Plagiarizing someone isn’t something I worry too much about. First, I would never do that to someone, no matter how fantastic I thought their writing was. And second, between writing fanfiction, novels and short stories, I have yet to accidentally plagiarize someone’s work…until now. Dum-dum-duuuuuuuuum *rubs hands sinisterly*
Actually, I caught myself by the time I’d moved onto the next sentence. My current WIP (which I hope to actually finish by the end of NaNo) is about a girl who has psychic dreams. Well, she dreams of the Headmaster of her private school slipping in the cafeteria and falling in front of everyone. When I mentally wrote it, Headmaster Mannor slipped on mashed potatoes, but when I actually put it on paper, for some strange reason I wrote: I laughed, remembering my dream of Headmaster Mannor slipping on that banana peel. I mean, an actual banana peel!
I’d completed the next sentence after that, and then I stopped and said to myself, “Self, why does that sound familiar?” My self answered that it did not know. So I sat there, thinking about that, staring out of my terrace doors at the gloomy rain and then I was like, DOH!
The second sentence is nearly an exact sentence from Justine Larbalestier’s Liar. Now, I know it could be argued that the sentence in and of itself is pretty non-distinct and no court in the world would find be guilty of using it, but I knew where it came from, and that was enough for me. If I’d read that book years ago and had no real memory of reading that sentence, then I wouldn’t think twice about using it. But the combination of the scene originally being with mashed potatoes, then my changing it to a banana peel, and knowing exactly where I got it from felt too much like plagiarism to me.
Has this ever happened to you…even if it’s a small incident like this?