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