Thursday, April 27, 2006

She's probably blown that 500 grand on tuition and text books.

I wasn't going to post about this latest plagiarism scandal. Duane covered it and First Offenders weighed in, so for me to bring it up might seem like I'm piling on. And you all know that a gentlemen does not pile on.

If this is news to you, Kaavya Viswanathan is a Harvard sophomore who got a cool half mil for this book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life, and one other. She's accused of plagiarizing from novels by Megan McCafferty.

Tom Tomorrow over at This Modern World (I'm not linking to all of these places because they're right over there, you lazy bastards) has this interesting twist. He seems to think someone might have ghosted Kaavya's novel.

Ms. Viswanathan worked with 17th Street Productions, (now Alloy Entertainment), and Alloy holds the copyright to “Opal” with Ms. Viswanathan. I've never heard of a publisher holding the copyright with an author, and neither has Tom. He also points out that 17th Street Productions is a book packaging company. For those who write their own books, a packager hires ghost writers to crank out popular series like Sweet Valley High. Ghost writers get a check and, with that check, they promise not to talk about novels they're written for others. As 17th Street Productions packages the Sweet Valley High Series, Tom wonders if there might not be a ghost lurking somewhere behind Ms. Viswanathan's book.

Publishers are always on the lookout for attractive people to promote, people who would garner more press than say, a bespectacled fifty-something writer who stays at home with his two dogs. That they saw this beautiful Harvard sophomore as a possible new star in the chick-lit cosmos should surprise no one. I can see the people in marketing now, smiling like cats, assured of prime TV time.

This ghost writer theory does provide a new wrinkle to the plagiarism story.

I wonder if somewhere there's a pudgy, pasty, middle-aged guy looking to get into Witness Protection.


Stephen Blackmoore said...

Pudgy, pasty, middle-aged guy writing as a young, hot, college sophomore? I don't see what the big deal is. That happens all the time on the internet.

David Terrenoire said...


That was just once and I was drunk.

Geez, one time and you're branded for life.

Steve Ordog said...

Overheard at the mystery book club after Dave's last appearance: "He's so handsome, and younger than I expected." Targeted exposure is the key.

P.S. You guys write fiction for a living. I am just a fan. I could not make this stuff up!

M. G. Tarquini said...

Who knew you could make money being a ghost plagiarizer.