And on a serious note, it has come to my attention that…

Sadly, it has come to my attention that there is a writer/are a few writers who feel that my specific ideas, the ones I use in my stories, are free for the pickin’, as it were.

They are not.

While I would never, ever call these people out in a public forum unless it became absolutely necessary, I will use said public forum to ask this person/these people to either credit me with the idea, terminology I invented, or plot point that I created, or to just stop lifting and using my ideas from my stories as their own.

I had hoped the first example or two were simply coincidence, but evidently they are not.  I also tend not to believe in coincidences.

Everyone knows that many larger plots are enormously inclusive and have been around for so long as to almost become their own canon, but… it is generally quite easy to tell when the writer of a story has created something based on their own ideas.  And, no matter how unintended the action – as I hope these incidents are, and no matter how large or small the theft, stealing that idea, terminology, or plot point is still theft, and it makes me sad that I even have to address this issue.

And, yes, I *am* being purposefully vague here because I would never want to hurt their feelings or cause them any distress – unless it becomes absolutely necessary, at which point I will raise hell.  At this point I am not out for blood or anything of that sort;  I just want them to either stop (preferably), or to have the grace to acknowledge that, simply put, *I* thought of it first!

To the very best of my knowledge I have never done anything along these lines to any writer because I have too much genuine respect for them.  But, if I ever did, then I would surely want that writer to let me know so that I could immediately correct that part of my story – hence this post.   Ideas belong to their creator, period.

Now, if this person/these people had become inspired by one of my stories or found that they really wanted to incorporate a certain section, and had come to me asking if it would be ok to use this part or that, I would have been flattered as all hell and would most likely have given them every approval and assistance they could have wanted.

Anyway, I am now going to consider this issue addressed, but I will be keeping my ever-watchful eyes open and aware.  I know exactly what all has been lifted and from which stories. Although I am a very easy-going person, I hold my creations dear to my heart and do not in any way appreciate others using my specific ideas as their own.

I feel…violated.

~Mer

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29 thoughts on “And on a serious note, it has come to my attention that…

  1. It is the plague of any writer; someone using their ideas, phrases & characters. Especially when there is so many places they can hide. Sorry to read that you are being abused this way. I want to say “ignore the parasites” but really they are leeches sucking everyone dry without an original thought. Your writing is exceptional & plots original.

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  2. jules3677: It is. 😦 T

    The first time or two I noticed it I did choose to ignore it. At that time I was really hoping it was an accident, because I guess things like that really COULD happen with no ill intention on the writer’s behalf – you read a lot of stories and after a while if you’re not careful ideas from those stories I guess COULD merge with your own ideas, right?

    But…no. At this point it’s not accidental. 😦 I just hope this post serves as a non-aggressive, very peaceful warning volley – I see you, now stoppit.

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  3. Unbelievable!! What the hell is wrong with people these days!! Its not like it’s hard to credit a rightful owner or you know have an original idea!! I am super sorry this happened to you!! Sorry for ranting on like a mad women 🙂

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  4. godricsookielover92: I wish I could say that I could just blow it off, but…yeah, no. I tried that the first few times I noticed the evidence, and nothing stopped. *pounds head on desk* Thanks, doll. 😀

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  5. Many of your ideas are absolutely brilliant and I fully intend to credit you if I a’borroin’ go. J.R. Watkins has some good ones too. I keep notes pinned to the wall surrounding my ‘puter. I would hope that a source would gently remind me so that I can give praise where praise is due.

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  6. treewitch703: Awww, thank you! 😀 And I would be fully on-board with that program, too. 😀 JR’s got some awesome creativity going on – that’s for sure!

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  7. Ugh! I’m sure we all “borrow” ideas from others in some form or fashion, but to blatantly do it with no acknowledgment of the idea’s creator is just all kinds of wrong!

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  8. As we all share the same sandbox and toys, it’s hard to avoid similarities here and there. However, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that plagiarism is an intentional act and we know it when we see it. Have you tried contacting the copycat directly and let her know you’re on to her?

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  9. AlphaEN: This is my first step, and I honestly hope it works since I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this writer truly doesn’t realize what they’re doing.

    If it persists, my next action will be contacting them directly.

    My tertiary action would be to take a screen shot of my story/stories and have the relevant parts highlighted, take a screen shot of their story with my words highlighted, place them side by side, and just post the proof publicly. Plus, my work is date-stamped on several sites should further proof be needed.

    Am I foolish in hoping that this has all been unintentional or accidental? Yeah, probably…but I really would prefer to think kinder thoughts. Of course at this point I just want it to all go away. 😦

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  10. AlphaEN: Thank you – me, too! I wouldn’t need them to even apologize or retroactively give credit – just stop it. I’m just too lazy for war! 😀

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  11. How awful. You have every right to feel violated. You’ve been plagiarized, several times, and this is unconscionable. Shame on this person! Naturally plots are going to mimic one another; this fandom has had more stories written about it to the point where so many are lacking in originality. To blatantly steal someone else’s ideas, creativity, and hard work is criminal and shameful. I am so sorry this had happened to you. You are a class act though! Posting this way & not mentioning names or stories; in other words, not starting a war is a very classy way of going about things. I hope your wish that it all just goes away. It sucks! Here’s a smile for you, kid! Keep up YOUR great work! 🙂

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  12. msbuffy: Thank you! I truly do just want it to stop. I’m not a vampire so I have no need for their blood, lol, but, if it continues I will take other action…I’d just so much rather not.

    We have a whole slew of awesome writers and readers in this fandom, and I really don’t want to start waging war and rocking boats when I can – I hope! – solve this situation by spreading much a classier peaceful resolution.

    *taps magic wand hopefully*

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  13. Hey! My magic wand has “poofed” out! I gotta get a new one.

    I really respect your manner of handling the situation. I’m all about the peace.

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  14. Hang on a sec. I don’t mean to rain on anybody’s parade but aren’t fan fiction writers themselves committing the very same ‘crime’ by using the original characters, plots and ideas from the original author? I can understand that you may be miffed that someone is running with your original idea/plot but, didn’t you do that with Sookie, Eric, Godric et el? Just asking.

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  15. trajedy99: Absolutely, and that’s the main thing that (most of us) readers love about fanfiction – we like seeing how others use THEIR OWN ideas to change up, mend, expand and expound upon that which was already written.

    When we writers enter the fanfiction world, we do so with the go-ahead (explicit or implicit) from published writers.

    Now, there is a short list of writers who do not allow others to write fics based on their books – you’ll find that list on fanfiction.net and on their own websites – and we respect those authors who have chosen to not allow anyone to use their ideas as a basis for a fanfiction story.

    However, there are numerous writers who DO knowingly allow us to base OUR WORKS on THEIR creations by either explicitly stating that they will allow us to do so, or who implicitly allow us to do so by NOT specifically stating otherwise, which in effect gives permission by default.

    This is where DISCLAIMERS come into play. Disclaimers serve several purposes, including that: they allow fic writers to GIVE CREDIT DUE to the originating writer (which was denied me by the thief); they allow the fic writer to disallow the theft of their own original ideas by other writers (which I specified in my disclaimer when I first started writing); and they can state the terms under which use of the fic writer’s original ideas may be granted to other writers (also specified in my own obviously-ignored disclaimer).

    So, yes, the entire facfiction industry IS a product of perceived-to-be amateur writers taking the published ideas of professional writers and changing them up, fixing them, and expanding them by the addition of THEIR OWN ideas so long as they give proper credit where that credit is due and enjoy no financial gains.

    The difference, however, is that not only have those professional writers given permission either explicitly or implicitly by default, but that honest fic writers WILL use a disclaimer stating who the originating work OR IDEA belongs to and giving them credit due, while dishonest writers the world over steal ideas without asking and certainly without giving proper acknowledgment or credit to the writer whether professional or otherwise.

    Just because you do not know me to be a published writer in no way negates the point that the theft of my original ideas is just that: theft. I give credit where credit is due, and I, sadly, expect the same respect to be shown to me.

    Long story short: fic writers have explicit or implicit permission to take published writer’s ideas and work with them so long as they (we) give credit where credit is due and do not profit from the originating writer’s ideas. The permission (explicit or implied) was granted to fic writers who in turn have enough honesty and respect for the originating writer to give credit, and in turn that respect applies to non-originating writers who will always own their own ideas.

    That sentiment applies to all writers, especially those who issue and use disclaimers.

    Now, admittedly I stopped pretending that I knew everything when I got out of college, but this just is how I perceive the situation..

    I hope this helps?

    ~Mer

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  16. Fair comment and I accept your arguments.
    Now, I have been reading waaaaay too much ff for a long time now and in all honesty, canon has become ‘muddy’ for me in that, I haven’t read the final book, (it is sitting on my shelf gathering dust because, if I don’t actually read it, it’s not true – yes, sad I know) and it has been a while since I have read, the books, so I tend to meld canon with ff :- / In fact, my favourite author EIM, introduced so many original characters, I have difficulty remembering that they are not in fact canon characters. Same with plots, sometimes I need to stop and think.
    I think that the only way for a ff writer to not ‘borrow’ is to not have read any ff at all. Also, I suspect that a lot of ff writers would think that by crediting CH that the job was done???
    Maybe a PM to the writer/s concerned might do the trick.

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  17. trajedy99: I deal mostly with the TB/SVM genre, and I can easily concur – there’s canon, but there’s also what I call “secondary canon” – ideas that were once original but they’ve been used, swapped, expounded upon, and mutated (hopefully with the writer’s approval, lol) to the point that they, themselves, are all-but canon.

    The first 8 SVM books? Yeah, I’ll always adore them because they “gave me” Eric, but I freely admit that I let CH’s last *3* attempts to extract even more money from my pocket stay right on the virtual and literal shelves. THEY DO NOT EXIST FOR ME – THEY NEVER HAPPENED!! Move along, nothing to see there… *time out for a good cry*

    And I, too, keep expecting Gawain or Edward or Richard to come loping into a scene, or for one of the kids to pop in for some reason… (I really miss the fuck out of her.) *damn, another cry*

    As far as the reason behind this entire post, in truth I just want the person to stop it. I don’t need blood or an apology, or at this point even credit (since to do so would embarrass them and I’m choosing to believe that their actions were unintentional and/or unintended) – I just want it to allllll go away so I can go bury myself back in Valentine’s Night or After the Show or Andre or Decisions or any of the other eleventy-hundred story-lines I’ve got saved for that proverbial rainy day. 😀

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  18. Pingback: And on a serious note, it has come to my attention that… | Fanfiction by Bertie Bott

  19. @trajedy99: you make a good point with respect to fanfic writers using other authors’ original works, even each others’ idea. Mer’s response is also very well expressed, and I totally agree. I just want to add this: from Mer’s post it is clear that this person plagiarizes her works, not just plays with the same toys. There is a big difference. I had a reader once who commented that one of my scenes (just a scene, mind you) reminder her of another author’s story, which by the way I happen to like very much. The reader was both right and wrong. On the surface, there was likeness, but all the characters (except Eric and Sookie) in my scene were the products of my imagination and they were very different from those in the other author’s story. They had completely different plotlines, purpose, magic, background, etc. I *originated* them. The scene itself was “a music concert”. It is a general concept, yet if you write such scene with supes involved, there are bound to be similarities between yours and others out there in the fandom. So long as the main details, the interpretation, and the plot are all yours, there’s nothing to worry about. Same toys, different outcome.

    Now, let’s assume for a moment I decide to write how Sookie loses her memory and Eric helps her through. There are many stories like that, and I wouldn’t even know who wrote what first. Does it make me a plagiarizer? No. But if I start copying plot devices and character details strikingly similar to another fic/fics (how exactly Eric finds Sookie: in the words, and she’s wearing her uniform, tells him to go to hell, or whatever), then I’m crossing the line.

    Like I said, we may not always clearly determine word for word what exactly is plagiarized, but we know it when we read it, particularly when it turns into a pattern of abuse of other’s work.

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  20. AlphaEN: You made an excellent point: while we’re playing with communal toys in a communal sandbox, it’s what we individually and specifically do with those toys and how we, individually and specifically, re-arrange the sand that makes our work “ours”.

    Also, for better or for worse, in some instances the fandom has grown to the point that not only do we have canon, we now have a sort of “secondary canon” as well, and it’s extremely hard – if not downright impossible – to even guess who came up with which bigger, often-used plot any more (which is sad, but it’s a fact of fanfic life).

    And I definitely agree that while it might be difficult most times to be able to point to a specific paragraph or scene and shout with self-righteous anger: AHA!! YOU STOLE THAT FROM ME!, the fact remains that we KNOW plagiarism of our works when we read it.

    When you work though blood, sweat, and tears on a chapter, you will absolutely recognize when you see your stolen work placed under someone else’s name. Rarely a particular phrase or small plot point could indeed have been “borrowed” unintentionally or accidentally, but when it happens more than once, it’s intentional theft.

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  21. Sometimes basic idea theft can be hard to pin down since so many of us do play ‘in this communal sandbox’ and after reading dozens of stories they can all blend together. I may be naive, but II also like to think that sometimes a writer just doesn’t realize that they read something somewhere else weeks ago and it’s been percolating and then put into their own story. That’s forgivable with a nice, gentle reminder and heads up like Meridian did. Yet I’ve read some stories where entire dialogue has been taken from another story and _that_ is done knowingly. As for the first point, I (as a writer) would definitely want to be made aware that my imagination had been naughty (and not in a good way), especially since I would be horribly embarrassed about having done it since I believe in giving credit where it’s due. As for the second case, the plagiarizer has to know what they did since it’s copied word by word. Now THAT I find truly disgusting. I hope it all works out for you!

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  22. Pingback: Plagiarism Is a Dirty Word | A Writer's Corner

  23. If you can’t get the author to pull on their own:

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Ahh, you found me. No clue why they stuck me ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE, but see that "Comment" box? Have at it!

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