Time Out For the Plagiarism Workout

It's been a rather eventful morning of Hey Look More Plagiarism as discovered by Excellent Sharp-Eyed Readers. Reader Ari discovered similarities between Shey Stahl's For the Summer and fanfics, including Dusty by YellowBella. The comments at GoodReads follow a similar and, dare I say, familiar path: Stahl denied it, her fans defended her, then down went her Facebook page, and her books are no longer for sale at Amazon and BN. As Jane pointed out in her news coverage

It’s probably time for Amazon to contract with TurnItIn and require all self pub manuscripts be run through a plagiarism checker.  As for Stahl, I don’t doubt the fan fiction group is combing through her every work now.

Watching Jane from DearAuthor discuss it on Twitter, especially since the denial-denial-retreat path so closely followed by another author after an earlier incidence of plagiarism, wherein Jordin B. Williams' book echoed Tammara Webber's Easy, I realized we were totally due for a workout. 

A plagiarism workout!

It's simple, really. Plagiarism is really dumb, and with the ease of communication and comparison these days, if you're dumb enough to do it, you'll get caught. Count on it. But does it happen? Of course it does. And the discovery and deny-deny-retreat path of the discovered alleged plagiarist follows such a predictable path, it's only fair that we all get some muscle definition out of it, right? Right. 

So grab a comment thread and a bottle of water, and get ready to work out. 


Plagiarism: if it’s going to be this common, we might as well build muscles while we stomp on it, right? Read your favorite comment thread about the latest plagiarism discovery, and if you see any of the following, you know what to do.</p>
<p>I didn’t do it!						     25 push-ups<br />
You’re being bullies!				     25 smurf jacks									     (<a href=http://bit.ly/15P25mp)

Show me proof! I need proof! 25 sit ups
No, I mean LEGAL PROOF 50 jump squats

I’m calling my internet lawyer. 50 burpees
You’re such a bully! 25 smurf jacks

My ghostwriter did it! 25 side lunges

A psychological problem that I never even suspected I had (http://bit.ly/15P3FVF) 1 min wall sit

I am sorry… that I got caught. 100 burpees

I’m going to make this all about me. 50 high knees

” src=”http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/images/uploads/PlagiarismWorkout.png” style=”width: 500px; height: 800px;” />


Any suggestions for Plagiarism Workout version 2.0? Please share. It's only fair that we all get some health benefits out of the familiarity! 


Fun And Games

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Lexxi says:

    (Cautiously raising my hand) what’s a smurf jack?

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:


    A smurf jack is a jump jack done while your legs are in a squat position. You can see a demo (with added burpee) here:


  3. 3
    Janet says:

    Hah, I am sorry…that I got caught made me laugh out loud.

  4. 4
    Jenn B says:

    What gets me is that the plagiarized sections are so obviously plagiarized. I could see arguing it if concepts/events were close (because it’s bound to happen), but having sentences that are word-for-word? How do people think they can get away with this?

    Given recent events, though, if I do this workout I’ll be fit in no time.

  5. 5

    You forgot: Do you have any idea how difficult it is to actually WRITE a book for real?!

  6. 6

    Follow-up comment: I just watched the video and I can confidently say that I’d rather write a book than do a smurf jack.

  7. 7
    azteclady says:

    *raising hand* I’m with Valerie—except I don’t write books, so I’ll just sit quietly in the corner, rocking myself into a stupor.

    Kidding somewhat aside: how stupid do these plagiarists think that people are? Under which rock have they been living that they haven’t yet realized they WILL be caught, and that the likelihood is that it will happen sooner rather than later?

  8. 8
    library addict says:

    Ugh! I’d “forgotten” how snide the reporting was re: the Janet Dailey plagiarism. I mean come on, it was only romance novels. Grr!

  9. 9
    Aly says:

    I once detected a huge plagiarism regarding a published novel and a fanfiction… but it was actually a Fanfiction entirely copying a novel, with only the characters’ names changed.

    I remember reading that fanfic and thinking it was way better than any your regular fanfiction. And then a couple of years later I picked up a book and right away it sounded waaaaaaaaay too familiar… and it turned out to be the same story.

    It was actually [a href=“http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1250008/1/Misty-Dreams”a fanfic for an anime series[/a] (Card Captor Sakura) and the book was Juliet Marillier’s “Daughter of the Forest”.

    The fanfic writer (who was probably a young teenager at the time) claimed it was “loosely based on the tale of the Six Swans”. HAH!

    Anyways… these copyright scandals are tremendously entertaining.

  10. 10
    Maite says:

    I’d add: “I had never heard about that book/fanfic/article before”
            “I found the file in my “works in progress” folder and thought I’d written it.” (Can’t remember who did this one.”
            “I did what everyone does. What can be called original these days, anyway?”
            “The author should be paying me for the rise in their sales!” (Re: the complicated case of Coulton vs. Glee)
    Maybe they could write a book about an “author” with writer’s block rationalizing plagiarism. Or is that also too hard?

  11. 11

    That is some workout. Maybe the person who plagiarized should be forced to do that.

  12. 12
    Lexxi says:

    What kind of sick person even comes up with a Smurf Jack….

  13. 13
    Rosa E. says:

    Great idea! I think I’ll open up some of my Greatest Hits of Plagiarism Denial file after work and have a good workout.

    Here’s a few entries I’d consider adding for a future list:

    —A suspiciously-badly-written letter from a lawyer no one’s ever heard of

    —Use of the word ‘haters’ or ‘trolls’

    —Post from author’s hitherto-unknown but concerned friend detailing author’s sad breakdown over bullying

    —THEY copied ME

    And my personal favorite:

    —Filing a copyright claim to take the critical website down

  14. 14
    Mo says:


    Why do they do it?  Because believe it or not, even with it having been documented, some authors actually do make millions off of plagiarism.  There is always the chance that it will be caught too late and not everyone is “honest” enough to end up pulling their stuff.  Plus, sadly, all the other stuff in the Workout.

    Also, when you consider some of the authors accused of plagiarism, some people will ignore the cry.  (Helen Keller, of all people, was once accused of plagiarism.  Samuel Clemens wrote to her about the situation.  The Bulk of all human utterances is plagiarism)

  15. 15
    DonnaMarie says:

    Since there are no new ideas in the world, why should there be original writing?
    And whoever invented that whole smurfjack thing should be whipped. Smurfjack with burpee? Shot. Just taken out and shot.

  16. 16
    Lostshadows says:

    It probably only comes up in fanfic to fanfic plagiarism, but let’s add,

    —I’m actually otherauthor/ I use to post under another name

    to the excuse list.

  17. 17
    Mo says:

    I dunno.  That smurfjack thing sure is new.  ;)

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.  lol

  18. 18
    Kellye says:

    Love the idea of using TurnItIn! But I have to say, it isn’t just self-published authors, sadly, although, obviously, there’s a higher chance of getting caught when there are more eyes on the story, as with traditional publishing.

    On another note, not only am I unfamiliar with smurfjscks, I’ve never heard of burpees, either.

  19. 19
    jilllapet says:

    For the disabled reader (like me), can we turn this into a drinking game? Soooo much more fun!

  20. 20
    Sandy James says:

    I try over and over again to impress on my students how bad plagiarism is and that is it—literally—theft. Then I see people making money on other people’s work and want to scream! While the subject is touchy for me, I must admit I love your workout, Sarah!!

    On a side note…that smurf jack video almost made me spew my coffee!

  21. 21
    SB Sarah says:

    @jilllapet: absolutely – bottoms up! Cheers!

  22. 22
    SB Sarah says:

    @library addict – yes, isn’t it awful? I remember clearly how snide and condescending the coverage was, and I STILL twitched and snarled when I looked some up online.

  23. 23
    ShellyT says:

    I don’t understand why Shey Stahl hasn’t come out and admitted to this. It’s so blatantly obvious that she did.
    Even the blurb was copied from Dusty and Mary Elizabeth’s fanfic story Pickup Truck.

    It makes me upset that other author’s are trying to turn this into a joke to take away from what’s really going on.

  24. 24
    Jennifer in GA says:

    I’d add:
          “I found the file in my “works in progress” folder and thought I’d written it.” (Can’t remember who did this one.”

    Maite- that was one the excuses offered by Cassandra Clare re her fanfics that plagiarized multiple works.

  25. 25
    MagBWitt says:

    Did anyone notice tha the smurfjack is a WARM-UP routine?? I’m warm enough thanks,

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