Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is It or Isn't It?


To "plagiarize" means
  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source¹
Maybe that’s a little harsh for the book I just finished… but it was what I was thinking most of the time I was reading.  It honestly wasn’t that the story was exactly the same, but the sentiments, dialog and descriptive passages just felt SO familiar.

When I read the Amazon reviews I knew that several of them mentioned a strong resemblance to Twilight for the first part of the book.  I figured there have been several books that people have compared that way and it didn’t bother me, so no big deal.  That’s why the first few chapters came as a surprise.  They didn’t resemble Twilight in any way I could see.  The story was very different – girl moving out to go to college, has a terrible relationship with her mom, and her dad only ever enters the story through phone calls.  Nothing like Twilight.  Then she sees Samuel (who she technically met on the airplane home in the first chapter) in her class and some things seem to click.  The more she interacts with him and Duncan (2 guys instead of 1 is also different) the more they seem like copies of Edward.  There are even strange passage about how hard it is for Samuel to be around her… just like Edward was with Bella because he was attracted to her blood.  Except that we learn halfway through that Samuel and Duncan are not technically vampires and don’t drink blood, so that just seems like Burd took a good scene from Twilight and plunked it in the middle of Immortal for no particular reason.  

The story goes on and gets less and less like Twilight, but certain similarities are still left in.  Like Alina running to certain death, away from the creature trying to protect her, toward those who want to hurt her in hopes of protecting the ones she loves.  

So which is more plagiarism?  To use the same storyline like Ignite (which I discuss {HERE}) or to use incredibly familiar phrasing, and sentiments?  Maybe neither falls completely under that law, but I still think it’s time for authors to find their own ideas.  And I’m wondering if Burd just gave up because of all the people who thought the same as I do, or if she actually got in trouble for her writing.  All I know is that in April of 2012 someone asked her (via the Amazon forum) when the 3rd book of this “Trilogy” would be released and she replied that she was working on it and expected release later that year.  There has been nothing heard from her again, on Amazon or her blog… yet a Tweet (having nothing to do with writing) was posted from her only 2 days ago, so she is still alive.  I’m baffled?!?  Could be she just got bored.  That is the risk you run with reading an Indie author who hasn’t finished the series yet. 

So back to the topic at hand.  Is this plagiarism?  I think honestly it falls in a gray area but if you read the definition I used (sited properly below) then “ideas” is one of the things you need to be careful about.  What do you think?  Even if you haven’t read these books are there others you think fall too close to each other?

1 comment:

  1. Let's see....

    A love triangle.....When isn't there one? :)
    Vampires......though it's been done, I don't know anyone has a copyright on it.

    All throughout history stories have been influenced by OTHER stories. Is that plargiarism?

    I don't think there is a line separating what is or isnt. It will always be grey.

    I know I didn't clearly define my stance on this, probably because it would vary according to circumstance or story. But it is indeed an interesting subject and would make for a great debate!