2. Getting From Idea to Story

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| Tools You Need | Plagiarism—Don't! | Brainstorm |

Plagiarism—Don't Do It!

Sometimes people really want to be able to boast, "Hey, I'm a writer!" But they don't want to do the work of writing themselves—and so they plagiarize someone else's work instead. (Plagiarism means taking another person's writing and passing it off as your own—either word-for-word, or changing a few phrases here and there to try to make it look different.)

It doesn't happen often, but it happens. I know, because I've seen my own work plagiarized, and it's not a happy feeling. (Nor did it turn out well for the university student who plagiarized my published story, Reality School: In the Entropy Zone. It ended her university career.)

Whether you're writing a work of fiction, or a report for school, or an article for a newspaper, or any other form of original writing—if you plagiarize someone else's work, you're stealing. It's as simple as that.

Three reasons why you shouldn't plagiarize

  1. Plagiarism is theft, and it's wrong. It's also a violation of U.S. Copyright law, and the rules of conduct of every school in the world.

  2. If you plagiarize, you're cheating yourself as well as the person whose work you've appropriated. How can you take pride in work that isn't your own? Where's the challenge? Where's the satisfaction?

  3. It marks you as a cheater. Once you've been discovered to have cheated, it's a lot harder to get anyone to trust you again. And that can be a very heavy burden to bear.


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