A group of longtime readers mentioned there was a hobbyist* who penned a one-off very similar to “Harlot” featuring only the Bishop character.

I wasn’t familiar with this writer or her work so the readers sent me the link to the story.

Sure enough, it was nearly the same however, the story deviates on points of denomination and moniker: Catholic/Baptist and Bishop/Pastor respectively.

Most writers accept that no one holds the monopoly on plots, themes, and character professions. It’s all creativity and story lines are bound to overlap and intersect.

Problems arise when our fine honed characters and prose are blatantly taken.

As asking is more professional than accusing, I approached the writer privately (as is my way) and asked her to explain her story. Her response infuriates swathes of writers: Fanfiction.

Fanfiction isn’t copying someone’s work verbatim, only changing minor bits here and there. That’s stealing**.

As much as it pisses us off, we realize there are hobbyists who don’t understand the definition of fanfiction which strangely curbs our initial bloodlust.

In the end, there wasn’t a big stink. The writer sincerely apologized and removed the story. Since then, we correspond daily (both lit and personal related) and the matter is closed.

I thank the readers who brought this to my attention. You folks are the best - always on the lookout!


*Only publishes free works online
** In an effort to preserve my nerves, I won’t dive into that topic today.