Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 12:38pm

   I encourage the citation of other examples. I have been most curious about this for sometime. My example is taken from the works of Bret Easton Ellis. The conversation twixt Clay and his mother which appears on pages 18 and 19 of Less Than Zero is nearly identical to the conversation Patrick Bateman has with his mother on pages 365 and 366 of American Psycho. Almost identical.

   He does this again. On page 58 of Less Than Zero he describes an exchange between Blair and Clay which includes an action involving a stuffed cat. This same exchange is loosely reworked on page 360 of American Psycho with the inclusion of the cat. I will admit he expands on this particular exchange in AP.

   Strong similarities exist in the language used to describe the murder in Palm Springs, the body in the alley and the kidnapping and assault of the girl in LTZ, and that used in discussing the victims as well as crimes depicted in AM.

   My questions are why would an author choose to do this? How did these similarities pass without criticism from an editor and find their way into print? What do you feel this says about the writer, if anything? I enjoy the man's work (I seriously view American Psycho as one of the great American novels) yet I can find few scenarios to justify this ... laziness?

   What do you think?

.'s picture
. December 14, 2011 - 2:17pm

I was wondering about that too but nobody has ever said anything. This has struck me as strange. My theory is that it is part of his style. Recurring characters, structure, etc. 

I agree though, it does feel kind of lazy.

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 14, 2011 - 2:42pm

Smart people recycle. It's easier than trying to knock it out of the park every time. The average reader won't care and other artists should be sympathetic, given how hard doing this shit is.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 2:43pm

 I realize he uses some of the same characters in his novels, yet this seems too specific to be attributed to style. I thought perhaps he felt them better utilized in American Psycho, though his decision to use them virtually unchanged still seems lazy or disrespectful to the reader (that felt silly to type). I am most curious as to what an editor must have thought.

.'s picture
. December 14, 2011 - 2:48pm

I think once you have an established editor and you're making him money, you can almost get away with murder with them. At least until they drop you when the shit hits the fan.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 2:49pm

 

   mutterhals, I could not disagree with you more.

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 14, 2011 - 2:51pm

OK then, I take it you don't do that?

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 2:53pm

 

   To date no. I certainly would not be so blatant about it if I did.

.'s picture
. December 14, 2011 - 2:54pm

I think every writer does it to some extent. Themes, character traits, etc. But it's not often that they copy exact scenes and change the characters and setting. That is plagiarizing yourself. 

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 2:56pm

 

   To clarify, we are not talking about themes here. We are talking about full sections of dialogue and actions reproduced nearly verbatim.

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 14, 2011 - 2:58pm

I don't know, I think it's an inconsequential gripe because I can identify. The actual craft of writing a novel is way hard than you think before you start doing it. I think it's like building anything else, sometimes you take short cuts. That seems like a BEE short cut. I'm not trying to play apologist, I'm just a huge fan of his and by virtue of that noticed the same thing, I just came to a different conclusion. 

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 2:58pm

 Ha! Plagiarizing yourself. Well stated.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:00pm

 

   I am glad you are not an architect sir.

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 14, 2011 - 3:02pm

Well, I guess I'm glad you're not a writer, in that case.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:03pm

 

  I am glad I am not that kind of writer.

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 14, 2011 - 3:05pm

You mean a best selling one? I'm not trying to be rude, but I felt like I just got slapped by a glove. Also, I've been drinking since three. And lastly, I'm a woman, I think you called me sir earlier. I realize my picture is misleading, that's famed serial killer Ed Kemper in an xmas hat.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:08pm

 

   No slap intended. Yet. We obviously have different views on what is acceptable. Drinking in the presence of the quik witted can be ... confusing.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:08pm

Well, Stephen King has been repeating himself for years and people are okay with it. Dean Koontz and other mainstream authors do the same formula over and over. As for exact scenes, I dunno. Once you are famous you can do whatever you want. I always tell people if I get famous I will have a book burning and signing so everyone has to buy two copies of the book, one to burn and one to keep.

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 14, 2011 - 3:08pm

I drink in the presence of myself all the time, it's no big deal.

.'s picture
. December 14, 2011 - 3:09pm

Breakfast of champions. Since this thread is about Ellis, I resent that he made Imperial Bedrooms. I haven't read it yet but I hate that he wrote a sequel to an amazing first novel. It isn't as bad as lifting a scene but still...it feels like he lifted a BOOK. I haven't read Glamorama either, it doesn't sound appealing but I will get around to it eventually. I did enjoy The Informers and Lunar Park though despite a lot of negative reviews from readers. Then again I have a man-crush on BEE so I might just be slightly bias. 

.'s picture
. December 14, 2011 - 3:12pm

Koontz is...well he's Koontz. Haven't read him. King makes me angry for doing that but then again, he writes a million novels a year anyway so it's bound to happen. I haven't read John Grisham either but I think could be said about him...or hell, even Nicholas Sparks.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:13pm

There are great orgy scenes in Glamorama. Imperial Bedrooms was okay. I think BEE is a little overrated but Lunar Park is all about plagarizing one's self, he makes his life fiction so complaining about two random scenes seems a little petty.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:13pm

 

   Breakfast Of Champions?

   This is not exclusively about BEE. I agree with your comment on writing sequels.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:16pm

 

   I do not feel I am complaining necessarily, as much as I am polling to see what sort of consensus forms. I admit it left an impression, one that borders on the negative.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:16pm

Mick, you seem like a Harlan Ellison type of writer, the kind who would throw punches over a literature debate. I love it. I'm writing a story right now about pretentious writers who take themselves too seriously.

.'s picture
. December 14, 2011 - 3:17pm

Drinking for breakfast. 

I think plagiarizing your life is different than plagiarizing your work though. At least his life is only written once. it's like a mock autobiography in my opinion.

@Mutterhals Nice avatar. I used to have ted bundy's court room picture as my avatar on the Cult.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:19pm

 

  Me pretentious? A bit early for that diagnosis, yes? I would absolutely throw a punch. Again, I opened this thread to observe reactions.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:19pm

I am going to put John Wayne Gacy up in here if y'all don't behave lol

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 14, 2011 - 3:22pm

Thanks, have you ever seen Dear Mr. Gacy? Good shit. This is directed to the person who said they liked my avatar, you guys need a reply button.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:21pm

I didn't say you were pretentious, you inferred it. What's your favorite Harlan Ellison story?

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:23pm

  Perhaps.

  The Beast That Shouted Love At The Heart Of The World

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:23pm

@mutter--good painter, extreme sociopath. I find him to be one of the worst serial killers, there is a special place in hell for those who take children's innocence.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:24pm

I like I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and a boy and his dog.

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 14, 2011 - 3:25pm

@alien

Yeah, I don't like pedos, although my second favorite serial killer is Myra Hindley, because she took such an awesome mug shot.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:26pm

 

   I have said it before, he is a misanthrope's misanthrope.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:28pm

He wrote some of the original Twilight Zones too. Love that shit.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 14, 2011 - 3:32pm

 

   Actually they were Outer Limits episodes, Soilder and Demon With The Glass Hand. The Twilight Zone episodes were circa the eighties.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 14, 2011 - 3:41pm

I have this graphic novel they did recently of one of his works about an Amish community that tells everyone what to do through the voice of God in a machine but it turns out they are in outer space in these historically preserved cities that were meant to replicate different periods in human history. It was really odd.

.'s picture
. December 14, 2011 - 4:42pm

Feather head or something.

EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff December 14, 2011 - 6:48pm

@mutterhals-my brother uses the moniker edkemper at places like The Velvet and twitter. So that's kinda cool you use him as your avatar. My brother isn't on here though yet.

As far as the thread debate I've never noticed full scenes re-used before in any of my favorite books. Haven't read BEE yet. Seen the same characters, themes, etc, but not scenes.

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound December 14, 2011 - 9:26pm

The only thing that annoyed me about BEE, after reading 4 of his books in quick succession, is that I remember him using the phrase "and a wave of ______ washe(s or d) over me." Kinda bothered me, but nonetheless didn't stop me enjoying it.

.'s picture
. December 14, 2011 - 9:43pm

I don't want you to get drunk, but thats a very expensive chardonnay you're not drinking.

Nighty Nite's picture
Nighty Nite from NJ is reading Grimscribe: His Lives and Works December 15, 2011 - 12:01am

I assumed B.E.E. was doing these 'mirror' scenes intentionally. It's kind of a cool thing to discover if you've read all his novels. I would hardly call it laziness.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts December 15, 2011 - 4:54am

He's a hack.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 15, 2011 - 5:13am

  Is that an honest opinion Ren (you could be laying a trap)? You would be one of the few to offer comments which did not approach that of an apologist.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts December 15, 2011 - 5:15am

Mildly facetious, but generally yeah, it's hack job, artistic convenience. I don't dislike hack writers.

 

To everyone: My previous muckraking comment aside, it's a little fucking tiresome to see heated debates lead to personal jibes on here. If you can't argue your point without calling someone a pussy, give up and go back to the frat house. If you're a writer here to workshop or promote, the site is a decent percentage of your audience. It would be preferable for them to not think you were a prick.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 15, 2011 - 5:17am

 

   I agree wholeheartedly.

mutterhals's picture
mutterhals from Pittsburgh December 15, 2011 - 5:43am

I'm guessing that 'pussy' comment was directed at me, although I have no fucking idea because the site is sorely lacking a reply button. I'm not a sensitive person, I don't treat others delicately, and I don't believe I called anyone a pussy. I would rather someone say something to me directly than come off with a lot of little snide asides and what not, which too many writers do, in my opinion. I have no hard feelings against this Mick guy and I would hope he doesn't have any against me. Thanks for playing.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 15, 2011 - 5:58am

   The Mick guy has no issues.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters December 15, 2011 - 6:23am

"The Mick guy has no issues."

I can't quit laughing about this  For so many reasons. 

 

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 15, 2011 - 6:24am

 I would be curious to read a few of those reasons.