Checking For Plagarism As You Go

Discussion in 'The Dive' started by Context, 24 Apr 2017.

  1. Context

    Context New Member

    You are writing a novel that you plan on being 500 pages long. At what point in your writing do you check for plagiarism? We all know that original works written down from the top of your head are more than likely not going to be found anywhere else in print or on the web. That's kind of a given. But it is possible to have sentences or sizeable chunks of paragraphs that can be found elsewhere.
     
  2. Meryl

    Meryl Member

    I think it would be best to check at regular intervals depending on how fast you're going. If you're writing off the top of your head then do you think there would be that much to worry about? Wouldn't it be better just to do it once at the end and make relevant changes then?
     
  3. Kindler

    Kindler Member

    Ah, the infinite number of monkeys Shakespeare problem. I wouldn't worry, there are so many words, constructions and phrases, that plagiarism is still relatively easy to spot because it's not just the words but the context as well that matters. It's not enough to have the same words, but the same characters, some plot and so on.

    But I would be surprised if some of the sentences used where not used somewhere else in the world.

    He smiled at her.

    This has probably been seen in a million different novels down the centuries. But as a sentence on its own, it means very little. It's only with the full scope of the story that it means something. Is this from a romance where the couple are sweet on each other, a horror story where one is looking through a window at the other, a crime thriller where the detective is about to lay down the law with the weight of evidence to the crime boss?

    Either way, just having a few sentences that match up, probably doesn't mean that much.

    Of course, the real goal now is to write a book where every sentence can be found in other story ;)
     
  4. Miranda

    Miranda Member

    I hadn't actually thought of it that way. You're right in that it would be a difficult task to try and make sure that every sentence is unique, but as long as there aren't blocks or paragraphs that are similar, I also think that you'll be fine.
     
  5. Terry

    Terry Member

    Of course some of the worst ones are those that semi-plagiarise themselves. 15 pages of barely understandable marketing blurb which then spends the next 15 pages using the same sentences in a different order wuth a couple of fresh ones thrown in for good measure.
     
  6. jessica

    jessica Member

    There are things that let you check your document against online sources to see if it is too close, like for homework. Could that work for novels? What happens if something was from a copyrighted source, but has become a bit of a meme or used in everyday speech? Is using that still plagarising?

    Wasn't that Atlanta Nights? ;)
     
  7. clair02

    clair02 Member

    I've never actually thought about it this way. It would be nearly impossible to write a book using only unique sentences but when you take them in context of the whole paragraph then it makes sense.
     

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