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Contributor
brndygrl98
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎05-03-2010

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?

 

I understand that Gillian has a gift in being able to memorize things she hears so easily. I can ALMOST forgive her the poem as an undergrad, but she knew good and well what she was doing to Nancy. I think she makes herself feel better by not realizing exactly what she's done. It's probably easier to feel not guilty if you don't think you've done anything wrong. The fact that she even tells everyone in the Leopardi Circle that Nancy should have taken her advice and changed her story shows that she plagiarized Nancy's work.

 

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

 

She doesn't believe that she has plagiarized. She will never believe that she did. She really DID lose the Pulitzer. That, to her, is a real thing.

 

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?

 

Gillian is only mostly amoral. I don't say that because I have found any redeeming qualities about her. There were times throughout the novel that I felt a tiny bit of sympathy for her, but I cannot like her or forgive the things she's done. As for Nancy, I don't think she lost her moral compass. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what her problem was with protecting her work and the life of her father. I liked Nancy up until that point.

 

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'm under the assumption that the final chapter is given to us from Gillian's perspective because Paul is no longer able to give his perspective and Gillian is the only person left that knows what has happened. I think that Gillian feels bad about Paul, but she still doesn't think she's had anything to do with it since she didn't know that it was Paul she hit. I really, really, really disliked Gillian!!!!

Inspired Correspondent
nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Gillian definitely committed plagiarism and she knew it. The scene at her party where she wanted to get Nancy aside to find out how the book ended is a dead giveaway, that and the fact that she kept the writing secret from the group. This raises an interesting issue. Gillian thinks she isn't doing anything wrong because she makes the poetry or novel better than the original author. Personally, I think this is a trifle self-serving. Gillian is a very accomplished writer who has trouble finding her own ideas. Once presented with a good idea she can flesh it out, but getting the idea is difficult for her. We saw this in her wandering the beach trying to find an idea for her next poem.

 

In a way, I felt sorry for Gillian. She was clearly the villain in the piece, and she deserved the approbation,  However, some of the other characters were just as self-serving they just chose a milieu for their writing that didn't expose their lack of creativity. 

Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I think that Gillian is so disconnected from the 'real' world that her brain wouldn't allow her to consciously know that she ran over Paul, not a deer. I have to agree with another reviewer, who mentioned that she is a sociopath. She seems to have no conscience, or at least not a very strong one. No regard for Paul, who seemed concerned that she would forget to pick him up from school, no regard for Adam, who did her the favor of removing the dead mouse, no regard for the damage left in her wake. Only what it would net her. While I also agree that she gave legitimate criticism in the Leopardi group, in retrospect it seems as if she may have been listening a little too closely to others' work. Is there a chance that she may have plagiarized, albeit on a smaller level, one of the other members? Would they perhaps be tempted to go back and more closely compare Gillian's work to their own? While I'm certain that it would be difficult to be completely original all the time, as we are surrounded by others' words and thoughts, Gillian made a conscious effort to hide her work. She even used a pseudonym for her novel...

 

And this brings up a question for me, Ms. Demas. I was wondering if you have ever found yourself in a similar position, either within a writing group or just in general. Has anyone ever lifted a bit of your work and called it their own? I did notice the example you gave of the the 17 year old, and I apologize if you've already answered this question - I'm still working my way through the other posts. Thank you for this book - while I had a little trouble getting started, just in terms of remembering all of the details of all of the characters - I found this to be a very satisfying read.

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I am not sure if you could actually call what Gillian did originally, plagiarism. If something was  committed to her memory, it would be hard to discern her thoughts from those of others. In general, though, I believe she knew that she was developing the ideas of others and using them as her own. She knew for sure that she was using Nancy's idea and even if it wasn't word for word, and it wasn't technically plagiarism, she intended to do it and it certainly defied ethical judgment. The idea that she thought because she was improving Nancy's idea, her theft would be excused, is ludicrous.

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?

 

 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Once the committee learned of her possible misconduct, they could not consider Gillian because of the controversy that might ensue. The public announcement, at her reading, was a mere annoyance. Her loyal fans surrounded her with support. They had no idea about Nancy's novel or GIllian's writing group. The charge would not have stuck.

Gillian was all about Gillian. Achieving the Pulitzer, after coming from a background of nothing, would have been her crowning glory. Losing it, because of the suspicion of plagiarism, meant it would never come her way again.

I disliked Gillian from the beginning and although she may have had a poor environment in the past, it doesn't excuse her deceptive, manipulative, dishonest behavior. She is not a nice person and she has no respect for others. She simply uses people to accomplish her goals.

 

 

Rachel-K wrote:

 

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?

 

 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I don't think Nancy lost her "moral compass". In her desire to still please her father, she expects a bit too much of herself. She needs to resolve her issues about her dad and put him in his proper place in her memory. She worshipped him at the expense of her mom. Perhaps Oates' love for her will help her to feel more secure so she is not so afraid of losing "the love" of those she loves.
I believe that Gillian and Nancy are oppposites. Nancy expects too much of herself in terms of being "good". Gillian couldn't care less how "bad" she is as long as she gets what she wants.
Although Nancy is happy when she feels she got what she wanted by instigating GIllian's loss of the Pullitzer, she feels ashamed of herself.  She is upset because that makes her like Gillian, who revels in the destruction of others. 

Gillian, on the other hand, gloats and is only too happy to sabotage the efforts of others. She is glad that she caused the downfall of Nancy's novel. She is not ashamed and feels proud that she has made her novel even better!
In the end, we learn that Gillian has struck and probably killed Paul as she sped down the driveway. The implication is that he has been killed but it is not directly stated by Gillian.

Gillian is still trying to think of ways to manipulate herself out of her trouble. She coldly excuses her behavior and creates scenarios in which she might be forgiven for doing what she did and leaving the scene. I can only hope she is not! She realizes that Jerry will probably not forgive he and plots her possible future without him.
What I took away from all of this is the sad fact that most people are afraid to get involved because, at first, they think only of themselves. If Chris wasn't as competitive as he was with Gillian and Adam wasn't an unrequited lover, I am not sure Virginia would have been able to spur them on. She is the only one who wanted to do the right thing from the get-go.

Bernard was a total disappointment. He was immature and selfish, thinking only of how to protect himself, in the future, in terms of the writing circle. He, more than all of them is the one responsible for what happened to Nancy. He invited her in but did not prepare her for the cutthroat, competitive environment. I was glad, that in the end, most of them rose to the task of doing what was morally right.

 

Rachel-K wrote:

 

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?

 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

  I believe that Gillian did plagiarize Nancy's work and the history of her doing such things before cemented my feelings that Nancy would do anything to further her own name and fame.  Whether or not the memorization of things she hears is accidental or another way of being one up on everyone else, I'm not sure, but Gillian tends to be one which is all for herself.  And no the seemingly unconscious efforts on Gillian's part does not excuse her actions.  It should have been quite evident to Gillian, exactly what she was doing.

 

  Now for the loss of the Pulitzer.  That event did considerable damage to Gillian's mind.  She didn't care what others thought of her and she used everyone around her for her own personal gain.

 

  In my humble opinion I believe that Gillian only cares about herself.  It is true that she occasionally showed Paul some kindness, but I think that that was only her way of having some type of buffer between herself and everyone else.  Is she entirely amoral?  She may not be, but she very close.

 

  Gillian and Nancy are definitely opposites.  We do see Nancy going after Gillian, in a physical confrontation at the Book signing, but Nancy did stop herself and left.  Nancy showed that she was the better person.

 

  I think that with the book ends, it was appropriate that we spent so much time on Gillian at the end.  It showed that she still didn't care about anyone else.  When she left with the truck and with the lights off so as to escape, so to speak, she again was thinking only of herself.  Even when she knew that she had hit something, she didn't stop to find out what had happened, nor do I believe that she cared. 

  When she received the phone call later with the news of Paul's death, I think that it was left in the air as to what she was going to do next.  I would hope that she had some feelings as Paul was the only one that she showed any real feelings for, even in a passing moment.  I don't think that she had any feelings or was thinking about anything when she processed the news.

 

 

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?

 

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?

 

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
Melissa_W
Posts: 4,123
Topics: 516
Kudos: 1,085
Blog Posts: 3
Ideas: 15
Solutions: 33
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

This was, for me, the strongest section of the novel.  So strong that it could possibly stand alone as a short story.

 

Gillian is a plagiarist.  Her ability to memorize may have dismissed the first instance (as well as some improper conduct with her advisor) but in the second she knew that the rest of the writing circle would realize where the opening scene came from.  But she didn't care.  It was like that girl who got caught plagiarising established novels for her Opal Mehta book - plagiarists only care when they get caught (and Gillian hinted at this in the scene with Paul - if you take from someone else you must make it better, etc.); I have enough friends who are teaching assistant/teachers to know there are kids who make no bones about plagiarism but scream bloody murder when failed for it.  What also struck me was how dismissive Gillian was with Nancy's reasons for not creating a sensationalistic story; she thought that an elegaic novel (like Gilead or Tinkers) wouldn't work so it was like she was punishing Nancy for not taking her advice.

 

Gillian is vicious.  She's used to being praised, revered, awarded - she's all ego and egos will stop at nothing to get stroked.  She shook off one accusation of plagiarism (and it wasn't even that loud) so the second accusation - timed for the Pulitzer adjudication - completely ruins her inflated ego; it's not just the loss of the Pulitzer to another poet (as a respected poet she had probably been longlisted previously) it's a loss due to humiliation, one that will continue to follow her (particularly in our internet society).  She has no backup plan or support because she never once considered someone would care enough about their own work to fight for it.

 

Nancy really hasn't lost her moral center - she's learned to stand up for herself.  "Being nice" is something that's drummed into girls from day one.  We must "play nice", "nice" girls don't make a scene, "nice" girls don't pick fights.  Gillian is not a "nice girl" and Nancy has been trying to be the "nice girl" by not being openly confrontational.  Nancy has to stop "being nice" - she doesn't have to be mean or slanderous but she doesn't have to be a push-over.  This is new territory for Nancy.

 

Gillian is someone who has never really had to face a "consequence".  She is breaking mentally because she has never had to atone for her transgressions.  The last chapter really shows that Gillian's coping abilities are nil, she has no support system because she keeps even those closest to her at arm's length.  She's very socially disconnected because she seems not to adequately process that she's harmed her own husband's son because she is reckless.

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?

 

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?

 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Melissa_W
Posts: 4,123
Topics: 516
Kudos: 1,085
Blog Posts: 3
Ideas: 15
Solutions: 33
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I remember reading about that case!  And being irritated about it because it wasn't "mixing" as in, similar subject matter, but almost directly lifted from the source novel in chunks.

 

It's like Vanilla Ice's claim that he really didn't plagiarize Queen because there was an extra beat in the phrase for "Ice, Ice, Baby" than there was in "Under Pressure" (nevermind that they sound exactly alike).

Corinne-Demas wrote:

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. 

 

 

 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Distinguished Wordsmith
maxcat
Posts: 4,011
Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Upon the use of a dictionary by Debbie to see what plagiarism is, I agree with Debbie that Gillian did plagiarise both Nancy's and the Russian girl's works. It is a rather grey area as to what Gillian did but Nancy should have really pushed for a suit against Gillian. She is left with not being able to publish her novel, but her just reward was Gillian not getting the coveted Pulitzer Prize. Gillian has been a very deceitful and a person who only thinks about herself plus she becomes delusional at the end.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
Inspired Contributor
Sherry_Young
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

What to say about Gillian? I could go on and on in a rambling rage and be speechless at the same time. I wanted to believe that there was something good about her through the entire novel and she just kept proving me wrong. I don't want to analyze her too much because I am glad I am no longer reading a novel with her in it...

 

Here are thoughts that ran through my head while I was reading which obviously never came true:

  1. Once I discovered that she had written Nancy's story, my first thought was "Oh my goodness...Gillian was the woman whose baby was dead and Nancy's father was the doctor!".
  2. While Nancy & Adam are searching the archives for the piece of poetry from college, I began to wonder if Gillian had some secret in her past that caused her to change her name, thus concealing her true identity and the reason they had difficulty in their search. 

I am now curious to know - what other ideas you might have imagined while reading these treacherous acts?

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

I have to preface this posting by saying that in no way is it meant anywhere to be in defense of Gillian; it's just my objective overview, with my subjective feelings.  There is no way I would even want my path to cross with the likes of a "Giliian".  I've met her type before but always made sure to divorce myself of any contact. 

 

She is a despicable human being and unfortunately she is not only unaware of what she really is but would see no reason to change.  Her only positive contribution toTWC was that some of her initial criticism was actually constructive criticism.  Her reputation in TWC, according to Chris, "She isn't someone to like, but to revere."  At the first TWC tht Nancy attended, Gillian handed out copies of her poem to everyone, but made sure she was one copy short so Nancy wouldn't get one.  How rude!  What Gillian did to Nancy in the end broke all the rules of a writing circle and is completely inexcusable.

 

Gillian does her own thing.  Jerry is just a convenience.  She preys on the weak so she can manipulate them, i.e. Jerry, Adam.  Her relationship with Paul is different, she needs him on her side but yet she uses Paul as a pawn against his mother.  When Paul was caught plagiarizing, he figured his father would probably send him back to his mother unless Gillian said no.  "She likes beating my mom at things."  She's been described as "you never know with Gillian.  Gillian doesn't care if she is late in picking up Paul nor did she care if Paul was at their Christmas Party.  She only wanted him there for the pretense of being a family.  In exchange for asking Paul to watch Chris's two sons, Gillian sided with Paul with wearing jeans that day.  She always has a motive for what she thinks or does.  "She could be thinking anything, harboring anything, waiting to spring it on you and you wouldn't know."  She set the ground rules for when she was up at Button.  Jerry could not call her unless she left a message for him to call her. 

 

Gillian was generally not nice to people but always polite to Bernard and I figure this is so because Bernard is so uncaring about other people's feelings that a reaction would not be forthcoming from him. She couldn't even congratulate Aimee on her pregnancy. 

 

It's a fact that she grew up poor in New Hampshire.  She was jealous of all the summer guests, they got to leave and go home to their homes while she had to stay.  She did not write about her childhood nor did she write about anything personal.  She resented her parents for always saying they didn't have money to waste on a Christmas tree so they settled on a wreathe.  The one year she went with her brother to cut down a Christmas tree, her father laughed at her because it was scrawny.  Gillian's dream was finally realized when she owned Button, a house she could come and go to at will just like the summer people did in New Hampshire.  It is quite obvious that she did not receive the proper nurturing from her parents growing up.  Her aunt funded her college education and that should have been the catalyst for her to become a softer person.

 

In retrospect she questioned herself whether she had hit something. She even says "if she had heard a cry, she would have stopped.  Even if she had not wanted to, she would have stopped".  I wonder if she really believes herself.  I don't.  "It was not leaving the scene of an accident, was it, if you thought that what you'd hit was just a deer?"  If there had not been a witness, she would have kept quiet about it.  She was afraid to look to see if there was any damage done to her car.  She did not want actual confirmation that she did hit something. 

 

There is no doubt in my mind that she did plagairized, maybe not in the true sense, but when you paraphrase someone else's writing and/or you are using their ideas without giving them credit, that is plagairizing.  Gillian believed that she had improved their writing so therefore it was now her writing and no one elses.  She saw nothing wrong with this.  I found one definition in the dictionary that said "to copy another person's idea or written work and claim it as your own" and this is exactly what she did.  When she won the $100 in the school competition, she bought one frivolous luxury, an Indian silk scarf.  "The scarf had been the most exotic thing she had owned, proof of a world she was determined to visit someday, far beyond the stark New England landscape."  

 

I truly believe her mind snapped after she received the phone call about not being considered for the Pulitzer.  Driving up to Button, she closes her eyes while driving, then opens her eyes and bites the inside of her mouth hard enough to make it bleed so she could steady herself with the pain.  She notices a sign on the side of the road that said "Desperate?  Call the Samaritans...She never saw it before but yet it seemed prominently displayed right now."  Maybe she acknowledged the sign because she was desperate.

 

In closing, this post contains many quotes from TWC and I tried to identify them with quotation marks!  Obviously, this is not something Gillian would have said, but since it is my writing I had to make note.

 

 

Scribe
DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

The term "mixing" is interesting, but seems to be just another way to excuse bad behavior. When writer's hit blocks, they aren't supposed to "mix" someone else's work with to their own! It is stealing no matter how you cut it. Where is the responsibility for one's actions? Certainly we don't see it in this girl's actions nor in Gillian's. Plaigerism is theft no matter how you do it.

 

Corinne-Demas wrote:

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. 

 

 

 

 

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
Author
Corinne-Demas
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎04-07-2010
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Dear Readers--

 

No,  Chorine is not my new pseudonym, it's just what spell check likes to do to my name!

 

--Corinne

 

 

 

Corinne-Demas wrote:

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. 

 

 

 

 

Author
Corinne-Demas
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎04-07-2010
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Dear Elaine-

I'm so happy to know you found TWC a satisfying read.

 

About my experience with plagiarism--  I haven't yet had it happen with my own work, but I've been close to other writers who have, and there have been some juicy cases in the news about some fairly famous writers who've been found out to have lifted things form other authors. With the internet, plagiarism is so much easier to do-- and also easier to detect.

As a college professor, plagiarism is an issue that I'm well aware of-- I do my best to ensure that my students always attribute material properly-- we do make a major point about this at Mount Holyoke!  There are always cases of plagiarism that come up in the academic community.  Sometimes it's students who are sloppy or lazy or desperate-- and sometimes it's a Gillian.

 

--Corinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

elaine_hf wrote:

I think that Gillian is so disconnected from the 'real' world that her brain wouldn't allow her to consciously know that she ran over Paul, not a deer. I have to agree with another reviewer, who mentioned that she is a sociopath. She seems to have no conscience, or at least not a very strong one. No regard for Paul, who seemed concerned that she would forget to pick him up from school, no regard for Adam, who did her the favor of removing the dead mouse, no regard for the damage left in her wake. Only what it would net her. While I also agree that she gave legitimate criticism in the Leopardi group, in retrospect it seems as if she may have been listening a little too closely to others' work. Is there a chance that she may have plagiarized, albeit on a smaller level, one of the other members? Would they perhaps be tempted to go back and more closely compare Gillian's work to their own? While I'm certain that it would be difficult to be completely original all the time, as we are surrounded by others' words and thoughts, Gillian made a conscious effort to hide her work. She even used a pseudonym for her novel...

 

And this brings up a question for me, Ms. Demas. I was wondering if you have ever found yourself in a similar position, either within a writing group or just in general. Has anyone ever lifted a bit of your work and called it their own? I did notice the example you gave of the the 17 year old, and I apologize if you've already answered this question - I'm still working my way through the other posts. Thank you for this book - while I had a little trouble getting started, just in terms of remembering all of the details of all of the characters - I found this to be a very satisfying read.

 

 

Inspired Contributor
nymazz
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎09-14-2009
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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?

Winning the Pulitzer would have kept her in the spot-light which was all she cared about, I think she believed the accusations of plagiarism would never touch her.  Everything was a show, from her home life to her career.

 

 

 

 

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

There was nothing redeeming about Gillian.

She was one of those characters you love to hate.

 

 

 

 

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

Not at all, what Gillian did was wrong, she might not have stolen her exact idea, but given the situation, where each writer exposed their work to the group expecting constructive help, surely believing it to be a safe environment to express their ideas,  she abused the trust of the group by her actions.

 

 

 

 

 

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. -Mason Cooley-
Contributor
skrupp
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎02-04-2010

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Since the definition of plagiarize as found in Webster's is to present the IDEAS or words of another as one's own, I would have to say that yes Gillian did plagiarize Nancy's work and the work of the Russian exchange student.  So many times we look at only the words part of plagiarism but it does include the ideas of someone.  Gillian knew that the idea of the book came from Nancy, Gillian just feels superior to others and above every thing.  Great memory does not excuse anyone.

The loss of the Pulitzer hurts Gillian because that has been something for HER.  She doesn't care enough about her public to pay any attention to the public outcry at the plagiarism scandal.

I don't think I would call Gillian entirely amoral, but I do think she comes close.

 

Author
Corinne-Demas
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎04-07-2010
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Ah!-- you picked up on the fact that Gillian didn't bring a copy of her poems for Nancy! 

 

You used your quotation marks perfectly.

 

--Corinne

 

 

literature wrote:

I have to preface this posting by saying that in no way is it meant anywhere to be in defense of Gillian; it's just my objective overview, with my subjective feelings.  There is no way I would even want my path to cross with the likes of a "Gillian".  I've met her type before but always made sure to divorce myself of any contact. 

 

She is a despicable human being and unfortunately she is not only unaware of what she really is but would see no reason to change.  Her only positive contribution toTWC was that some of her initial criticism was actually constructive criticism.  Her reputation in TWC, according to Chris, "She isn't someone to like, but to revere."  At the first TWC tht Nancy attended, Gillian handed out copies of her poem to everyone, but made sure she was one copy short so Nancy wouldn't get one.  How rude!  What Gillian did to Nancy in the end broke all the rules of a writing circle and is completely inexcusable.

 

Gillian does her own thing.  Jerry is just a convenience.  She preys on the weak so she can manipulate them, i.e. Jerry, Adam.  Her relationship with Paul is different, she needs him on her side but yet she uses Paul as a pawn against his mother.  When Paul was caught plagiarizing, he figured his father would probably send him back to his mother unless Gillian said no.  "She likes beating my mom at things."  She's been described as "you never know with Gillian.  Gillian doesn't care if she is late in picking up Paul nor did she care if Paul was at their Christmas Party.  She only wanted him there for the pretense of being a family.  In exchange for asking Paul to watch Chris's two sons, Gillian sided with Paul with wearing jeans that day.  She always has a motive for what she thinks or does.  "She could be thinking anything, harboring anything, waiting to spring it on you and you wouldn't know."  She set the ground rules for when she was up at Button.  Jerry could not call her unless she left a message for him to call her. 

 

Gillian was generally not nice to people but always polite to Bernard and I figure this is so because Bernard is so uncaring about other people's feelings that a reaction would not be forthcoming from him. She couldn't even congratulate Aimee on her pregnancy. 

 

It's a fact that she grew up poor in New Hampshire.  She was jealous of all the summer guests, they got to leave and go home to their homes while she had to stay.  She did not write about her childhood nor did she write about anything personal.  She resented her parents for always saying they didn't have money to waste on a Christmas tree so they settled on a wreathe.  The one year she went with her brother to cut down a Christmas tree, her father laughed at her because it was scrawny.  Gillian's dream was finally realized when she owned Button, a house she could come and go to at will just like the summer people did in New Hampshire.  It is quite obvious that she did not receive the proper nurturing from her parents growing up.  Her aunt funded her college education and that should have been the catalyst for her to become a softer person.

 

In retrospect she questioned herself whether she had hit something. She even says "if she had heard a cry, she would have stopped.  Even if she had not wanted to, she would have stopped".  I wonder if she really believes herself.  I don't.  "It was not leaving the scene of an accident, was it, if you thought that what you'd hit was just a deer?"  If there had not been a witness, she would have kept quiet about it.  She was afraid to look to see if there was any damage done to her car.  She did not want actual confirmation that she did hit something. 

 

There is no doubt in my mind that she did plagairized, maybe not in the true sense, but when you paraphrase someone else's writing and/or you are using their ideas without giving them credit, that is plagairizing.  Gillian believed that she had improved their writing so therefore it was now her writing and no one elses.  She saw nothing wrong with this.  I found one definition in the dictionary that said "to copy another person's idea or written work and claim it as your own" and this is exactly what she did.  When she won the $100 in the school competition, she bought one frivolous luxury, an Indian silk scarf.  "The scarf had been the most exotic thing she had owned, proof of a world she was determined to visit someday, far beyond the stark New England landscape."  

 

I truly believe her mind snapped after she received the phone call about not being considered for the Pulitzer.  Driving up to Button, she closes her eyes while driving, then opens her eyes and bites the inside of her mouth hard enough to make it bleed so she could steady herself with the pain.  She notices a sign on the side of the road that said "Desperate?  Call the Samaritans...She never saw it before but yet it seemed prominently displayed right now."  Maybe she acknowledged the sign because she was desperate.

 

In closing, this post contains many quotes from TWC and I tried to identify them with quotation marks!  Obviously, this is not something Gillian would have said, but since it is my writing I had to make note.

 

 

 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008

Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian


Sherry_Young wrote:

What to say about Gillian? I could go on and on in a rambling rage and be speechless at the same time. I wanted to believe that there was something good about her through the entire novel and she just kept proving me wrong. I don't want to analyze her too much because I am glad I am no longer reading a novel with her in it...

 

Here are thoughts that ran through my head while I was reading which obviously never came true:

  1. Once I discovered that she had written Nancy's story, my first thought was "Oh my goodness...Gillian was the woman whose baby was dead and Nancy's father was the doctor!".
  2. While Nancy & Adam are searching the archives for the piece of poetry from college, I began to wonder if Gillian had some secret in her past that caused her to change her name, thus concealing her true identity and the reason they had difficulty in their search. 

I am now curious to know - what other ideas you might have imagined while reading these treacherous acts?


Dear Sherry..Upon reading your post,and not wanting to "plagiarize" your post of course.It is the closet to how I feel about Gillian could go on about her character.But for me the bottom line is She Is" Guilty" and we will never know about the baby,although afterwards the couple had 2 other children both boys..Chris?We don't know enough him and so we will never know if the baby was his..I couldn't get the timeline..But overall I liked the way Corinne portrayed her Characters..I found it surprisingly a Very Good book.and one I would and have recommended..Susan Vtc...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
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Re: The Writing Circle: Gillian

Gillian's only motives are to look out for herself. In her mind how can anything she do be wrong. I was glad to see people from the Writing Circle support Nancy against Gillian. That support shows a bond that someone like Gillian would never understand.

pen21