City of Bones (Mortal Instruments)
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So, how 'bout that plagiarism, eh? Any bets on how many stolen Buffy quotes are gonna be in this?
asked by m on August 8, 2006
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63
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In this case, it isn't "going after a fanfic writer". The issue isn't that she used JKRowling's characters (especially as most of the people getting annoyed also write HP fic), it's that she used lines and chunks of prose from TV shows and other books.

Contrary to apparently popular belief, the lines were *not* cited. At the beginning and end of the chapter, she would say that she collected quotes and wasn't always sure where they were from, but that she used lines from Red Dwarf, Blackadder, Buffy, &c. To cite, she would have had to point out each unoriginal line and tell which show and which episodes it came from, at the very least.

However, the real trouble came from the passages she took from Pamela Dean (and later, it came to light that she also took chunks of description from The Chronicles of Amber). She had several lines describing action and magical plants which were nearly verbatim from one of Pamela Dean's books. At one point she said that it was from the wrong book, by someone she couldn't remember - which is unlikely, as she would have had to have it open in front of her. She didn't acknowledge any of the Chronicles of Amber lines.
Sinuhe answered on November 22, 2006

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128
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Having read the book, it is not entertaining. We'll get to the plot later. First, she plagiarized herself. She's recycling her fan fiction.

Example from chapter 8 of Draco Veritas:

"The falcon did not like Draco, and Draco didn't like it either. Its sharp beak made him nervous, and its bright eyes always seemed to be watching him. It would slash at him with beak and talons when he came near: for weeks, his wrists and hands were always bleeding. He did not know it, but his father had selected a falcon that had lived in the wild for over a year, and thus was nearly impossible to tame. But Draco tried, because his father had told him to make the falcon obedient, and he wanted to please his father."

Example from her book:

"The falcon didn't like the boy, and the boy didn't like it, either. Its sharp beak made him nervous, and its bright eyes always seemed to be watching him. It would slash at him with beak and talons when he came near: for weeks, his wrists and hands were always bleeding."

If you look at extracts from page 463 and 464 of City of Bones, you can see where she plagiarized from her piece of fan fiction, Mortal Instruments:

"Draco says nothing, only his eyes flick away and he looks at the wall. He doesn't look up at Harry when Harry slides into him, only his hands come up and circle Harry and pull him down, and he buries his head in the curve of Harry's shoulder, the juncture where it meets his neck, and makes little whispering noises there. They are not whimpers and they are not cries, it is a litany of some sort, and as Harry rocks into and against him the words spill out of him faster, a frantic subvocal prayer. His hands slide down Harry's back, slipping and counting over the knobs of his spine, and as the deafening roaring pressure builds behind Harry's eyes and ears, he imagines himself clinging to a ledge that is crumbling away, the whole mountainside sliding down, and he lets go his grip and falls and shatters and breaks onto Draco, washed up on the shores of him, his bones all gone to sand. And Draco holds him through the shattering breaking fall and as the roaring fades away Harry realizes that what Draco has been saying all this time into his neck is really the simplest litany of all: his name, just his name. "

The book says:

"She was aware of Luke watching them from the window, but she shut her eyes resolutely and buried her face against Jace's shoulder. He smelled of salt and blood, and only when his mouth came close to her ear did she understand what he was saying, what he had been whispering before, and it was the simplest litany of all: her name, just her name."

Source? www.fanhistory.com/index.php?title=Mortal_Instruments

That could really be ignored. Her other plagiarism could be ignored. Let's wipe the slate clean.

Her book is unoriginal and not entertaining. It drags. And it drags like her fan fiction. The book lacks purpose. It reads like the author wrote a chapter and then forgot what she wrote in the previous chapters. This might work in fan fiction where she released the material over months and years but in a sit down and read it at one time, it is striking in her professional work. The author leaves threads hanging that look like she has no intention of getting back to because she forgot about them. Seriously. Do you know how annoying that is? That says a lot about the author. It says she's lazy and not a competent writer. It says a lot about the publisher. Their editors don't work and Simon & Schuster gives the appearance of caring more about capitalizing off Cassandra Claire's internet fame than they do about publishing something salable to a wider audience. They've been the center of much recent controvery in the publishing world for their idocy so that they published this lazy, inept author is no surprise. Come on, in the space of a chapter, she forgets the eye color of her main character. In interviews, she forgets the age of her characters. She also forgets that in the book. She makes these mistakes time and time again.

You can have unoriginal plots and still do interesting things. Look at JK Rowling. Look at Terry Pratchett. Look at Diane Duane. Look at Cordelia Funke. Look at Iva Ibotson. Look at Lemony Snicket. Look at Eoin Colfer. They recycle fantasy elements. The difference is that these authors do it. Their stories are generally some what consistent in details to the point where you can ignore minor niggling detail issues. Their work casts new light on the genre. Cassandra Claire? She doesn't.

The characters should have been written as adults. Written as teenagers, the story is totally unrealistic. JK Rowlings characters are believable as teenagers. Cassandra Claire's are not. Lemony Snicket's characters are believable when not acting their age becuase the author sets up plausible scenarios to explain that. Cassandra Claire does not. Artemis Fowl's character is a teenager and his actions make sense in terms of other fantasy elements involving children and the characterizations established by the author. Cassandra Claire's work doesn't invoke elements to explain that in terms of basing it on other children's fantasy elements and the characterizations are never explained to give her the benefit of the doubt. Diane Duane's characters are set in such a way that it reinforces their teenage nature again and again. Cassandra Claire fails to do this. Cassandra Claire's repeated failures at doing this take away from the entertainment aspect. That she couldn't do this is really not a surprise because she couldn't do it in her fan fiction either.

Her thematic borrowing is not entertaining and not original Cassandra Claire's borrowing themes from Star Wars is so obvious that it gives away parts of the plot that really shouldn't be given away and she doesn't add anything new to that. Her throw away lines to her readers are obvious and obnoxious. Really? Teenagers in leather pants? It isn't new. It isn't entertaining. It isn't good writing.

So if you want to support Cassandra Claire, come up with something more than nothing is original and the book is entertaining. Because both are clearly wrong and clear examples of how wrong those defenses are have been repeatedly offered. None of these examples have been refuted by Cassandra Claire defenders. Until you do, you're not going to convince anyone.
P. Renta answered on January 24, 2007

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>>Cassandra Clare really pulls in her fans with her plot and characters (which are not the exact same in dynamics as JK Rowling's), not her "stolen" quotes.

I'm sorry, but you must not have been in the fandom when she was really big. She used to be complimented all the time about her witty one-liners, and she never said, "Thanks, but I didn't write them." She said, "Thanks, you can send the iPod to this address," instead. It's not that she occasionally slipped in a quote, then attributed it at the bottom - it's that she did it *all the time* and pretended it was her own writing. I don't care whether it's funny or good or not, it's still plagiarism. Have you even read the lists of stolen quotes?

She also got her huge fanbase by writing very bad fanfiction. Quite aside from her writing (which was very bad), the point of fanfiction is not to change the characters. She took Draco and made him Spike, which also wasn't very original. Lots of us love the Draco from canon, emotastic and dorkorific as he is.

>>I would also like to point out that in just about any form of art a person could study, if they were to go to school for that medium, one of the first assignments they recieve is to either A)Copy a famous work or B)Immitate a famous artist's style.

a) Perhaps in studio art, but we are talking about writing, not painting or sculpting.
b) Cassie didn't imitate a style.
c) When people do copy a famous work, they GIVE CREDIT. They say who painted the original. Why is the whole "credit" thing so hard for people?

ETA: I never tagged her book as plagiarism. I don't know if it is plagiarized yet. However, she's ALREADY had issues with Sherrilyn Kenyon about "Darkhunters", so it's not unlikely.
Sinuhe answered on December 2, 2006

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When the chapter with so much taken from Pamela Dean's book originally was posted, the citation said it was from "The Secret Country" and that CC couldn't quite remember who that had been written by.

It has been changed now, though I believe it might still have the wrong book in Dean's trilogy quoted, but originally the citations were too vague to excuse the line taking.
M. Riley answered on November 9, 2006

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The fact is that Cassandra Claire plagiarized in her fan fiction. It is a fact that Cassandra Claire self plagiarized in Mortal Instruments from her fan fiction, which had plagiarized passages in there. This is factual, and not something I would call rumor or innuendo. It hurts your credibility when you say that.

If you need the examples, then I'll provide them from Bad Penny:

Draco Sinister, Chapter 8 (describes the demon)
...a gray, wrinkled face set with brilliant red eyes like coruscating jewels.

Draco Sinister, Chapter 10

Sirius took a step forward, his eyes fixed on the demon's red ones. "Who are 'we'? What's your name, anyway? Do you even have one?"

The demon looked shifty. "Very well. As a sign of good will I will tell you my name. It is Strygalldvir. Conjure with it and I will eat your heart and liver."

Sirius doubted he'd be doing much conjuring with a name he couldn't even pronounce.

Roger Zelazny, The Guns of Avalon (p. 146 as printed in The Great Book of Amber)
Then I was looking into two hot, red eyes which were looking back into my own.
...
It was well over six feet in height, with great branches of antlers growing out of its forehead. Nude, its flesh was a uniform ash-gray in color. It appeared to be sexless, and it had gray, leathery wings extending far out behind it and joining with the night. It held a short, heavy sword of dark metal in its right hand, and there were runes carved all along the blade. With its left hand, it clutched at the lattice.

"Enter at your peril," I said loudly, and I raised the point of Grayswandir to indicate its breast.

It chuckled. It just stood there and chuckled and giggled at me. It tried to meet my eyes once more, but I would not let it. If it looked into my eyes for long, it would know me, as the hellcat had known me.
...
"Who are you?" I asked.

"Strygalldwir is my name. Conjure with it and I will eat your heart and liver."

"Conjure with it? I can't even pronounce it," I said, "and my cirrhosis would give you indigestion. Go away."

End examples. That is the beginning of the tip of the iceberg of the Cassandra Claire plagiarism in her fan fiction.

We'll go into her books, where she takes her own fan fiction (which is rife with plagiarism) and uses her own work in a non-self referencing manner:

Draco Veritas, Chapter 8:

The falcon did not like Draco, and Draco didn't like it either. Its sharp beak made him nervous, and its bright eyes always seemed to be watching him. It would slash at him with beak and talons when he came near: for weeks, his wrists and hands were always bleeding. He did not know it, but his father had selected a falcon that had lived in the wild for over a year, and thus was nearly impossible to tame. But Draco tried, because his father had told him to make the falcon obedient, and he wanted to please his father.

City of Bones, page 204:

"The falcon didn't like the boy, and the boy didn't like it, either. Its sharp beak made him nervous, and its bright eyes always seemed to be watching him. It would slash at him with beak and talons when he came near: for weeks, his wrists and hands were always bleeding.

Mortal Instruments, the fan fiction:

Draco says nothing, only his eyes flick away and he looks at the wall. He doesn't look up at Harry when Harry slides into him, only his hands come up and circle Harry and pull him down, and he buries his head in the curve of Harry's shoulder, the juncture where it meets his neck, and makes little whispering noises there. They are not whimpers and they are not cries, it is a litany of some sort, and as Harry rocks into and against him the words spill out of him faster, a frantic subvocal prayer. His hands slide down Harry's back, slipping and counting over the knobs of his spine, and as the deafening roaring pressure builds behind Harry's eyes and ears, he imagines himself clinging to a ledge that is crumbling away, the whole mountainside sliding down, and he lets go his grip and falls and shatters and breaks onto Draco, washed up on the shores of him, his bones all gone to sand. And Draco holds him through the shattering breaking fall and as the roaring fades away Harry realizes that what Draco has been saying all this time into his neck is really the simplest litany of all: his name, just his name.

Mortal Instruments, the book:

She was aware of Luke watching them from the window, but she shut her eyes resolutely and buried her face against Jace's shoulder. He smelled of salt and blood, and only when his mouth came close to her ear did she understand what he was saying, what he had been whispering before, and it was the simplest litany of all: her name, just her name.

End examples.

And that you enjoyed the book borders on ridiulous. Did you read it? Or did you enjoy it for its flowery purple prose and find it delicious in the sense that you might enjoy a bad piece of fiction because the thing is that bad?

Tell me, did you love these descriptions? How do these phrases work for you as a reader?

* "The water itself was the color of lead, churned to a whipped cream consistency by the steady wind." (Pg. 338)
* "Blood flew into the air like the spray of paint from a broken can, splattering the cement wall with red."
* "He had electric blue hair that had stuck around his head like tendrils of a startled octopus."
* "The boy's wide eyes were way too bright a green, Clary noticed: the color of antifreeze, spring grass."
* "The water itself was the color of lead, churned to a whipped cream consistency by the steady wind."

Don't you find those descriptions to be over the top? Unrealistic? Inconsistent? Whipped cream can have different consistencies. Anti-freeze comes in a multitiude of colors. These are florid phrases for the sake of florid phrases.

How did you find the book in terms of its internal consistency?

"Do you know much about archery?" he asked, in a tone that suggested that he doubted it.

"I did archery at camp," said Simon. "Six years running." (Page 337)

He drew an arrow from it, fitted it to the string, and lifted the bow expertly, as if he'd done the same thing a hundred times before. (Page 355)

Here, in the second part, it is implied that Simon had not done archery before. Yet notices that in the previous example, he had done archery for six years running. This is just one example of internal consistencies in the text.

Did the Mary Sue part of Clary not annoy you? Clary is a derative of Claire. Clary lives in Brooklyn like Claire. Clary is attractive to everyone. Clary saves the day. Clary can do things with little or no training.

The innuendo and rumors are about the quality of this book, are about this book being well written. I've yet to see a single person here support Cassandra Claire by pulling clear and concise examples from the text. Pony up. I want examples of why you fell in love with this book. What about Clary and Simon made the book work for you? Was the villian especially interesting? Give concrete examples. It shouldn't be that hard.
P. Renta answered on March 16, 2007

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39
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Oh, totally. That's one of the maddening things: she keeps saying that she's getting out of fandom, &c., but at the same time she's cashing in on her fandom name and undeserved fame.
Sinuhe answered on November 30, 2006

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52
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Holly Black might be another of those people who thinks that what CC is doing/has done is "homage" rather than "ripping off" or "being unable to think up her own ideas." It's the only explanation for why a successful author would associate themselves with (let alone support) a plagiarist...other than stupidity and a total lack of google-fu.

I for one have lost all respect for Simon and Schuster for publishing her. Next thing we know, they'll be printing Kaavya Viswanathan - who was known to be a fan of Cassie's. Imagine that? It's a slap in the face to anyone who's ever worked hard on their own material and had it stolen. Simon and Schuster is rewarding hackery and plagiarism, thus telling the world that they think this behavior is ok. I can't support a company that supports a plagiarist. I will not buy any more books from this publisher, and am writing a letter to tell them as much in place of the postcard in the ARC. I encourage others to do the same.
M. answered on February 20, 2007

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36
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Actual, she was never an "amateur author." She was working as a journalist (which also pokes holes in your "college student" theory), and she should have known better.

I personally think that if she had come clean, removed/cited the stolen material, and APOLOGIZED, people would be much more willing to forgive her.

I do agree with you on one point: the internet as a whole has very little interest in CC or her activities with HP. Most people will judge her on the quality of this book.
Sarah Gilman answered on October 6, 2006

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43
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When I read this (advanced copy. If I had paid actual money for this I think I might have knocked on S&S's door and demanded it back) I noticed quite a few oddly familiar lines that didn't quite ring true. They weren't quotes mind, just familiar ideas and lines that read disjointed from the rest of the text. IMO what it felt like was that the book was a classic CC product: mostly lifted from other work, that was then gone over with a fine tooth comb and a thesaurus to catch her plagiarism.
Oulangi answered on February 13, 2007

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"But attacking writers of fanfiction in a realm where people outside of fandom may see and be swayed by fandom workings is low."

So if the people bringing up the plagiarism are mixing fandom and RL and this is badness, why is it all right for Cassie herself to mix fandom and RL by using her fandom alias as a pen name? I think a lot of the commenters here that are defending her are missing a large part of the point (whether intentionally or not, I do not pretend to know):

1-Cassie plagiarized Pamela Dean and Robert Zelazny, among others, in her immensely popular fanfiction.
2-Cassie then lied about this plagiarism.
3-Cassie and her friends and followers did the internet equivalent of duffing up anyone who dared to say that she plagiarized for a good long time. Her closest friend, who is a lawyer, has a history of threatening people with legal action for saying that Cassie plagiarized; the only reason she is not here now is, I assume, that people will see and laugh.
4-Cassie profited heavily (laptops?!) from her fanfiction, whether purposely or not.
5-Cassie took down the DT and said that she was getting out of fandom, probably to make point 6 look better.
6-Cassie is using her fandom name so that her many, many fangirls will be able to find her books without her giving away her real name to the people who might use it to, I don't know what she's worried about, write her angry letters.

The agrument that she "self-plagiarized" is not to say that using your own phrases is wrong (however, when your writing is like the DT, it's a pretty stupid idea), but that it's lazy and that as we don't know how much plagiarism Cassie committed, we don't know how many phrases are hers. She might have taken a line, used it in the DT, and then re-used it in City of Bones.

Honestly? I don't care if it hurts book sales. If she's greedy enough to use her fandom name to sell her book, then she'd better be able to take the baggage that comes with the name.

ETA: Oh, and "something better than 'it wasn't entertaining'"? Why? A YA fantasty had better be entertaining. If I don't enjoy a book on some level, then I'm going to think it's a bad book.
Sinuhe answered on March 17, 2007
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