Plagiarism Update–Experiment? I don’t think so. Back to Blog

A HUGE thank you to everyone who reported THE DEVIL’S DANCE as plagiarism on  The story is down now, and Misconception76 (the person who stole my story and used it as her own), left this note on her page:

“Okay…confession time. What people said I did, I really did do. It was an experiment with a friend of mine. Her mom is totally addicted to the site, and it made me wonder. How many people actually copy other stories and claim them as their own. Well, now I know. Probably not many at all. I’m sorry for all the crap that I caused, and I promise to never show my face again. When my mom’s friend found out what we did, she was livid to say the least. I don’t blame her, or you for any words or actions you brought my way. I totally deserved it.

Once again, I’m sorry.



An experiment? No, it’s an illegal act.  It’s plagiarism.  And Misconception76 STILL has not replied to the PM I sent to her about this activity. She hasn’t contacted me at all. If her friend’s mom was actually “livid” then I’ll say that’s no big surprise. She knew the actions were more than just wrong.

Thank you, again, to everyone who has commented, tweeted, emailed–I am thankful for all the support that I’ve received during the course of this “experiment” (totally calling bullshit).

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46 responses to “Plagiarism Update–Experiment? I don’t think so.”

  1. Limecello says:

    Wow. An experiment? I’m pretty much at a loss for words. Sorry this happened to you. Thanks for keeping us updated here, and on twitter – and I’m glad so many of us reporting her worked.

  2. Carrie says:

    Bullshit. Sorry, but utter bullshit. An experiment? No – that’s jail time. What was she gonna do next?Rob a liquor store to see if she got caught as an experiment? NO!

    Shes not sorry she did it as you can see. Shes sorry she got caught. Abysmal. Ugh. (Can you tell I am angry on your behalf?)

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      Carrie, that’s the way I think, too. Can folks shoplift & then tell the judge they were just experimenting? She knew it was wrong–she had the bit about copyright infringement at the top of each section, so she KNEW about copyright infringement. She just didn’t care.

  3. Na says:

    It sounds to me like she is covering her back. ASSUMING if she is the same person who has done this to other authors then she is NOT sorry, other than the fact she got caught. Let’s say it really is her first time which I really doubt, that’s no experiment. I didn’t check the dates, but it sounds her “hard” writing took place over many weeks with a sequel in the making. I feel sorry for other authors who may be targeted in the future. What if it was not a well-known author with no fanbase to alert them? I’m also concerned that no word has been forthcoming on the admins of the site? Has plagiarism become acceptable and tolerable? I hope not! It’s a livelihood and passion for authors and to be plagiarized I imagine is one of their nightmare. I’m glad you are one step in putting this behind you.

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      No, Na, I still have not received any response from the admins on the site (I’ve sent 4 notices). I’m glad the story is down, but I definitely think it’s down b/c so many people were leaving Misconception angry notices, and not b/c the site took action (it seems that she pulled the story in response to all the negative comments).

    • Liz says:

      Na, I think that sadly plagiarism is becoming in some way acceptable. Yes, it is illegal, but look how many people have done it and gotten away scott free. Look at the whole Cassie Edwards thing a couple of years ago. The Smartbitches uncovered tons of plagiarized works, but nothing ever happened to Edwards. Her books are still available–even the ones with the stolen material. it’s sad to say, but the only place that cares about plagiarism is school.

    • Blogon says:

      The administration on fanfiction dot net rarely replies to anything. If they took the story down, it’s very unlikely they would release any kind of statement about why they took it down.

      They’re not ignoring you in particular. They ignore everyone. If a major bug on the site exists, users are lucky if the admins release a statement about the bug two months after it’s been fixed.

      Plagiarism does tend to disappear very fast, though. It is taken quite seriously. There are numerous fanfic groups that root out plagiarism and document repeat offenders so they can be stamped out quickly regardless of where they try to go and hide.

  4. Jillian says:

    You are freaking kidding me. An experiment my a**. It’s illegal and she knows it. Her tail has been caught and now the back peddling begins. And she cost you some sales. She gave away the solution to the crime and that was awful too. I hope your publisher takes legal action on your behalf.

    You stressed all weekend and she tries to blow this crime off as harmless. Give me a break. Geez.

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      Thanks, Jillian. I find her “experiment” illegal and horribly mean-spirited. So what, she thought it would be fun to lie to all of the people on the site? She asked them for reviews, she led them on with her notes. Jerking them around isn’t an experiment.

  5. An experiment? That’s the best she could come up with? No wonder she needs to plagarize. She has so little imagination she couldn’t come up with a less lame story. Seriously. If she’s so sorry why hasn’t she apoligized to you?

  6. Julie Leto says:

    Yea, right. That’s an excuse…a made-up explanation for an illegal act. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do except be thankful its down…and remember, do a Google alert of a unique phrase from her “version” of your story because chances are, it’s going to go up somewhere else. A Google alert will let you know if it does.

  7. Lucy Coss says:

    By reading those words she wrote I can sense how immature and unprofessional she is. Obviously, she does not know the seriousness of the situation and, I’m afraid, she will find out once your publisher’s legal department contact her which I’m hoping they will; is the only way people will learn not to ‘experiment’ with plagiarism. Your work is very valuable not just to you, Cynthia, but to all of us; your fans. I thank you for the way you’re handling this and continuing with your plans. We’re behind you 100%. (And patiently waiting for your next story :))



  8. Bree says:

    *hugs* You know I’ve got your back, lady. Always.

  9. Darcy says:

    As a reader I support the authors for it is your work that brings hours of enjoyment and happiness. It makes me angry that this pefrson is not punished appropriately for she will do it again, or do something else in her arrogance. I agree wit the other posters..not nearly enough punish for what she has done. Shame on her parents of that is the case for obviously fear and consequences were never taught to her as a child.
    Wishing you more success, and I’m sorry that you had to be literally robbed of your work.


  10. Lucy Coss says:

    By the way, did I mention that I am relieved that they finally took the story down? Well, I am. I was thinking about it all day yesterday.

  11. Edie Ramer says:

    Nope, I don’t believe her either. I’m glad someone caught her finally and alerted you. You have such a strong voice, I’m kind of surprised someone didn’t catch it earlier. I’m glad it’s down now.

  12. vitch36 says:

    Just saw what happened! SOOOOO glad it was taken care of. Geez, you’ve have a craptastic few days!

    Hopefully everything will be smooth sailing!



  13. JuliaGD says:

    She is trying to sound like a teenager but it is obvious from her language that she is an adult. (Actually, I am suddenly intensely uncomfortable to share the same birth year with her as I think her “76” is the same as mine.) She is a grownup person and I wish there was a way to make her responsible for her actions.

    Best wishes to you and I hope this would not leave a stain on the community of fanfiction writers in your or other people’s opinion.

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      Julia, I’m glad you said this b/c I was also struck by the difference in tone/language that she used–first in her comments on each chapter and then here. In her chapter comments, she appeared to be an adult, talking about her job, etc. And the *tone* was adult.

      I’m a 76er, too. And if she is our age, then she definitely knows better.

      I don’t want this to leave a stain on the fanfic writers, either. This was just one bad person, not the community, and the fanfic writers were so great to defend me and to work to get her story removed.

  14. kauri says:

    Wait, was it her friend’s mom or her mom’s friend? Just makes her look more guilty when she cannot keep it straight in her apology/excuse letter.

    I am really glad everyone rallied and got her to take down the story. I hope that lesson sticks with her.

    • Liz says:

      good catch Kauri. I didn’t notice that the first time around. I smell a liar, and her name is Misconception76.

  15. Experiment — an illegal experiment. I wish there was more we could do beside reporting her. If I was the “mom” I would make her apologize directly to you.

  16. Ashleigh says:

    Doing something incredibly stupid like Misconception did and saying “it was an experiment” does not make it okay. It would have been better for her to simply say she screwed up badly and there was no good excuse for what she did. Better than the bull she offered up. I’m so sorry this happened to you; plagiarism is one of an author’s worst nightmares. (It’s one of mine, at least.)

    Hopefully, her account will be removed soon. I can recall at least one other incident where a fanfic author plagiarized a published novel and her account was removed about a week later. If they don’t do it in this case too, it will reflect badly on the site (or make it look even worse, since its response isn’t looking so fantastic in the first place).

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      Ashleigh, I heard from the site today–they said they’d taken down the story. Not sure if this was a delayed message or what happened. At least it’s down, so that’s good news.

  17. Persopo says:

    Maybe Misconception76 feels bad about it.

    She did apologize, after all. This is the internet – she didn’t have to apologize. She could have just disappeared.

    I guess it’s more fun to keep beating her on the head, but – just in case she means it – maybe her apology should be given just a little bit of consideration.

  18. Jackie says:

    I don’t believe that apology. I think she’s realizing that she’s in hot water and trying to play it off as harmless. I don’t think it was an experiment.

  19. Cari Hislop says:

    That is a nightmare come true! I’m glad there were readers who saw it and called the girl on it, but I think it’s a symptom of the age. So many people want to “be” something they’re not. And though this may be a human trait we now have technology that allows people to easily be something their not. Think of all the so called singers using that awful tuning software…people who can’t sing to save their life can now be made to sound as if they can sing…so voila they can sing? I don’t think so, but they probably do. So now we have people who want to be thought of as a writer (or to think of themselves as a writer) but they’re not a writer, so they copy someone else’s work, change the names, publish it anonymously and then wait for unsuspecting readers to tell them how wonderful their book is. I blame our modern Western culture that tries to insist that we can all be anything we want to be. I would love to be mathematician, but my talents don’t actually stretch beyond the basics. My husband would say they don’t even stretch that far. It’s like we’ve lost perspective. As an artist I find it really grating when I hear, “Anyone can be an artist”. Actually no, not everyone is an artist even if they learn the techniques to make a decent picture or sculpture etc. Nor is everyone is a story teller. I pity the girl who wanted to be thought a writer so badly she stole your work and faked it as her own. It’s pathetic. If I were you I’d use this trauma to write a book and make her the anti-heroine or villain (the girl who would do anything to be a…? That’s my evil sense of humor. I’d have the last money making laugh! Good luck!

  20. Maybe if everyone here is lucky Miconception76 will hand you all pitchforks and torches in the town square. But I bet you wouldn’t even give her a head start.

    Ms. Eden, has this (and we mean this sincerely) caused you genuine trauma? That is, does it plague you, keep you up, and have you considering therapy?

    Did Misconception76 make money by selling your copied writing? Was you audience lost due to her actions?

    And for Ms. Eden’s readers – we understand you don’t like plagiarism. No one does. It’s crappy. It’s horrible. And we understand you support Ms. Eden. But for crying out loud – this is starting to look more like a frenzy for frenzy’s sake more than anything else.

    What apology WILL you accept? What precise wording will make you at least consider its sincerity? Maybe you can write a script for Misc76 that she can recite, because apparently the one she made up doesn’t satisfy you.

    This is absurd.

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      I have no plans for pitchforks, promise.

      And, yes, this has caused me to be genuinely upset–it’s kept me up, “plagued” me, but no, I am not planning to seek therapy.

      Unfortunately, situations like this do financially impact both writers and publishers. In this instance, Misconception said that she’d received over 20,000 hits for the story. Let’s say half of those hits were returning folks; heck, let’s say 3/4 were–that would still leave 5000 people who received a free, illegal copy of the story. That’s 5000 copies that my publisher was not paid for, that I received no compensation for, despite spending months working on the story. Those people who read the story and helped accumulate all those hits–many will never know who the real author of that tale is. The site did not post the actual information. Crimes like this aren’t victimless. Any illegal posting of a book comes back to hurt the author and publisher.

  21. Wow,

    Persopo & Horrible person of the week. Your responses are partly the reason plagiarism is becoming more and more prevalent. You don’t seem to think STEALING warrants outrage. That wasn’t an apology. That was a shrug and an oh well I got caught. Instead of encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions you turn them into martyrs. God help any children you might have, obviously they won’t be picking up any values from you.

    • Cynthia Eden says:

      Trish, it’s possible that Persopo & Horrible Person of the Week are the same–they link back to the same basic site info. I suspect they may just be trying to stir up some attention for their new blog (Horrible Person of the Week), but I could be totally wrong on that. This could very well be how he/she/they feel.

  22. Kayla says:

    I’ve never read your books, just stumbled across a mention of the situation and had to find out what exactly happened. As someone who writes fanfiction, there are certain responsibilities you have. The biggest ones are you warn for mature/ disturbing content, you don’t write for a fandom if the author is against fanfiction, and you NEVER steal someone else’s writing. I feel the need to apologize for the entire fanfiction writing community that someone would disrespect your hard work and copyright like this. :/

    I’m glad that your fans were able to alert you and the work was deleted. It’s important for people to keep an eye out. An author who has since become well known for her original works at one point had arguably the most well-known fanfic online had in fact copied large sections of it directly from a published novel, something that went unnoticed for quite some time.

    Whether she’s twelve or sixty, there’s no excuse. I’m fourteen and I know far better than to try to pass someone’s work off as my own. The thought of someone doing that to anyone is horrible.