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Toward Better Plagiarism

In the wake of the two recent plagiarism scandals (Kaavya Viswanathan, at Harvard, and William Swanson, at Raytheon), The Morning News has announced its “Sloppy Seconds With Opal Mehta” Contest:

[W]e wondered not “why does anyone plagiarize,” but “why aren’t more people better at plagiarizing?” And so we are launching a contest to see if there is a “writer” out there who can create a coherent and original piece of fiction completely made from the works of others.

The Rules:

—You are limited to 750 of somebody else’s words; none of those words may be your own.
—All material must be cited (author, work, page number). This is the only part where you have to be honest; unlike professional publishers, we’re actually going to check.
—You must plagiarize from a minimum of five different books by as many authors as you wish. The only demand we make is that those books were published at some point, somewhere.
—You must lift only phrases, whole sentences, or passages. No single-word citations allowed.

All entries must be received by midnight on Friday, May 12, or by the time we check our email on Saturday morning, whichever comes later.

Entries will be judged on the creative use of their source material as well as the excellence of the finished story. The winner of the TMN “Sloppy Seconds With Opal Mehta” Contest will have his or her story published on The Morning News, and will also receive a TMN T-shirt and mug to remind them of this, the moment ethics in writing died.

Send all entries to (paste your story into the body of the email—no attachments, please), and good luck!

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