How often do you google yourself?

Some people shy away from that question, usually because they do not want others to think they have an ego; after all, the practice itself is called ego surfing, or even vanity searching, because of the assumption that you have to be vain to search for yourself online, but it’s actually really important, especially if you’re an author or an artist and have published copyrighted content.

Personally, I google myself on a weekly basis. I search for my name, my aliases, my published novels, my to-be published novels and even the fanfiction stories I wrote many years ago. I’m not ashamed to admit it. My work is important to me, and I want to make sure that nobody is abusing it or using it for their own personal gain at my personal expense. Plus, occasionally you may come across something nice that you hadn’t been aware of before… a little mention here, a little compliment there, a review you never noticed… it’s all pretty interesting.

Results may vary.

Results may vary.

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If imitation is the highest form of flattery, what is plagiarism?

I’ve heard someone say that once people start imitating you and copying your style, you know you’ve made it big. Same goes if you receive a high number of spam comments on your blog, but that’s a completely different matter. Yesterday’s WP prompt suggested writing a post in the style of another blogger, and I have to admit that I would feel flattered if someone were to do that to me. It would feel like some sort of homage.

However, at some point that homage stops being so and instead turns into something uglier and almost taboo in the world of writing. This was something I hadn’t even considered before. Okay, so I know papers and studies sometimes get plagiarized, that’s not unheard of in schools and universities, but I never thought it could happen between writers. Yet in one week I came across three bestselling authors who’ve apparently did a share of plagiarizing. One particular author began with fanfiction, and no, I’m not talking about E. L. James. Continue reading

Oh dear. I wrote like that?

Now that I’ve finished writing The Muse Bunny, I’m faced with something considerably less pleasant than the completion of a novel that has ailed me for quite some time… the dreadful editing process. Or more specifically, the reading-my-novel-and-realising-what-an-awful-writer-I-am process.

Since the writing of this novel spanned more than four years, I’m quite concerned about the differences in style. The way I wrote four years ago differs from the way I write now. Some of my sentence structures are different, I don’t used “pretty” and “seemed to” as often, I pay attention to how many times a word is repeated in a paragraph or a page, I’m a better judge of what is necessary and what constitutes an info dump, I know better not to go crazy with speech tags and I know that too many adverbs can be a bad thing. I also know that too many one-liners on a page can now cause me to twitch.

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Pulling a Fifty Shades of Grey.

Many people by now have heard of the piece of fanfiction turned bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey, and I know that currently many people are hating on E.L.James, either for her success, the fact that her writing is terrible, or that she got successful by using someone else’s characters.

I want to touch upon the last point actually. To begin with, there should be no shame in writing fanfiction. I know it receives a lot of negativity, but there’s nothing wrong with writing these stories. As long as the original author’s wishes are respected, there should be no legal issue. A number of famous writers (Cassandra Claire, for example) wrote fanfiction at one point; it’s a great tool that helps you develop your writing skills and receive feedback from people. I often reflect upon my earliest fanfics and compare them with my writing style now, and I feel proud that I’ve managed to come so far.

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