Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PLAGIARISM ALERT!

I just "love" it when this kind of shit happens.

This kind of thing dumps the entire apple cart over and makes everyone leery of everyone else because you never know if someone's ripping you off.

If you haven't read it by now or don't know what I'm talking about, head on over and read A Rage of Angel: I've Been Plagiarized...and I'm Not Alone.

It's hard enough being a writer, trying to come up with stuff that you think is going to be original (and what's really original anymore?), to have someone blatantly rip you off must be a knife to the brain and heart and a kick in the ass or balls.

It's hard enough being an editor, reading great story after great story, only to realize that there's a reason that it's so great; Stephen Fucking King wrote it ten years ago and someone ripped him off, changing a couple words here or there.

I try to read as much crime and noir-related fiction as I can on the web (it's impossible to read everything) so as to know who deserves a boost and a look from everyone that reads ATON.

And, of course, everything that comes to me is read by me and me alone with as sharp an eye as I can manage.

There is only one editor of A Twist Of Noir and thus only one set of eyes. Therefore, if there's something I haven't read myself getting passed off as someone else's work, how am I to know?

As such, I have to rely on the honor system, that everyone coming here with story-in-hand is on the up-and-up.

I want to be clear about this:

I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY REASON TO DOUBT THAT EVERYONE HERE HAS BEEN 100% HONEST.

However, because of this schmuck (and there will be others, there always are), there have to be safeguards put into place.

The one I want to inact is the following:

Sharp eyes.

The writers here aren't just writers, they're readers, too. They read everything that gets posted on this site and then some.

I'm depending on all of you to look out for each other.

Goddamn it, I hate when this shit happens.

9 comments:

Keith Rawson said...

I read this over at Angel's blog the other night, but like you said, Christopher, it was bound to happen sooner or later. It sucks, but it is extremely rare that something like this happens. But all the same, to the writer who swiped the line: It's called an imagination, use it! don't poach other people's brain drippings!

Christopher Grant said...

Well, Keith, that's why I said, it's hard enough being a writer, trying to come up with something original.

Nothing is really original anymore.

It's almost impossible to be original.

That's why, as you say, you have to use your imagination.

Look, I've done stories about abused women and loan sharks and serial killers and so on.

None of those stories are, at first, original. Everyone's done a story like that.

It's what happens inside of the story, the actual story, that makes the difference.

And, I mean, when I looked at the first example Angel gave, I was dubious. I thought, that's a bit of hair-splitting.

But when I scrolled down and saw entire paragraphs being lifted, Jesus Christ!

If you can't come up with your own shit, don't bother. Get the fuck out of the way and let the rest of us have the playground, asshole.

The fact that this guy is supposed to be some kind of lawyer was just the icing on the cake.

Angel deserves at least a round of applause for exposing this guy.

Like I said, though, there will be more. There always are.

And the ripple effect is the part that I hate the most.

From here on, and you know this is going to happen, everyone is going to look at everyone else as if they're committing word crimes.

As a writer, who knows if I'll be rejected now because someone might accuse me of ripping them off?

As an editor, I have to be on my guard at all times and maybe end up rejecting someone out of hand.

That's why I want people that write stories for ATON to be aware of everything that's taking place around them.

This is NEVER going to turn into a turn-in-your-neighbors thing here.

If there's an accusation, it'll be taken seriously but NO ONE is going to be railroaded.

Now you see why I hate this shit.

matthewquinnmartin said...

Intellectual property can be a very tricky issue (we all steal...or sample to a certain extent). I once had a writer friend (this is before I started writing myself) who would just write down every witting thing I said and put it in his fiction...I finally asked him for co-writing credit (boy did he get pissed off)

That said, this seems pretty cut and dry, flat out "criminal"...I'm sure someone's already furiously scribbling a revenge story to match.

Lee Hughes said...

Don't worry Chris you're a great editor you and a few others done good teaching me grammar and stuffs.


In all seriousness I think it would be easier to spot stealing bastards in crime stories here as you have people so passionate about noir that they've read most things and don't give a shit nor a second thought about gunning somewhat down that they caught lifting lyrics.

Naomi Johnson said...

I can't figure out why the plagiarist bothers. When writers are not paid for their work, and that's often the case with webzines, what's left but the personal pride in knowing that one has written the best possible story he can and the occasional kudos of one's fellow writers? How very hollow it must feel when the plagiarist merely regurgitates someone else's creativity, how shameful when he's caught. And when he IS caught...let's string the motherfucker up!

Sheila Deeth said...

I read Angel's first example and found myself wondering if I might have used the same six words too. But not whole paragraphs. That's not an accident (unless those monkeys really did write Shakespeare). I loved reading how she followed the trail - makes a detective story all on its own. Just sad that anyone would steal words like that.

Jimmy Callaway said...

Has this guy responded to these accusations at all? Angel's clearly done his homework, and I don't think the guy would try and oust anyone he wasn't sure was up to something fishy. But I'm real curious as to if and how this guy's gonna defend himself.

Christopher Grant said...

Jimmy, all I know is what Angel has written and that's a big NO to the defense or being in contact with Angel. In fact, Angel has directly contacted Richard Ridyard and has received no comment.

The thing of it is, while he should, this guy doesn't need to defend himself.

The simple fact is that this is the internet and Richard Ridyard ceased to exist the minute Angel called him on the carpet and put the stake through his black heart.

Tomorrow, six months from now, ten years from now, Richard Ridyard could pop up as Frank Nobody and reinsinuate himself into the same circles that he ran in before.

That's why this kind of shit makes me crazy because, as Naomi says, it's utterly worthless.

You're writing for nothing or you're writing for peanuts. No one is getting a long-term contract out of writing for ATON or TKNC or the FFO or Powder Burn.

We're all doing it because we love it and that's also what makes me so crazy about this kind of thing. It does ruin it for everyone else playing the game fairly.

Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers, which is the site that I have called my home away from home, suffered the slings and arrows of a bunch of imbeciles in the last twenty-four to forty-eight hours because they were taken in by this shitface, like anyone could've been. They believed him to be on the up-and-up, like any of us would.

And they got duped, they got taken for the ride and left for dead by this guy and then spit on by a number of fools that think they were associated with him.

I've not had long conversations with Matt or Col. Never talked with them on the phone or met them in person.

But I know that they're trying to do what I'm trying to do and what Aldo Calcagno is trying to do, what Rey Gonzalez is trying to do and what Anthony Neil Smith and Todd Robinson and everyone else that I didn't mention are trying to do. And that's make the best possible place for great fiction and to share it with every one of us out here.

And that's another reason why this shit drives me nuts; innocents get whacked for being innocent.

Col and Matt are innocent and they are victims and we shouldn't be scorning them but supporting them.

Naomi, like I said, I'd love to string this motherfucker up (metaphorically, of course) but, also like I said, I don't think we're ever going to see him to do it.

Richard Ridyard might be RIP (Rest In Piss) but he's not Richard Ridyard anymore; he's Dick McWeasel or Randy Dandy or whatever other name he wants to be, so none of this matters to him a damn.

Ten bucks to anyone that thinks he's not sitting back and laughing at us all right now. To earn the ten bucks, you have to produce the schmuck with tears in his eyes.

Hopefully, we don't see any more of his kind but, as I said this morning, we will. We always will.

Jimmy Callaway said...

Huh. Yeah, I didn't even think of that, that this guy is fairly blessed with what amounts to total anonymity. Well, at least we can rest reasonably well assured now, as we're all on extra-high alert. I mean, you can look at it like this guy got away with something, or that he didn't since Angel caught him and blew the whistle. You can fool all of the people some of the time, and all that.