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Plagiarism or What?

Nomplume wrote:

I have a serious problem involving a boyfriend who is a fellow writer and muse. I think he had lifted my writing style and subject matter. it was very painful, but I confronted him about it.

I am still very shaken up about it. I would like your advice on what you think I should do next. We are both writers who are struggling to get our work published. We have both had lots of local attention in story collections, but neither of us has published a novel. he has been my greatest support, mentor and great love in my life.

Recently he shared a series of stories he's working on that are amazingly close to a series I have been working on for the past two years. he has been my biggest support on this work. since he has started his series, he has had positive feedback from others and has been encouraged.

I got really upset with him and finally talked to him about it. I tried to approach it in the least attacking way I could muster. I initially he got defensive. after some discussion, he backed down and admitted that he could see that there was some similarity in the style and subject matter. I told him my series was very important to me and I wanted him to consider this the next time he writes.

This is so painful. do you have any sage advice? I love this man. what do you suggest I do next?

Dear Nomplume

A very sad story; trouble is, it mixes business, pleasure and artistic pride, a nasty combination.

He's a lover and mentor; you trusted him. He used your ideas, and worse (as I'm sure you've recognised) he's got better responses than you did!

In an ideal world, you'd both have been able to decide to work together and publish jointly. A perfect team!

But I suspect his bad grace and deceipt has killed that chance, and maybe killed more than that. But do accept that it may be that it started at a subconscious level.

But only you can decide what happens next. Is professional pride more important than mending fences? Is the deceipt the final blow? Only you can put these things in order.

You may need to accept that ending one relationship ends all the parallel relationships you have; and you need to decide if you can face that.

Remember that if he's been able to use your ideas well, he may be unable to drop that approach. I cannot tell. What do you think?

I suspect that underneath all this is a resentment that he does not respect you; as you past mentor (maybe present, too), you resent that you can never be his equal. That needs to be considered, maybe discussed.

There's no easy solution; it's either a negotiated peace, or it's move on.

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