Cussedness Corner

"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane

Patricia Cornwell vs Leslie Raymond Sachs


I started looking at the situation with Cornwell’s lawsuit against her stalker, Leslie Raymond Sachs.

I had stopped following it for a few years. Then I got curious a few weeks ago. She won her lawsuit. Yet, Sachs has (in violation of court order) continued putting up other websites about it, still making the same claims.

I found that (and correct me if I am wrong) Sachs appears to have self-published his Amanda Poe Mysteries under an imprint called Pussycat Press. He accused Cornwell, initially, of plagiarizing his novel, The Virginia Ghost Murder (1998), when she published The Last Precinct (2000). When he got no satisfaction, he began to follow her all over the internet and spread vicious lies about her.

The website I found a few weeks ago by Sachs has already been taken down. Someone must be watching him.

Not wanting to give money to Sachs by purchasing his book new, I located and purchased a used copy of it. I purchased a new copy of Cornwell’s book.

Sachs’ book arrived today. The copy is autographed. Not that I wanted his autograph. I only discovered it on opening the book this morning. Large type size means that it is not actually a novel length work, but closer to novelette or possibly novella.

The next thing that I discovered was that the writing was extremely poor.

Which brings me back around to the exact same point I tried to make about Jordan Scott vs Stephanie Meyers.

The nature of plagiarism and the ignorance of the people who are doing the naughtiness of suing name authors.

I will be the first to admit that plagiarism does occur. Sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously.

However, the fact that a book by a name author and an obscure book by an unknown share some basic elements in common does not make it plagiarism. It is not unusual for books to have things in common. No one has a sole ownership on, say, vampires. No one has a sole right to historical events, cultural aspects, or other matters.

There’s an online shop that trademarked the word “Thane.” Does that mean we have to take it out of our history books and our fantasies? No.

If more than one person decides to write about the same minor point in history, does that make one of them a plagiarist? No.

Some things are borrowed and used so often that they become tropes.

Some people make actual refs to other authors, friends, and works in their novels and stories. I have a mage who lives on an island the size of New Zealand and raises colored sheep. Her name is McConchie. Unlike Lyn McConchie who also raises colored sheep, my character’s sheep are green and purple.

One of the largest things missing right now on the internet is a sense of proportion.

Because someone else wrote or did something similar is no reason to assume plagiarism, waste money on lawsuits, or (as in the case of Sachs), subject someone to a wealth of unfair abuse.

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This entry was posted on January 6, 2010 by in Janrae Frank and tagged , , , , , .

Janrae Frank

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