Friday, August 7, 2009

So Sue Me

Where there's smoke, there's fire. Where there's thunder, there's lightning. And where there's money, there's a lawsuit.

It seems someone named Jordan Scott is suing Stephanie Meyer for allegedly taking her vampire love story and making it popular.

Now first things first: Jordan Scott, is this all you can do to earn money after American Idol? I know your record sales are down, but frivolous lawsuits are not cool. Oh, wait. That was Jordan Sparks. My bad.

Ms. Scott is suing Ms. Meyer because of "striking and substantial" similarities between the fourth book in the TWILIGHT series and a work titled THE NOCTURNE. The article linked above, which is sourced from MTV because this is totally about music, provides two examples of text, which I will critique for you now to illustrate how different they actually are.

First, Ms. Scott:
"Her face was so pale, it was frightening; and there were beads of sweat pouring down her forehead. She couldn't even stand, she was so weak. ... She was violently ill, vomiting and scarcely able to catch her breath."

This has most of the makings of a hit YA vampire love saga, i.e. passive story telling (was so pale, were...pouring, was so weak, was violently ill) and multiple adverbs (violently, scarcely). Plus you demonstrated an advanced understanding of punctuation by using a semi-colon. But this lacks sparkle.

Additionally, there are many unnecessary descriptions here:
- Her face is frightening because it is pale. Cause and effect is not necessary in YA vampire love sagas. Plus cold and pale is really HOT, don't you know? Nothing scary about that.
- Her weakness is demonstrated through her inability to stand. You said she's weak, your extended examples overwhelm our collective lack of imagination. Cut it out.
- Physical descriptions of sickness, such as vomiting, are just gross. Although you get an extra adverb point for scarcely

Overall, this is a nice first effort that could be made ultra-successful in the hands of a true master.

Now, Ms. Meyer:
"Most of her dark hair was pulled away from her face into a messy knot, but a few strands stuck limply to her forehead and neck, to the sheen of sweat that covered her skin. There was something about her fingers and wrists that looked so fragile it was scary. She was sick. Very sick."

This has all of the makings of a hit YA vampire love saga, i.e. passive story telling (was pulled, was something, was scary, was sick) and adverbs (limply). Plus it sparkles: the sheen of sweat.

If we look up the definition of sheen, we find:

- adjective: shining, beautiful
- verb (used without object): to shine
- noun: 1) luster, brightness, radiance, 2) a member of a family of actors with varying degrees of talent and success. See also: BALDWIN

And the way you made the hair stick to the sheen, it's brilliant. Personally I never would have thought something would stick to a sheen, except a monkey to Charlie Sheen's back. I would have made the hair stick to the sweat. Shows you what I know!

And the vague descriptions that don't force me to actually visualize something unpleasant. What a relief! I mean, something about her fingers and wrists that looked so fragile it was scary. That gives me goosebumps! It's a good thing neither of us can think of what it actually was, we'd really be freaked out!

And the way you told me she was sick without grossing me out with yucky images of puke, or pain in specific areas of her body. Thank you! You said she was Very sick, and because you made that its own sentence, I know you really meant it. 'Nuff said.

Can't wait to read the rest!


~Aimee States said...

That was hilariously true.

Scott said...

Ms. Scott's lawsuit is laughable. You could take passages like those from almost any two books and claim plagiarism.

The really sick thing is that if she has a book in print, it will probably get a spike in sales from the associated publicity. Perhaps that's the entire reason for the suit.

I think nearly every "big" author gets sued or accused of plagiarism from want-a-bees like Ms. Scott.

Rick Daley said...

I think the suit is BS, and I think Stephanie Meyer deserves her rewards for her work. I'm not a big fan (this probably comes as a surprise) but just because my tastes differ that doesn't mean that the tastes of others are undeserving. To each his (or her) own.

The suit against Dan Brown was BS, too.

Now I did read about plagiarism charges against Anne Coulter a while back, and from what I understand of those there were multiple passages that were the same verbatim, not similar. That's a different story. No pun intended.

On a side note, would you believe that this entire post was just an excuse to use the sheen/BALDWIN joke?

Scott said...

I would believe it!

Waiting with bated breath for today's posting on Nathan...

Davin Malasarn said...

Well, I thought the Baldwin joke was brilliant. Definitely the sheen on this post. Very sheeny.

Rick Daley said...

Davin, you comment is a shining example of why I like puns ;-)

Laura Martone said...

Although I'm not the biggest fan of Stephanie Meyer, I agree that she deserves some credit for her popularity, and I simply hate frivolous lawsuits.

That said, Rick, I'm extremely offended by your slam against the Sheens (the Baldwins might just be another story). Men at Work was the best movie ever!

Rick Daley said...


I'm not slamming the Sheen's (Estevan's included). Except for the whole "monkey" thing, but honestly, Charlie's my favorite.

Varying degrees of talent and success implies talent and success on all levels, think of it that some are greater rather than some are lesser.

Robert A Meacham said...

I agree with Scott. The lawsuit is laughable.

It is interesting to note that talent is a perception, although perceptions come in different levels of thought, as do the levels of thought with the thinker.
I don't know what I just said but who cares.

terri said...

Two words - attorney fees.

The Dan Brown antagonist got hit with several million dollars worth. I foresee the same for Ms Scott.


PS: Great post in Bransfordville, I wandered over here to check out the buffet.

Lady Glamis said...


ElanaJ said...

Ditto, Lady G. :)

Vodka Mom said...

i wish I had time to read this! I'll be back after vaca and catch up! Wanted to say hey.


Marjorie said...

That was funny about Jordan. You almost had me Googling.