Ghostwriting and Algorithms

If you keep up with the publishing world or even just occasionally peek at twitter you will have seen #copypastecris trending. An author by the name of Cristiane Serruya has recently been accused of plagiarism and readers everywhere are using that hashtag to tweet about the various novels Serruya allegedly stole from. While I do not recall reading anything by Serruya, I did recognize a few of the authors on the list. You can see some of the novels here.

Upon discovery, the best-selling author has since blamed the ghostwriter(s) she hired and pulled all books in which she used that company’s assistance. Rumour has it that one of Serruya’s novels had been up for the Romance Writers of America RITA award, but is now withdrawn because of the pending investigation.

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Book Review: Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

goodnightTweethearCover: The cover is what caught my eye in the bookstore. It may be just a regular park scene with a couple on a bench, but it uses photography’s “rule of thirds” to give it a balanced and attractive composition. It also helps there is a cute little floating heart hinting towards its tweet-factor to make it a little more special.

Format: This is the epistolary novel of the 21st Century –the tweet. While this book mostly consists of regular prose, it also includes the messages the main characters send each other via Twitter. When I first noticed this peccadillo I thought it would be annoying to read, but in the end it was hardly noticeable and was no different than reading a play or even regular conversational prose.

Writing Style: While the prose isn’t anything spectacular, it does set the scene for the Twitter messages the main characters exchange. These tweets are very conversational, but filled with witty banter. There are also a lot of references to television shows to music to movies to books, and if you’re lucky you will recognize at least half of them!

Location: The majority of the story takes place in a renovated hotel-to-apartments in New York near Central Park as the main character tends to stay in her apartment with brief forays into the city. Her romantic interest is travelling the world, and takes her with him… if only vicariously through the Internet.

Hook: It’s a regular romance built on tweets and lies…

Plot: To be honest, there is nothing terribly special about the story line and yet it is such a satisfying read. It is the basic boy meets girl with their “meet-cute” being via Twitter, then boy loses girl because of his secret. Girl eventually forgives boy so they can work out their differences. Underneath the surface of this banality, the reader is able to feel a deeper meaning and can connect in some way with the tale.

Character: Margo is Abby’s “obligatory sassy but wise African-American best friend”. She is a bit flat, with very little development, and thus doesn’t garner too much attention. Margo is amusing when present and always supportive, but never steals any focus from the protagonist.

Personal Thoughts: While one reviewer said it was “timeless”, it really is entrenched in our time. With all the pop culture references and the tweeting it seems very 21st Century, thus making it a perfect depiction of North America as we know it.

Quote: Twitter is the perpetual cocktail party where everyone is talking at once but nobody is saying anything.

The Verdict: I bought the book on a whim that I regretted before I opened the pages… but once I started reading the novel I couldn’t stop. The story was surprisingly refreshing, possibly due to it’s Twitter-like formatting. I would actually recommend this as something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to read on the public transpo. I really think I just might read it again some day.

Waiting on Wednesday (Feb-4)

“Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

It is never to late to learn new things, even if it is something you may already use every single day. I decided to brush up on the latest techniques in regards to social media marketing and blogging –things I use for work, this site, and for myself– to see if there was anything I could be doing better, easier, or differently. Because of that, I put myself on the reserve list at the library for the following books:

Social Media Marketing for Dummies
Blogging for Dummies