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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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The Writing Circle: Gillian

Did Gillian plagiarize Nancy's work, and that of the Russian exchange student during her undergraduate years? Is the idea that she memorizes easily and almost unconsciously, something that lessens her guilt in any way, or suggests that her talent allows her greater liberties?

 

Why does the "loss" of the Pulitzer strike her so much more forcefully than the public accusation of plagiarism?

 

Is Gillian entirely amoral? Have you found any redeeming qualities in her character?

 

Are Gillian and Nancy opposite characters? Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass"--do you fear that she has?

 

Why is the final chapter given to us from Gilllian's perspective? What are we able to learn about what happened to Paul, and how does Gillian feel and think about what happened?

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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Gillian stole Nancy's material as well as that of the Russian student. She knew what she did was wrong because she HID it from everyone. If you are in the right, you don't have to hide. She knew what it would do to Nancy, but kept a sanctimonious air about herself believing that nothing could harm her. I think it is plaigerism because she stole the essence of Nancy's work, things she had heard in the Writing Circle that spurred her on.

 

I cheered when she lost the Pulitzer because she didn't need to be rewarded for the theft. That really took its toll on her because Gillian always seemed to think she could get her way in anything. It was like she was told "No" for the first time and she couldn't handle it. She had to get away from the house and go to her cabin, doing so in such a daze that she didn't stop after hitting Paul. Because of her moments of memory, I think she saw more of Paul than she wants to remember.She wants to think it was a deer, but those snippets and the call from her lawyer tell her different.

 

Do I find anything redeeming in Gillian? The only thing I can see is that she was an honest critic. Yes, she was harsh, but they did learn from her. Little did they know that they couldn't trust her! Her way of life caused pain and heartache in the majority of characters in this novel, and proved that she is the character we truly love to hate!

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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aanjel
Posts: 17
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Did Gillian plagiarize Nancy's work, and that of the Russian exchange student during her undergraduate years? Is the idea that she memorizes easily and almost unconsciously, something that lessens her guilt in any way, or suggests that her talent allows her greater liberties?

Yes, yes, yes Gillian did steal the work of both the other people.  No her memorizing does not lessen her guilt, it actually makes it more of a crime as she knows where the information came from and who did the writing.  Just because you are talented you are not given license to steal the work of another author.  Gillain knew the difference and should be held accountable.  This time around, though, she does not have a professor to suduce.  No one is going to look the other way on this.

 

Why does the "loss" of the Pulitzer strike her so much more forcefully than the public accusation of plagiarism?

 

The Pulitzer gives her more fame and puts her work in the lime light where more people are apt to  pick it up and read.  It would probably give her some face time on the TV talk sow circuit.  No one remembers who does the plagiarism later.  It will die out after a time,  a Pulitzer keeps you name on the list forever with the other great writers.

 

Is Gillian entirely amoral? Have you found any redeeming qualities in her character?

 

I don't think anyone is entirely amoral, but Gillian would be close.  I think she was all about herself and didn't care who's feeling she hurt as long as she was able to get what she wanted out of life.

 

Are Gillian and Nancy opposite characters? Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass"--do you fear that she has?

 

I don't think Nancy has lost anything.  I think she was very hurt by what Gillian did when she stole her book.  I believe that because Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass" she has not.  If she has lost it, she would not be concerned that she had.

 

Why is the final chapter given to us from Gilllian's perspective? What are we able to learn about what happened to Paul, and how does Gillian feel and think about what happened?

 

I think the final chapter just shows how devious Gillian is.  It shows how much she is only concerned about her needs and feelings.  She doesn't really acknowledge the accident with Paul or her accountability, only that it might not be a good idea to see Jerry.  She has once again run away from her mess.  I think she feels as if it was surreal something that didn't happen to her but to someone else.  Maybe like a chapter in her "book". 

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maxcat
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I don't think Gillian actually "plagiarized" Nancy's book or Anya's poems. I get the sense that the woman just has a knack for picking up key phrases from what Nancy read. In this case, Gillian definitely did not plagiarize. In the case of Anya's poems, it seems as if she picked up key words like translucence is not transcendence. Transcendence is the name of Gillian's new poetry book. There, she may have stepped over the line.

When Gillian got the news that she didn't get the Pulitzer Prize, she was shocked. But,she starts to remember about Anya's poems and the competition they both entered. Gillian won $100 for the best poems. Two years later, her thesis advisor was accused of plagiarism in which she stated that she didn't copy Anya's poem. But, over lunch, he shows her a copy of Anya's poem and she insisted that she didn't copy it. He didn't believe her and she was surprised but remained unapologetic. Gillian really wanted that Pulitzer prize as it is all about Gillian being top of the world.

Gillian has never had any redeeming qualities that I can see in this book, not even to the end.

The ending was strange as I was expecting something like what happened in the preface. Gillian running over Paul was just criminal. She thinks she ran over a deer and never looks back, afraid to see the poor creature. She gets a phone call from her lawyer and she states that she will be at her house. This is when she finds out about Paul. No remorse, no feeling. She is delusional.

Gillian and Nancy are as different as night is to day. Nancy is very emotional and talks to Oates about things. She's quiet and organized. Her pursuit to bring Gillian down was probably the highlight of the book. Gillian is cold, delusional and unemotional. She doen't care about anyone but herself. At the end, she claims that she will live at Button permanently and leave Jerry as he wouldn't want her now. She's going to jail but she has thought of living at her house? Unreal!!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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nikijulian
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Did Gillian plagiarism Nancy's work, and that of the Russian exchange student during her undergraduate years? Is the idea that she memorizes easily and almost unconsciously, something that lessens her guilt in any way, or suggests that her talent allows her greater liberties?

 

Plagiarism is plagiarism, unintentional or not. And, I would say in Gillian's case, this was intentional - she states as much when she tells people that she gave Nancy good advice and since Nancy didn't take it, she turned the novel into something else herself. Gillian's moral compass is so off course that she doesn't see exactly what she has done.

 

Why does the "loss" of the Pulitzer strike her so much more forcefully than the public accusation of plagiarism?

 

Her ultimate goal was this Pulitzer. This was the recognition she craved from an international audience. As before, she felt she could easily shake off the plagiarism accusations.

 

 

Are Gillian and Nancy opposite characters? Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass"--do you fear that she has?

 

No, I think that Nancy is going through the steps of taking back her life. She feels that she has lost her moral compass because she has a hard time believing that she lives in a world where someone from your writing circle would steal your work. I worry that this is something she would never recover from, though.

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thewanderingjew
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

[ Edited ]

Gilian, loses the Pulitzer for a crime she didn't commit and a poem she really didn't plagiarize. In the end, she was doomed for a crime she did commit which had nothing to do with her cruelty and manipulation of others but rather with her fatal flaw, her cold and calculating self absorption. She ran off consumed with her "self", as always.

 

How many  times do we get a ticket for speeding perhaps, or passing a red light, which we feel is undeserved but which serves to remind us of all the times we got away with it previously? This conclusion reminds me of that. She is finally done in, not perhaps for an intentional crime but for her life of deception and cruelty, for all the crimes in her past that she has gotten away with. It is an odd kind of "poetic" justice".

 

Gillian created her life in her mind and lived it. BUT, WHO IS BLANCHE? Was she a persona, a person she once created so she could avoid responsibilty for her actions...did she sleep with the professor in exchange for excusing her plagiarism..which he believed she was guilty of but she did not and which may have been a really gray area regarding plagiarism? Personally,

I don't think it was really plagiarism since it was not really copied but she knew she had this memory skill so she should have probably been extra careful.

 

The fact that she "plagiarized" again, willfully, shows she had no "moral compass". Nancy, who has an overdeveloped "moral compass" questions herself for helping bring Gillian down, while Gillian goes about creating fantasies to explain her behavior and excuse her immorality or perhaps a better explanation is lack of ethics. It is quite a contradiction in behaviors.

 

Rachel-K wrote:

Did Gillian plagiarize Nancy's work, and that of the Russian exchange student during her undergraduate years? Is the idea that she memorizes easily and almost unconsciously, something that lessens her guilt in any way, or suggests that her talent allows her greater liberties?

 

Is Gillian entirely amoral? Have you found any redeeming qualities in her character?

 

Are Gillian and Nancy opposite characters? Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass"--do you fear that she has?

 

 

 

 

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sharonslp
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎05-06-2010

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Who is Blanche?

 

When I read this scene, it never occurred to me that it wasn't Gillian, trading sexual favors to her professor in return for his silence. After rereading, I still come to that conclusion. The professor says..."Blanche, my beautiful white princess!"  At the time, I just figured it was a reference to some poetic figure.

 

Now I am wondering if it is meant to be a reference to the Snow White tale. Corinne would have to enlighten us for sure, but I'm thinking that actually Gillian has more in common with the wicked stepmother of the tale, than with the innocent Snow White herself.

 

Literally, Gillian was a pretty awful stepmother to Paul. And she certainly holds up a mirror and needs to be the fairest one of all. She needs to attract men. She needs to be the best writer.

 

I'm not one to latch onto esoteric symbolism, so maybe someone else can see some other parallels. Just food for thought.

 

Did Gillian plagiarize Nancy's work, and that of the Russian exchange student during her undergraduate years? Is the idea that she memorizes easily and almost unconsciously, something that lessens her guilt in any way, or suggests that her talent allows her greater liberties?

 

I believe what Gillian did absolutely is plagiarism. I believe she knew it was. I think that her memorization gift gives her an added responsibility to bend over backwards to make sure she isn't unconsciously "borrowing" words and/or ideas from others.

 

Is Gillian entirely amoral? Have you found any redeeming qualities in her character?

 

Nope, not a one. This is perhaps a weakness of her character development, that she comes across as uniformly negative.

 

 

Are Gillian and Nancy opposite characters? Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass"--do you fear that she has?

 

Nancy worries too much. I can appreciate that she wants to stay on the high road here, and not go after petty revenge. However, I don't think there is anything petty about claiming what is rightfully hers, and exposing Gillian as a liar and a thief.

 

Someone in another thread mentioned that he/she (sorry, I didn't pay close attention) now considered Gillian the main character in the story, rather than Nancy. I agree with that assessment. It is clear in the end how Gillian's story will play out. However, there are all these other characters that now we care about (in varying degrees), and the abruptness of the ending leaves a lot of their threads hanging. On the other hand, in the face of this appalling tragedy, who cares whether Bernard and Aimee stick it out, or whether Adam ever gets published, or what happens to Nancy's book now?

 

Is there a moral to this story? A lesson to be learned? Is it a cautionary tale? Beware of la-di-da poets....choose your writing group partners very carefully....I don't actually know what I'm supposed to take away from the story. But it did become a gripping story in the final third of the book.

 


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Bonnie_C
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Even though the original ideas did not come from Gillian, she apparently is pretty secure in her legal standings for her "adaptations" of Nancy's and the Russian student's works.  This pretty much boils down to a moral issue and we can see that Gillian is not the most moral of characters.

 

Even if you don't like her, Gillian is apparently an excellent writer.  She took Nancy's book and made it better according to some of the other members of the circle. 

 

The loss of the Pulitzer is very personal for Gillian.  Early in the book we see how very proud she is to own her own house.  This was something that was hers and she did not want to share it with anyone.  She may look at the Pulitzer as a something she earned for herself. 

 

I think the essence of Gillian was summed up with the statement that Gillian really did not love anyone, although she did have some feelings for Paul.  Even that is hard to believe. 

 

I think the author portrays Gillian and Nancy as good vs. evil.  No, Nancy has not lost her moral compass.  She is just super insecure in almost every aspect of her life.

 

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Sanderson1216
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Why does the "loss" of the Pulitzer strike her so much more forcefully than the public accusation of plagiarism?

 

From Gillian's perspective, she does not consider what she did as plagiarism, and therefore, the public accusation is less of an issue for her.

 

Is Gillian entirely amoral? Have you found any redeeming qualities in her character?

 

I could not find any redeeming qualities. Honestly, I'm surprised her character was even married because she is so self absorbed and lacks any connection to other human beings.

 

Are Gillian and Nancy opposite characters? Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass"--do you fear that she has?

 

I don't feel Nancy lost her "moral compass". She had every reason to question Gillian's work and accuse her of plagiarism. In fact, Nancy backed down very quickly from the accusations and it was the other characters in the book whose actions made Gillian lose her Pulitzer.

 

Why is the final chapter given to us from Gilllian's perspective? What are we able to learn about what happened to Paul, and how does Gillian feel and think about what happened?

 

I did not get a feeling that Gillian is very remorseful for her actions. I think the final chapter written from Gillian's perspective helps us to tie the entire story together. In the end, I feel this book was more about Gillian than any other character.

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Sanderson1216
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I missed posting a response to the first question...

 

Did Gillian plagiarize Nancy's work, and that of the Russian exchange student during her undergraduate years? Is the idea that she memorizes easily and almost unconsciously, something that lessens her guilt in any way, or suggests that her talent allows her greater liberties?

 

Although I don't believe Gillian blatantly plagiarized Nancy's work, the story about Gillian and her undergraduate years certainly makes us feel she is guilty in some way. This is such a gray area as described in the book and how we feel about Gillian's character makes us immediately assume she is guilty.

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EiLvReedn
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I agree with Donna S. I also cheered when she lost the Pulitzer. I don't know why that was her main goal either. I think we'd need a little more history like who she was trying to prove herself to. Lets just say she was a totally flawed person and she could criticize others because she couldn't see her own faults.

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

is the "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.

 

above is the definition of plagiarism in the dictionary, so yes in this context Gillian did plagiarize Nancy's and the student's work. Now in Gillian's very distorted mind she did nothing wrong because she didn't "copy" word for word of text the words she used in her novel and poems, but then Gillian is a perfect example of a sociopath isn't she, a very ME person and that's why the loss of the prize means more to her than public opinion because she doesn't care what the regular guy thinks.

 

I think the fact that Nancy fears she's lost her moral compass tells us that she hasn't where as Gillian has never thought she's done anything wrong.

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Zia01
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Did Gillian plagiarize Nancy's work, and that of the Russian exchange student during her undergraduate years? Is the idea that she memorizes easily and almost unconsciously, something that lessens her guilt in any way, or suggests that her talent allows her greater liberties? Whether she unconciously memorizes peoples work doesn't make it right when she uses bits and pieces of it as her own. She was full aware of how Nancy would react, it's why she kept it a secret.

 

Why does the "loss" of the Pulitzer strike her so much more forcefully than the public accusation of plagiarism? Becuase it's all about status with Gillian and a Pulitzer = status.

 

Is Gillian entirely amoral? Have you found any redeeming qualities in her character? I wanted to and I'm sure there are a few but by the end of the book, I despised her.

 

Are Gillian and Nancy opposite characters? Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass"--do you fear that she has? No but I understand how she thinks she did.

 

 

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pen21
Posts: 3,648
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

 

dhaupt wrote:

is the "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.

 

above is the definition of plagiarism in the dictionary, so yes in this context Gillian did plagiarize Nancy's and the student's work. Now in Gillian's very distorted mind she did nothing wrong because she didn't "copy" word for word of text the words she used in her novel and poems, but then Gillian is a perfect example of a sociopath isn't she, a very ME person and that's why the loss of the prize means more to her than public opinion because she doesn't care what the regular guy thinks.

 

I think the fact that Nancy fears she's lost her moral compass tells us that she hasn't where as Gillian has never thought she's done anything wrong.

 

 

Debbie,

I agree, it is plagiarism and I thnk sociopath  describes her. Everything was about her, even to the extent of using her stepson to "win" over his mother. Gillian is a ME person. She would use anything to get the goal she set for herself.

pen21

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kimerella40
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Gillian as a character disturbed me but kept me going at the same time.  I think she totally plagurized and she has no conscious whatsoever.  She went through this book doing what she wanted with no remorse.  I don't think the ending tied it all together for me though. It left me with many questions.  I actually went back to the beginning to reread it when I was done....

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NikiGunn
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I consider it plagarism. Something similar happened to an author I really enjoy, except he didn't pick it up subconsciously or in a book club. She has a very distinctive voice and mainly writes young adult and children's fiction. Another author bought the rights to some of her books and he reissued them in some very ugly, poorly done editions. Then, he lifted the first part of one novel and turned it into a badly written first chapter of a thriller. (Rather telling: he had that chapter on his website and when fans of hers wrote him, he took it down.) Unlike Gillian, he's a mediocre writer. Unlike Nancy, the author's work was published first. What is similiar is he took an idea and wrote a book based someone else's work. To me, the situations bear enough similiarities that they are both plagarism.

 

Also, Gillian taking the poetry idea may have been subconcious, but the next time she did it absolutely wasn't. It has happened before and she should have taken steps to ensure it never happened again. However, that didn't matter to her because she feels she's so special and wonderful that it makes everything she does golden.

 

Personally, I don't know if I would have been interested in Gillian's novel. When it was mentioned there was a trial, I thought, "Not another trial."

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thewanderingjew
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

[ Edited ]

Something about what you wrote, made me think I should look up Blanche. Perhaps her  Professor was referring to Blanche Dubois, in Tennesee William's A Streetcar Named Desire, especially since he won the Pulitzer for it and Gillian is eventually up for one too. He would have been aware of the character given his background. They are both liars and Blanche, like Gillian is a promiscuous woman who used her sexuality to manipulate men and maintain her own confidence.

sharonslp wrote:

Who is Blanche?

 

When I read this scene, it never occurred to me that it wasn't Gillian, trading sexual favors to her professor in return for his silence. After rereading, I still come to that conclusion. The professor says..."Blanche, my beautiful white princess!"  At the time, I just figured it was a reference to some poetic figure.

 

Now I am wondering if it is meant to be a reference to the Snow White tale. Corinne would have to enlighten us for sure, but I'm thinking that actually Gillian has more in common with the wicked stepmother of the tale, than with the innocent Snow White herself.

 

Literally, Gillian was a pretty awful stepmother to Paul. And she certainly holds up a mirror and needs to be the fairest one of all. She needs to attract men. She needs to be the best writer.

 

I'm not one to latch onto esoteric symbolism, so maybe someone else can see some other parallels. Just food for thought.

 

Did Gillian plagiarize Nancy's work, and that of the Russian exchange student during her undergraduate years? Is the idea that she memorizes easily and almost unconsciously, something that lessens her guilt in any way, or suggests that her talent allows her greater liberties?

 

I believe what Gillian did absolutely is plagiarism. I believe she knew it was. I think that her memorization gift gives her an added responsibility to bend over backwards to make sure she isn't unconsciously "borrowing" words and/or ideas from others.

 

Is Gillian entirely amoral? Have you found any redeeming qualities in her character?

 

Nope, not a one. This is perhaps a weakness of her character development, that she comes across as uniformly negative.

 

 

Are Gillian and Nancy opposite characters? Nancy fears she has lost her "moral compass"--do you fear that she has?

 

Nancy worries too much. I can appreciate that she wants to stay on the high road here, and not go after petty revenge. However, I don't think there is anything petty about claiming what is rightfully hers, and exposing Gillian as a liar and a thief.

 

Someone in another thread mentioned that he/she (sorry, I didn't pay close attention) now considered Gillian the main character in the story, rather than Nancy. I agree with that assessment. It is clear in the end how Gillian's story will play out. However, there are all these other characters that now we care about (in varying degrees), and the abruptness of the ending leaves a lot of their threads hanging. On the other hand, in the face of this appalling tragedy, who cares whether Bernard and Aimee stick it out, or whether Adam ever gets published, or what happens to Nancy's book now?

 

Is there a moral to this story? A lesson to be learned? Is it a cautionary tale? Beware of la-di-da poets....choose your writing group partners very carefully....I don't actually know what I'm supposed to take away from the story. But it did become a gripping story in the final third of the book.

 


 

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

The more I think about the comparison of the characters, Blanche Dubois and Gillian, I think that the professor probably did mean her. In the end, Blanche Dubois is led off to an asylum without protest as Gillian is led off to prison. It is thought that both characters will manage their situation to the best of their own advantage since they are, if nothing else, master manipulators.

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krb2g
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

 

NikiGunn wrote:

I consider it plagarism. Something similar happened to an author I really enjoy, except he didn't pick it up subconsciously or in a book club. She has a very distinctive voice and mainly writes young adult and children's fiction. Another author bought the rights to some of her books and he reissued them in some very ugly, poorly done editions. Then, he lifted the first part of one novel and turned it into a badly written first chapter of a thriller. (Rather telling: he had that chapter on his website and when fans of hers wrote him, he took it down.) Unlike Gillian, he's a mediocre writer. Unlike Nancy, the author's work was published first. What is similiar is he took an idea and wrote a book based someone else's work. To me, the situations bear enough similiarities that they are both plagarism.

 

Also, Gillian taking the poetry idea may have been subconcious, but the next time she did it absolutely wasn't. It has happened before and she should have taken steps to ensure it never happened again. However, that didn't matter to her because she feels she's so special and wonderful that it makes everything she does golden.

 

Personally, I don't know if I would have been interested in Gillian's novel. When it was mentioned there was a trial, I thought, "Not another trial."

 

 

I think a large part of the problem with Gillian's plagiarism of the novel is that she took unpublished material, that was shared in confidence, and that she knew Nancy wanted to publish and built her own novel out of it. I'd say NikiGunn's example is also morally egregious (although if he bought the rights, maybe not technically copyright violation?). 

 

As much as I dislike Gillian as a character, and as much as her actions in the novel are execrable from beginning to end, though, I can't come down entirely against playing with other people's ideas, however. All sorts of books I love come from older ideas (for example Ulysses and Lost Books of the Odyssey both riff on the Odyssey, or Wicked rewrites the story of The Wizard of Oz). I think the bright line for me is the clarity of the relationship between the texts. If you're playing in someone else's sandbox, but a reader can easily track down the earlier works, and recognize that you aren't responsible for those earlier works, that strikes me as OK. If you're trying to pass yourself off as the originator, that's something different entirely. These opinions are also not legal opinions--I know that things get trickier when you consider copyright and trademarks, etc. 

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Corinne-Demas
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Dear Readers--

I'm finding your discussion about plagiarism fascinating and wanted to add a note here.  In February (long after my novel was finished)  there was a case in the news about Helene Hegemann, a precocious seventeen year old (yup!)  German novelist whose book "Axolotl  Roadkill" was a huge success, in spite of public outrage because numerous paragraphs were plagiarized from another author's novel. Ms. Hegemann defended what she had done, calling it "mixing."  I wonder if she's related to Gillian . . .

 

--Chorine

 

 

Wrote:

 

Nuking wrote:

I consider it plagiarism. Something similar happened to an author I really enjoy, except he didn't pick it up subconsciously or in a book club. She has a very distinctive voice and mainly writes young adult and children's fiction. Another author bought the rights to some of her books and he reissued them in some very ugly, poorly done editions. Then, he lifted the first part of one novel and turned it into a badly written first chapter of a thriller. (Rather telling: he had that chapter on his website and when fans of hers wrote him, he took it down.) Unlike Gillian, he's a mediocre writer. Unlike Nancy, the author's work was published first. What is similiar is he took an idea and wrote a book based someone else's work. To me, the situations bear enough similiarities that they are both plagarism.

 

Also, Gillian taking the poetry idea may have been subconcious, but the next time she did it absolutely wasn't. It has happened before and she should have taken steps to ensure it never happened again. However, that didn't matter to her because she feels she's so special and wonderful that it makes everything she does golden.

 

Personally, I don't know if I would have been interested in Gillian's novel. When it was mentioned there was a trial, I thought, "Not another trial."

 

 

I think a large part of the problem with Gillian's plagiarism of the novel is that she took unpublished material, that was shared in confidence, and that she knew Nancy wanted to publish and built her own novel out of it. I'd say NikiGunn's example is also morally egregious (although if he bought the rights, maybe not technically copyright violation?). 

 

As much as I dislike Gillian as a character, and as much as her actions in the novel are execrable from beginning to end, though, I can't come down entirely against playing with other people's ideas, however. All sorts of books I love come from older ideas (for example Ulysses and Lost Books of the Odyssey both riff on the Odyssey, or Wicked rewrites the story of The Wizard of Oz). I think the bright line for me is the clarity of the relationship between the texts. If you're playing in someone else's sandbox, but a reader can easily track down the earlier works, and recognize that you aren't responsible for those earlier works, that strikes me as OK. If you're trying to pass yourself off as the originator, that's something different entirely. These opinions are also not legal opinions--I know that things get trickier when you consider copyright and trademarks, etc.