Plagiarism Ticks Us Right Off. Obviously.


Wow. This hit and it hit HARD. By now most of you are familiar with the idea that a person going by the name Richard Ridyard submitted a plagiarized version of Stephen King’s “The Boogeyman” in to the magazine that I work for, Shock Totem. We immediately contacted Mr. King’s people and got the ball rolling. Then I found the post by Angel saying that the same thing was happening to up-and-coming writers, and that’s when we really started to scream. Like I was just telling somebody, stealing from the Master of Horror was despicable, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with the rest of us. Stealing from burgeoning writers is vile, but most likely nothing will ever come of it. But when the same person steals from everybody across the board, that’s when people begin to pay attention. We’re certainly focused on this issue now.

I am pleased and gratified by the public reaction. There is genuine outrage. There is solidarity, support for those whose work have been swiped, and sympathy for the publishers who have inadvertently published these plagiarized pieces.  We have vowed to be vigilant.

The world of literature is a tough field. It’s also a small field, and we need to stick together. We’re feeling that desire now. Threaten one of us and you threaten all of us. Threaten a handful of us, and feel the sharp sting of our virtual pitchforks and fiery digital justice.

At this point, many of Richard Ridyard/R. M. Valentine’s stories have been pulled down. I’d like to encourage publishers to keep a hold of his work and information in case it is necessary for future investigation. I’m being told that several people have his stories currently in their slushpiles. Also, he isn’t only targeting horror magazines, but is exploiting different genres as well. Sending King’s “The Boogeyman” to a professional horror market was stupid, yes, because it was immediately identified. But he was also sending it to fantasy markets as well. Be loud. Let people know. Apparently this “author” doesn’t discriminate based on genre. He steals from us all.

Ken Wood, the editor of Shock Totem was reading through Ridyard’s pieces, and he came across a particularly striking closing line. In fact, that line was so striking that he remembered it from when he had first read the piece…written by Aaron Polson.  Hmm, why does that name sound so familiar?  It’s because he’s a fellow blogger.  We read and comment on each other’s posts all of the time.  A link to his site is found at the bottom of this blog.  Imagine my distress at having to email Aaron and let him know that his piece had been plagiarized, too.  It can’t hit much closer to home.  Stop by his blog and hear what he has to say about it.  He shows much more restraint under duress than I believe that I would.

We ranted behind the scenes of Shock Totem for quite a long time, and then we decided to open the forums up for comment.  If you’d like to take part in this discussion, stop by and join us.  Although it is all right to be angry, please be appropriate.  Focus your anger where it belongs: on Ridyard/Valentine.  The link to that particular discussion is here. And, as always, feel free to discuss it in the comments section here, as well. My mind is still blown. Audacity, thy name is…well, actually we have no idea what they real name is. Fail.

11 Comments on “Plagiarism Ticks Us Right Off. Obviously.”

  1. Great post. I feel for the publishers and folks such as Aaron and Angel. It may come to light, in the days to come, that he has copied the works of others.

    I hope that with fresh eyes we can more easily identify RR under his new alias…

  2. Doing a quick search to try and find out more about the plagiarist, there’s a mention of a Richard Ridyard in August 2007 on the Liverpool Daily Post site (which would be his local newspaper, if indeed he does come from the Wirral, England, as cited elsewhere). If it is the same Richard Ridyard as is the subject of our disdain, it mentions he did well in GCSE exams in 2007 with 9 A* grades (top result), which make him approximately 18-19 rather than the age of 21 that’s been put about (those exams are usually taken about age 16 here in the UK, and this is presuming he took them at that age; most people do take them at that age).

  3. Despite King’s assistant being notified, it will likely not result in Ridyard being sued. Would that be worth it for King? Hardly. However, a cease and desist letter from King’s lawyer is more likely.

    That is, of course, if this cat even gave his real address. But no one has asked for that address yet, so I wouldn’t expect much. Ridyard is a pesky fly in King’s world. Easily killed but probably hardly worth the effort.

  4. This still makes me sick.

    To cut-and-paste other people’s writing, submit it to not one, not two, but dozens of markets… that is lower than bacteria.

    Has anyone figured out how many authors he’s plagiarized besides Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Aaron Polson, Angel Zapata, Deborah Biancotti, James Wood… (doesn’t this list already make your jaw fall open?)

    In addition, the now-infamous Richard Ridyard’s bio information also mentions that he is a law student. So when his real name is finally revealed, you can bet the Bar Association shall be notified.

  5. You know when I first heard this from Mercedes, I was sick. But a quick (writer’s brain here) thought popped into my mind. If it was only King’s work being stolen, it might have been King himself seeing if people caught it or even doing research for a new book. Let’s be honest, King had used the name Richard Bachman for years, and wouldn’t it be great if he was trying to do something with a new pseudonym? However, once the writer in me always trying to find a good story, stopped plotting and knew that this jerk (other names could be used, but won’t) is stealing new writers’ work it made me even SICKER… not just emotionally sick, but physically sick also. I have worked on my writing for years and to think someday some punk jerk could steal it… UGH!!! I do hope King does go after this guy, even if it’s just a cease and desist letter, that would make me happy. The Bar Association will probably rip him and new one also…

  6. I was angry enough when I thought this guy was plagiarizing famous writers. Then I read Aaron’s blog about one of his stories getting ridyardized, and I’m absolutely livid. Thanks for all your work exposing this guy.

  7. Is it too late to scream “lynch him!” I bet if he had continued with the small guys he could have gone on doing that for quite a while, too.

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