I've been away lately, so a re-cap of recent interwebz events: stolen work, I judged the Prediction, and a development in the busted USB situation.
First, as most of you know, author Carrie Clevenger has been a victim of plagiarism. At her blog, Mindspeak, you'll see two entries; the most recent calls for an end to this situation so that she can just move on and the second is what actually happened: someone she called a friend and a fellow member of a writing critique group stole a character of Carrie's.
My feelings on plagiarism are extremely strong. It can be summed up like this: If it ain't your character or world, get permission before "continuing" or "expanding." Do not use someone else's character(s) or world and pass it off as your own. And DO NOT get paid for using someone else's character(s) or world.
Or, hey, how about this? Make up your own shit.
I used to write fanfic. It was in a fandom where the author of the origin work gives her consent. I added a disclaimer to my work that said it was not mine (it was obvious, but there you go). I never presented it as wholly my own. And since I returned to writing my own fiction, I have never taken my old fanfic and changed it so that it would be "unrecognizable" from the source material and then passed it off as entirely my own. Oh, and last? I DIDN'T GET PAID FOR IT.
Okay. *deep breath* Sorry, but in 2010, there were a number of plagiarism incidents regarding my work (original and fanfic), and whereas I was fairly kind about it in the beginning, I've since developed a rather aggressive stance on the issue, and I get really angry whenever this sort of thing pops up and happens to anyone. Ethics, people. It's all about being ethical.
Second interwebz event of massive major gargantuan importance: I judged last week's Friday Prediction over at the Feardom. Congrats to AJ Humpage, whose "The Road to Kigali" simply won't let me alone. Stunning, stunning work. Runner-up is Aiden Fritz with "Kazuhiro's Dragons," a testament to the power of tragedy to produce elegant, respectful and strong work.
If you took part in the Prediction, let me say this with complete honesty: I've never had a tougher time deciding. Each week, I play a little game with myself and pick my own favorite, and it's usually obvious to me. This week, I truly, truly felt strongly about the entries as a whole, and every one of them had their strengths and a legitimate reason why they should win. It was practically a crapshoot -- I could've picked any of them.
My hat's off to Lily for doing this week after week. It's tough!
And last, the on-going saga of my thumb drive. I took it to a computer repair shop, and after they diagnosed it, they sent it to a specialist who will solder the broken pin inside and then determine if the data is salvageable. If it is, the data will be put on a CD, but the thumb drive will remain unuseable, as even with solder, it will take special equipment to get the data off.
It's expensive. Tres, tres expensive. My stomach is sick, but there's too much on there to lose. So, if it can be done, I'm doing it. And yes, if they cannot retrieve the data at all after the soldering, then I will not be charged. We've got a week or so to find out. In the meantime, I've been using DropBox and an external hard drive. Yay for not being lazy for once.
B and I were on a business trip for his work yesterday. We were on the road in a U-haul for sixteen hours. Covered four states, met some interesting people, and worked our asses off. I was along to navigate and keep him company, and I'm glad I went, though we are both physically sore and exhausted today. Also, a cute guy flirted with me. Long time since that's happened, although I must say that I was looking fine yesterday.
Not so much today. :-) Happy Friday all, and get over to the Prediction for new words.