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Inspirational Interview. An Anonymous Authoress Reveals Her Secrets

inspirational interview

We have been lucky to conduct inspirational interviews with fantastic authors so far and shared with you their insight on writing expelling unique stories. This time an anonymous authoress agreed to reveal her secrets of writing with our readership. She has been blogging at “Miss Snark’s First Victim”  since 2007. She does not want to reveal her name as she prefers to tell the truth about writer’s routines and be on the safe side. Her blog can confirm that.Read More

Stuart Aken Reveals a Secret of His Writing Craft

From Tales to Science Fiction: Stuart Aken Reveals a Secret of His Writing Craft

No matter what writing expertise you have, we bet you enjoy reading about the source of someone’s genius. There’s nothing like success stories or professional advice to unlock your inspiration. Luckily, we, at Unplag, had a chance to talk to Stuart Aken, a great novelist and short story writer experienced in creating stories of different genres including science fiction, romance, and horror.

Stuart has gone through many difficulties on his way and finally he has found his own source of comfort. It was writing. Besides, Stuart has long started running his own website, which now has plenty of useful and engaging material that would certainly be of a big interest for you (the link to the site is given below the post).

Read on to find out how Stuart manages to always create unique stories, what helps him stir his creativity, and what project Stuart is currently working on. Besides, there will be also helpful advice for newbie writers. Here’s the interview we are pleased to share with you!

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Expert Feedback on Unplag

Here’s What A Renowned Plagiarism Hunter and Media Researcher Thinks of Unplag

Have you already started using Unplag? No yet? Then, you are sure to be willing to read our user feedback, especially if it is given by Stefan Weber, a famous Austrian media scholar and writer, who is also known as a “plagiarism hunter”.

Why are we so excited to share with you Mr. Weber’s thoughts on Unplag? The main reason is that he has already become one of the most experienced researchers who dedicated themselves to the study of the countless plagiarism instances. Furthermore, he has tried out many similar plagiarism detection tools so far.

Mr. Weber decided to have a deep dive into the academic dishonesty issues not by accident. After almost a half of his doctoral thesis was plagiarized, he initiated a media campaign to attract everyone’s attention to the academic dishonesty problem.

Since that time, Mr. Weber has carried out a huge research and managed to collect information about more than 60 plagiarism cases. This was the basis for the book he wrote later on – “The Google-Copy-Paste-Syndrome: How Web-Plagiarism Endangers Education and Knowledge”. The book puts a strong emphasis on the increasing Internet use in education, the arts, and journalism, which brings along bad consequences, e.g.: primitive approaches toward creating academic texts that are often based on “googling”, no space for alternative/critical point of view, which was also referred to as “culture of hypocrisy”, and more.

Well, as an experienced plagiarism researcher, he checked papers with various anti-plagiarism tools. According to Mr. Weber, to get accurate plagiarism check results, it’s necessary to scan texts with more than just one existing solution. This is absolutely inevitable especially when the results they show differ a lot.

I need reliable software solutions which do not lead me into wrong directions. This makes the challenge really tricky. Furthermore, I need the plagiarism software which visualizes matches in a clear and easy-to-handle way. I found out that Unplag fulfills all these demands very well.

Mr. Weber noticed Unplag first at the “Online Educa” exhibition held in Berlin in December 2015: “The team was very friendly and competent and gave me the opportunity to test the system already at the booth. And we had an interesting conversation on what really should be done, for example, opening Google Books for plagiarism inquiries.”

The Unplag checker helped Mr. Weber find the main source of plagiarism in one dissertation that he checked at that time.

I tested the solution between January and June 2016. Unplag convinced me with one dissertation where no other software solution did find the main source of plagiarism, but Unplag ranked the source on the top.

Additionally, Mr. Weber advises teachers and professors to use multiple plagiarism solutions while checking a text for plagiarism. “I would recommend every teacher or professor to keep his or her eyes open and check several plagiarism software solutions. For me, Unplag has to be an obligatory candidate for such a check!”

Stefan Weber’s BIO:

Stefan Weber was born 14 June 1970 in Salzburg. He lives in Dresden and Salzburg and works as a media researcher and writer. His career as a plagiarism hunter has started more ten years ago. Mr. Weber had checked many texts for his clients since 2005 when he first started fighting plagiarism. Besides this, he has published publications and monographs in German and English.

plagiarism in art

Interview with Mykyta Isagulov, Author of Art of Plagiarism – Part 2

Today, we publish the second part of the conversation with Mykyta Isagulov, author of Art of Plagiarism. Check out the first part of our interview here.

Do you think the development in art could have been possible without intermediality?

I tried to show it in my research, my books and articles. The whole history of the arts has plenty of cases of intermediality. They are very interesting cases and very boring cases, easy and complicated. Sometimes you can only guess about the true source that has been used by an artist (like in the Romeo and Juliet case, when there were several potential sources that Shakespeare could have used, in fact), in some cases there is only one-to-one correlation between the works of art. This way or another, the more you dig into intermedial processes in the arts, the more you will become aware that without copying and adapting the stories and plots from other arts (i.e. intermediality) there will be no variety of the works of art. There will be only one Ulysses (of Homer), one Siegfried (of The Song of the Nibelungs), one Thor (of Scandinavian sagas) and definitely no any other works dealing with this plot, story, character or any similar details – no James Joyce’s Ulysses and famous Bloomsday festival in Dublin, no Richard Wagner’s operas The Ring of the Nibelung, no spectacular films like Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Without a doubt, art would never be the same if no artist were allowed to copy, adapt, transform, rework and re-establish the works and ideas of fellow artists. In this case intermediality facilitates the variety of forms, techniques and approaches in the arts.

Given that you have analysed the plagiarism problem from antiquity to neo-modern times, do you think the percentage of plagiarism in art grows over time? If so, why?

It’s a very good question. Just think about Ancient Greece. Homer has composed his Iliad and presented the whole bunch of myths and plots, grouping them around one single event – the Trojan War. He established certain plots, characters, relations that, most likely, have never been “written down” before and existed as some separated myths. As soon as Homer’s work was declared the masterpiece of his epoch, other artists used it as their inspiration – they carved marble sculptures of the characters, painted the scenes on canvas and on the vases, other writers also got their inspiration and either wrote stories similar to Iliad (minor Iliads) or developed some episodes from Homer’s Iliad into separate literary works. Then think about what we have now. Not all the works survived, but any good book on literature, painting, music, sculpture and architecture will probably mention a dozen of famous works based on Iliad, on its original version or on any of its various adaptations and copies.

Every generation of artists – writers and painters, sculptors, composers – brings new ideas, new copies, new intermediality and new plagiarism, when someone is not sure of the origins of his/her ideas and presents them as the result of purely his/her creative abilities. Every year brings more unconscious copying (intermediality) and more conscious copying (plagiarism) into our lives.

Generally, the word plagiarism has a negative connotation. At the end of your book you reach a conclusion that “copying makes the world of art brighter and more intensified.” Why is plagiarism “the moving force of the arts development”?

For me, plagiarism is a purely ethical problem, and I cannot limit the notion only to the cases brought to court or those that raised scandals. It is hard to describe plagiarism and prove that the work was consciously stolen. At the same time you can take the well-known names and write an absolutely different story, and then the lawyer knocks at your door and invites you to court for copyright infringement – as you have bitten off a piece of expensive cake bringing a lot of money to its owner. Sometimes such limitations can cause serious problems to a “plagiarist,” however, I think there should be no limitations in the creative process. Quite often the artists themselves cannot explain why they did that and why they chose that story and picked those names – that happened for various reason, and it requires time to find them out and understand. If we get stuck in judicial processes, we won’t be writing, painting or composing anymore – we’ll simply be afraid of the courts and lawyers. If art and creative processes are not limited to anything, copying and intermedial adaptation enrich the world of art.

Plagiarism pushes the artists to search for new ways, methods, techniques, new borders and limitations [Tweet this] that might be broken and extended by future generations of artists.

What is your personal attitude toward plagiarism?

I don’t like people who steal the labour and ideas of others. I assume that it’s always easier to copy something that fits in perfectly well, but is it so difficult to credit the one who did all the work for you and spent many nights and days writing, checking, and rewriting? It makes me very sad to discover that some young researchers use long passages from my thesis and books and never quote or credit them. This makes me furious. You won’t be breaking a single rule or undermine the importance of your own work by crediting the original researcher, otherwise the plagiaristic approach will just put your whole work at risk and, maybe ten or twenty years later, you’ll have a lot of problems when your plagiarism is revealed.

What is the best piece of writing advice you can give to young writers?

I guess there are many. Don’t plagiarize; don’t listen to anyone who says you should not write this or that; don’t follow the rules. Write as much as you can, read the works of as many authors as you can, travel and get inspired by as many places as possible, join other cultures in every possible way – and sooner or later you will establish your own style, develop your own form and write your first masterpiece, which sooner or later will be followed by another one – in case you continue your search for an ideal plot, ideal story, ideal characters and ideal setting. Enjoy your lifestyle and experiment with your writing – and one day you’ll turn into a new James Joyce or J.D. Salinger.

Many thanks to Mykyta for taking the time to talk to us and discuss plagiarism in art.