one day, after seeing a family of ferrets from afar in the nearby woods, I took one of my father's books from his library and read up on them. They were an interesting study. I discovered they are related to minks and otters. It is said that their closest relations are European ferrets and Siberian polecats. Researchers theorize that polecats crossed the land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska, to establish the New World population."

From Defenders Magazine:

"Related to mink and otters, they are North America's only native ferret (and a different species than the ferrets kept as pets). Their closest relatives are European ferrets and Siberian polecats. Researchers theorize polecats crossed the land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska to establish the New World population."

A prolific author, Edwards has written more than 100 novels in the last 25 years and has won several awards, including the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement prize.


lucrezia said...

I too find the sentence too close for comfort, at the same time I think it's impossible for editors to chase these things up. The onus remains with the writer.

I feel that the writer, regardless of how many works behind them, could have made a better effort to construct the sentence so that it wasn't obvious. I wouldn't say it's plagiarism, as the article relates to animal research, but it's as though the sentence was added with little thought. She didn't have to add 'researchers theorize'; the entire sentence could have been changed. It's understandable that research is a necessary task for writers, but if the research is obvious (and dry), it doesn't do any justice.

lucrezia said...

Here's an interesting article, with Nora Roberts on the matter.

It's become quite controversial, and I think for writers who don't practice lazy arsed prose (lifting research text), I can understand their anger. Plagiarism is a cardinal sin, where writing is concerned.

Silent-Porn-Star said...

I agree that the last line was lazy writing, just lifted; like you, I think this is less plagiarism and just laziness (if it were a line lazily lifted which formed the plot or dialog I'd be more inclined to accuse).

I'd be interested in that Roberts' link, if you stop by again...

A also agree that editors and publishers can't always chase these things, and I think that leads to a problem of potential exploitation on the part of writers. There's the rub, as they say.

lucrezia said...

jeez talk about my forgetfulness:

the link is from CNN

Silent-Porn-Star said...

Thanks :)

I'm posting it as a link, then going off to read it ;)