Laura Dzubay: In defense of plagiarism

I know, I know. I know what it sounds like. Let me start off by saying that no, I’ve never straight-up copied somebody else’s work and tried to pass it off as my own. I’ve never, for instance, meticulously unearthed some obscure passage from Joyce Carol Oates or Katherine Anne Porter and turned it in for a fiction workshop and been like, I hope it’s good, it’s only a first draft! (Which I’m realizing now probably sounds like a weirdly specific example. I haven’t. I promise.) But let’s take the fact that most of us aren’t conniving schemers and set that aside for a moment, shall we? Barring the fact that we all rock, I think there’s a little more here to explore. And I think that when we say we’re only here for original ideas, there’s a hidden truth there that we’re not really telling. Maybe it would help if I strip away the word “plagiarism” . It’s understandably kind of a buzzword. There are a million other words I could use that would make it easier to get behind this argument: “Riffing.” “Reworking.” “Reimagining.” Even words as harmlessly vanilla as inspire and influence have their place on […]

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