The authors of Romancing the Blog have made some interesting points regarding the latest fiction scandal, the plagarism accusations surrounding Cassie Edwards.
As I've written elsewhere, the accusations are disturbing on several levels. At this point all one can really do is vote with their finances either pro or con, and make sure they (if they write) don't fall into the same trap.
Many, many books tell us over and again there are truly only a few plots. Many, many books tell us it is the way we present those plots that make them unique. How many times have we been instructed using The Wizard of Oz movie as a template? And how many books have we read that use The Wizard of Oz as a template that we don't even recognize the book as following that pattern because the author has done an excellent job of altering that pattern into something that fits his/her personality and writing style?
Does it take effort to take a dress pattern and create a new gown, different from all the others out there, even if you are using the Vogue pattern? Of course it does. On a basic level, you change the material, change the notions, the color, maybe combine the sleeve of this pattern with the bodice of that (there are usually several patterns in a pattern envelope). The more experienced you get, the less you may rely on the pattern, perhaps only using the most basic shape to get the sizing right, and using more to complete the project from your experience and imagination.
As the authors of Romancing the Blog mentioned, it is getting easier all the time to use technology to verify information, search books, find examples of plagarism. It is up to authors to be as ethical as possible and to create their own stories with a clear conscience, knowing they've tweaked, adjusted, accessorized in a way unique to themselves.