Another Plagiarist

LJ User Gwendolynflight, over in the Merlin fandom, decided that she didn’t want to do the work to learn to write and refine her technique and develop her own style. She wanted hugs and pats and e-cookies for her wonderful writing right now. So instead of writing a novel of her own, she grabbed a copy of Jordan Castillo Price’s first PsyCops book, Among the Living, did a bit of editing to change the names and the setting and such, and posted it to her journal as a Merlin fanfic. And of course, she got a lot of applause and e-cookies for it, because it’s a very good story. (Jordan isn’t a particular friend of mine, I don’t even have her journal friended, but we both publish with Torquere Press and I have Among the Living — it’s a good read.)

Of course someone figured out what was going on — ’cause there are fanfic readers who also read original m/m books, who knew?! — and after some incredibly lame excuse-making, the plagiarist took the story down. But check out this screencap and read through the comments. :/

I love the part where Gwendolynflight assures a commenter that “it is completely and fully beta’d.” Umm, right, because the real writer polished it, then sent it to a publisher where a line editor and a proofreader went over it. [eyeroll]

And then lower down where she actually admits that the story is a “fusion” with Price’s PsyCops series. o_O This is where I get the idea that she’s actually just that stupid, rather than a bold-faced thief. Not that being a moron is an excuse, but you know, it’s something different to smack her for.

Then a few comments later where she’s talking to a reader about how dark the story is, and mentions that Book Two is particularly dark, and she’s glad that isn’t turning the reader off. So she fully intended to go on doing this, through the whole series? Once she’d ripped off all the available novels, since she seems to think she’s doing absolutely nothing wrong, I wonder whether she’d have had the balls to, like, write to Jordan and nudge her about hurrying up on the next installment. 😛

Finally, about 2/3 of the way down, LJ user Throwawayreview calls it what it is and clues poor Gwendolynflight that this isn’t a “fusion,” it’s not fanfic, it’s plagiarism. And of course Ms. Gwen has all sorts of excuses, because plagiarism is “a social concept” and not absolute. And later on she says that “plagiarism isn’t an inherent moral wrong – it’s an issue firmly bound up in economic and patriarchal issues.” Umm, right. It’s a weapon of the Patriarchy. So her stealing the actual words of another woman writer and posting them as her own and accepting praise and credit for writing the words another woman actually wrote, is actually Ms. Gwen sticking it to the Patriarchy. Wow, good to know. [eyeroll]

Note that Jordan has no problem with fanfic. She said, in her reaction to this situation:

I’d also like to say that fanfic is an entirely different thing. If a reader said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if Victor and Jacob got a flat tire…?” and wrote that story, using my characters and storyverse but their own plot and words, that would be fanfic. I’ve written half a million words of fanfic; it’s how I learned to write, for good or ill. This re-tooling of Among the Living was not fanfic.

So this isn’t a case of one of the uptight pro writers trying to stomp on the poor fanficcers. Actual fanfic would’ve been fine. Copying a whole freaking novel (with plans for the second one) and swapping out the names and places and a few police procedure details, but keeping the other ninety-some percent of the original author’s verbage is not fanfic, in any way, shape or form. Gwendolynflight is one of the people who gives all fanfic writers a bad name. She’s one of the people whose actions convince the New York publishers and the Hollywood producers, and their writers and their lawyers, that we’re all a bunch of pathetic, talentless thieves who are too lame to write our own stories and get credit and praise and e-cookies for our own work, so we steal from them and pretend their work is ours and claim credit for the wonderful writing we didn’t do. That’s what they think of all of us, and one of the reasons they think that is because there are people who do it in exactly that way. Because that’s pretty much what’s going on with Gwendolynflight.

She’s gone into hiding now — her journal’s been completely locked down, although it hasn’t been deleted. I’m kind of disappointed by that, because it means she might slink back out from under her rock at some point. I’m sure she has her own little group of friends who are all rallying ’round her now, giving her pets and hugs and feeding her chocolate and assuring her that she did Absolutely Nothing At All Wrong, and that all those evil mean people are just being so meeeeeean to her, isn’t it just terrible?! Those bitches!!

But you know, this isn’t the sort of person fanfic fandom needs, any fandom. And if she were eventually to pick up her dolls and flounce away and find a new hobby, I’d be just as happy.

Angie, who’s in no mood to give this idiot any slack whatsoever

ETA: LJ User Pecos pointed this out, from Gwendolynflight’s LJ profile:

This journal is primarily for whinging about school and/or teaching, and for posting the fanfic and fanvids which i occasionally, sometimes, rarely produce. You know, every once in a while.

This woman is a teacher. O_O

Published by


Angela Benedetti lives in Seattle with her husband and a few thousand books. She loves romance for the happy endings, for the affirmation that everyone who's willing to fight for love deserves to get it and be happy with someone. She's best known for her Sentinel series of novels, the most recent of which is Captive Magic.