WAR AGAINST PLAGIARISM
AFRICAN WRITERS : IMITATION AND ELIMINATION.
“The great writer finds style, as the mystic find God in his own soul”
– Havelock Ellis.
I once stumbled on a post by a friend of mine, Precious Osikha who was creating an awareness for her soon to be released book titled White Whispers. I could deduce some comments about how she could not contend with the likes of J.K. Rowlings in story writing. Despite the fact that she bluffed it with substantial words, it kept ringing in me for a while.
Harry Potter was written in 1997, if my facts are correct. I could remember it was celebrated on June 26, 2017 in its twentieth years. Then, I wonder – is J.K. Rowlings who wrote the book not a human ? Someone recently told me :
“Read books like Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slytherin..magic would happen in your subsequent days”. I must say, some books have been written before the birth of J.K. Rowlings. How then can someone wake up and state no African writer can beat the expertise of Rowlings ? It hurts more when such baseless statement is said by an African.
We are reaching out on plagiarism and one of the handy facts has been that plagiarism doesn’t just get into a particular person. It’s more of a virus that is constantly nurtured until it blooms to be unquenchable except by proactive measures. African writers (if not all) tends to be attracted by styles of other writers within the borders and outside (mostly). It’s awful when writers visit Google to check for how to write like Gladys Williams Russel, Napoleon Hill among other writers. Then I wonder, what difference can the writers of this generation make if we still fall back to the deviant styles of other writers ? I can decipher the work of Wole Soyinka from Chinua Achebe basically because of the distinct niche they live by.
When you get over attracted by another man’s style and you can’t create yours successfully, you begin to imitate. A point comes when it can’t be imitated to make complete sense, the imitator decides to clear off the name of such writer and it becomes plagiarism. David Ogilvy once said :
“Imitation might be the most sincerest form of plagiarism but it’s also the mark of an inferior person”.
I have deduced meanings from reasons for actions from plagiarists and the same story I get is “I love the work…I just love it..you know..It’s just too good..it’s the best”.
A mystic knows that there is nothing as the best. Your knowledge is limited by the distance of your sojourn from where you are born to where you start getting burnt. There are works written before and after Harry Potter, that are very much astounding than that work. But the beliefs of most African writers are subjective to hearsays.
Check the storyline of every plagiarist, there’s always a tinge of imitation in there. Imitation normally isn’t of essence to a writer. If you see a style that attracts you, carve a better niche that’d leave the stylist mouth agape. Arts over times has been meant to be competitive and not complacent. If we say J.K. Rowlings is the best story writer, then what do we say of Soyinka’s Ake, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Sofola’s Wedlock of the gods, Konadu’s A woman in her prime and even that book you are writing..?
Yes, that book…it might just be the best thing that occurred in this age. Osikha’s White Whispers might be better than J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter.
So stop the imitation.
It will breed plagiarism.
And plagiarists are liable to be WAPped!
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