Who is the Bad Art Friend?

So this is about the ‘bad art friend’ story that’s going viral in author circles right now. I found out through Alexa Donne’s video:

This is the source article: NY TIMES

I just want to know your thoughts, and let’s have a civilised discussion.
What do you all think is the verdict here? How justified is taking ‘private’ group chats for discovery and making it public? Who’s in the right or wrong, according to you? And most importantly: Where would you draw the line between plagrism and inspiration?

My thoughts

I think that Dawn’s right about this being plagirism. Sure, she is needy in terms of attention and looking for gratification, but at the same time, Sonya should never have let this go as far as it does. Sure, she had every right to be inspired. But she had no right to pick that letter up and put it in the story. Sure, it’s fine in the early drafts, but one of those ‘early drafts’ got published as an audiobook. She should never had let that happen. Then there was the issue where she named the donor Dawn from the beginning.
Sonya could easily have diffused this in the start by telling Dawn that yes, she was writing a story that was inspired by her donation but played on many different themes, at least when she asked. That would’ve diffused the entire situation.
I think we’re fine using real life as inspiration - and that we must let the people who it’s inspired by know if the inspiration is significant / they ask you about it. But Dawn is, also, going to an entirely opposite end of the spectrum by straight up cyberstalking the story.
It’s a complicated issue with an evolving answer, so :woman_shrugging:

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Exactly. This is mean girls, except irl

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I think this is a case of Everyone Sucks Here.

  1. Every writer is inspired by things that happen in real life. There’s nothing wrong with that – but just like with fanfiction, you have to file off the serial numbers. Sonya was an IDIOT for ever using the name Dawn and for taking lines from that email without changing them.

  2. Dawn is clearly an irritating person who doesn’t actually know the meaning of the word altruistic. She desperately seeks attention and kudos and has a major jealousy thing going. But, she’s not wrong about being pissed at what Sonya did.

  3. I hate the idea of private DMs and such becoming public, but y’all, if it’s on the internet, it can be subpoenaed. So many BIG cases have been cracked open using internal company docs and emails. Lots of precedent there. Maybe save those snarky comments and confessions of crimes for in-person, private conversations with very close friends? Just a suggestion.

  4. And speaking of friends… How to say this? There’s a difference between friends and friendly acquaintances. There’s even a difference, I think, between friends and CLOSE friends. Think about who you’re talking to. Not every “friend” has your back.


Let’s see.

  • Dawn - Seeks validation for donating her kidney which I honestly commend her for, I would never do this for anyone
  • Sonya - Fakes being happy for Dawn before proceeding to talk smack about her behind her back with her friends, lies about copying even though there’s clear proof, gaslights Dawn and uses the race card to attempt to win her case which honesly pisses me off more than anything else she’s done since I’m personally subject to racism and it’s because of people like this that nothing ever gets done about it.

I’ll say, that Dawn’s actions never HURT anybody but Sonya on the other hand … Welp, what she did was disgusting, and honestly, I have to stand by Dawn’s cyberstalking since I’d be just as angry at the idea of having my work credited by someone else.

But eh, this is just my opinion. :woman_shrugging:

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This. This is exactly how I feel about the situation, except I hate that Sonya’s trying to use the race card to get Dawn to back off.
This is real life high school drama.

And it perfectly makes sense! I feel like Dawn is more than a little irritating about seeking validation, but Sonya was really catty about it, too. And that race card- Dammit. I’m POC too, and I feel like this doesn’t belong under the POC issues umbrella.

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So. True! i mean yes, Dawn is pretty off, and she kinda reminds me of a friend or two in primary which really got on my nerves but Sonya was waaaaaay out of line. And yes, that race card — god that hurt and I’m just a bystander lol. It definitely doesn’t even go near the POC issues umbrella, and having it used like that undermines pretty much everything POC have been working for.

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I saw this article in the NYTimes last week and didn’t realize it had made its rounds in the Writerverse. What a wild ride.

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“Race card” gets used anywhere people can make it stick, when they are selifsh jerks. It degrades issues that are genuinely about race and eventually gets people quit caring.

It’s majorly desensitizing. And you don’t want people desensitized.

There’s enough gray areas: where the individual may not be doing something over racial issues, but statistically it is very often one. (Just situations where we have to pay attention to individual variables before making conclusions.) We are going to have enough heated debates over those situations.

It’s just difficult to call these things out, especially since we tend to wonder about people’s motivations.

Put it this way: I’m mostly white, and if I happened to point that out for this and a half a dozen conversations more, sooner or later people will wonder why I notice it.


But really, I’m still stuck at “yeesh!” I want nothing to do with either woman in this.


Reasons to never have writer friends: Item 1


Comedians are worse. You become a punchline.


Woah. First of all, it needs to be said…



Secondly…timely! Right now I’m in the planning stages for my next book, which will be a fictionalized account of the Isla Vista killings. Is it going to be based on real life incels and the crap they say in the manosphere? Yup! But am I going to use their exact posts word for word? Hell no. I admit I sometimes copy and paste a quote to my computer just so I can figure out how to reword it, but I’d never use as much of it as Larson did. I don’t care how perfect the original is, it can always be changed and improved until it’s unrecognizable. ( ^◡^)っ✂


I must agree.

Also, if you have the chance, I think you may also be interested in the case of The Monster with 21 Faces. It’s the Japanese equivalent to the Tylenol tamperings that happened in Philly.


Oooh, I never heard of it but I’ll check it out! ( ˆ◡ˆ)۶ ٩(˘◡˘ )


It’s huge.

Ugh ikr. And that sucks when actual POC issues come up.

Exactly! But is shouldn’t be! It’s just equal rights for all humans- whether that’s based on race or gender or sexuality. Ugh.

That is so true. The race card goes both ways - it’s even treated as a sword against white and whenever someone mentions that, it’s racist. It’s just a simple issue - all humans are humans. Period.


I love this!

THIS. This is the rule for using inspo vs plagirism. And 100% agree.

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I didn’t realize that the dude was part Malaysian Chinese. More is made over his being an British immigrant to the US.


I didn’t know he was Malaysian Chinese either! I’ll have to read the Wikipedia page on him and refresh my memory. I too remember him being an English expat or something. It’s the misogyny and the patriarchal attitude that fascinates me. The idea that men–lots of men! in this era truly believe that women were put on Earth to be their servants and sex toys is just mind blowing. ヽ(゚Д゚)ノ

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While I know of no Asian culture that goes that far (and any group can have a subculture like that pop up), dad’s 2nd wife (mom died a few years back) is Phillippino, and I know that she comes from a far more conservative view of relationships than most Americans. Divorce is costly, marriage is for life. Wonder if a culture clash pushed him into thinking far worse about women than he was raised to. Considering his mixed ancestry, it’s all the more noticeable that he hated interracial couples.

But I really don’t want to read his manifesto.


Me either. It’s probably Elliot Roger level nonsense.

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