Writing and Plagiarism: How Cassandra Clare affected my life

When I first started to be active in fandom, the first fandom I really found myself falling in love with was Harry Potter.  It was the first time I started seeing a lot of stories just like the ones in my head, where I continued scenes, or made whole new ones.  It introduced me to the concept of OTPS, and various other fanfiction terminology.  It drove my creativity in my mid-teens.

One of the things I loved was the Draco Trilogy.  I eagerly awaited the updates.  In fact, my friend and I actually would take turns checking to see if it was updated. It was novel length, and I started reading towards the end of the second book.

Then I got slammed with the truth.  Around the time I graduated high school, it came out that Cassandra Claire (since changed to Clare to avoid the association), the author of the series, had taken almost whole chunks out of other people’s published works. She didn’t credit, and when the issue was brought up didn’t add a credit.  The one thing I’ve always been taught is to always credit when it’s not yours, be it fanfiction, an academic paper or some kind of artwork.  You always credit what you use that isn’t yours.

I was stunned to find out my favorite fanfiction author at the time was doing this.  The evidence seemed pretty damning (still does)  and it was liking finding out your role model fell from grace.  Suddenly you had to reexamine what you liked about what she wrote, and was it really hers or someone else’s?  There was a loss of trust in the author.  I imagine this was similar to when people found out that Milli Vanilli didn’t actually sing their songs.  I was sad, I was disappointed.  I felt betrayed myself.  I felt angry. Continue reading “Writing and Plagiarism: How Cassandra Clare affected my life”