It’s Life List Friday and my guest today, David Walker, reminds us to be wary of our own actions.
As most of you know, a few days ago, the writing community was dealt quite a blow via deception and disrespect. It sent those hit hardest reeling from disappointment, hurt and betrayal. The vile actions of the perpetrator prompted us to pull back and assess what we can learn from the recent events. The act was plagiarism. The lesson is to monitor your own work for the slightest absence of attribution to another writer for reposting their content.
I’m happy to have you here, David, to discuss this delicate matter.
Thank you, Marcia.
Those of you who read my blog this past Monday know that this has been a tough week for me emotionally. I don’t want to dredge up those gory details again, but I do want to thank my writer friends for the outpouring of love, concern and support they expressed in comments on the blog. I also want to see if we can all learn something from what happened.
This has made me much more careful with my own stuff. I had something really cute I’d received in an email that I thought about using for this very blog. There had been no attribution in the email, so my normal thought would be it’s okay to use it. Because of all that’s gone on this week, I decided to see if I could check a little further. I pasted the opening line into Google and discovered that the entire email was listed there and attributed to an author.
Had I not had all of this on my mind I might have gone ahead and used it, making me guilty of plagiarism myself.
Maybe you’re always extremely careful about things of this nature and don’t need any kind of warning. Maybe you get a little sloppy now and then like I do and need to be more cautious in using anything others send you. The subject of my Monday blog was much more serious and intentional than what I’m discussing here, but plagiarism is plagiarism. We must guard against even accidentally crossing that line.
How about you? When you find a cute or powerful saying you’d like to use, do you check to find out whether or not it’s attributable to a specific source, or do you decide, since it was short and was on the internet, it must be okay to use it?
Thank you for giving us all something to think about, David. Checking the source of our information and giving credit to those who deserve it is imperative. I think we’ll all be more diligent about attribution in the future.
David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather and a grounded pilot. He cofounded Warrior Writers Boot Camp with Kristen Lamb. You can read more of his posts at http://davwalk.wordpress.com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.
A graduate of Duke University, I spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of my career was spent in Texas, but for a few years I traveled many other states. I started writing about 20 years ago, and have six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since my retirement from insurance a few years ago, I have devoted my time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel myself.
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