Monica Fowler (Singing_Author)
Monica Fowler
(Singing_Author)
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Larry Hewitt L.W. Hewitt
Basing your writing on ideas you have read is hardly an issue — someone once said nothing new has ever been written since Shakespeare. Researching is about location, facts, issues, detail — if your writing is your own, your conclusions and character developments are your own then its relationship to the places and things you researched are not an issue.

Using quotes is completely acceptable as long as you identify them as such and properly cite them. In one case, I paraphrased a scene from an author and not only gave a citation but wrote a paragraph about the paraphrase in a special back matter section I insert into each book for various explanations. I had tried to contact the author for explicit permission but the contact information was out of date.

They key, especially in fiction, is to write your story, not someone else's.I may choose to write a character that resembles one from another work — if so, that's because almost every characterization has been used at some time (in this case, the butler from Arthur with Dudley Moore). That's not plagiarism. 

If you have a concern, go ahead and rewrite. I agree with Jane Lee that updating is a perfectly acceptable practice. I just had to update two books because research I had on the rank of a historical military figure from WWII was incorrect, and I  called him Colonel all through two books when in fact in that time period he had been a Brigadier General. No one else found it, but it effected the manner in which the characters interacted and had to be rewritten and resubmitted. Win one for indie publishing!
Jane Lee
Definition of plagiarism (noun) - the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own. (Oxford English Dictionary)

Consequences of plagiarism — the major consequence of plagiarism is that people who engage in it hurt themselves. Good research and writing involve a host of skills: for a start, evaluating sources, taking careful notes, selecting appropriate quotations, paraphrasing, and giving credit to others for their ideas and words. Students who plagiarize may never learn these skills, and life in college and beyond can be difficult without them.

Of course people who engage in plagiarism also hurt others: for one, their classmates, and for another, the school or university they attend. At the very least, turning in plagiarized work is unfair to students who do their own work. It also jeopardizes the integrity of the grading system. And whether detected or not, plagiarism violates the implicit contract of the schoolroom: that students and teachers are working together to help students learn knowledge and skills that will enable them to fulfill their potential.

Plagiarism also undermines the whole notion of academic integrity on which the academic world is grounded. All knowledge depends on previous knowledge; as Sir Isaac Newton said, "If I have seen further [than certain other men] it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants". We want people to be able to evaluate what we say, and we want to acknowledge our debt to those whose thinking has helped us. We do so by carefully crediting others for their ideas and their words.

Plagiarism can be unintentional or intentional. The latter is taken extremely seriously. They assume that students know, or should know, how to avoid it. Students may be suspended or expelled from college for plagiarizing;  they may also have their diplomas revoked after they have graduated.

Accusations of plagiarism in one's professional life can have even more devastating consequences. People in academic and scientific communities have lost their jobs and their reputations for copying the work of others without giving credit to it. Some popular historians have recently been embroiled in plagiarism controversies and as a result have lost credibility in many academic communities. (Baylor School)

I researched the definition of plagiarism and the consequences of plagiarism  online and acknowledge the Oxford English Dictionary and Baylor School.org for all of the above. There are an array of plagiarism checkers online if you really wanted to go down that route. Not sure what you mean by general (generic) information? All information has been produced by someone, somewhere — if you are researching for your book then simply make a list of the sources i.e. books, journals, newspaper articles, etc., and add these to an appendix or bibliography at the end of the book just to be sure. If your book is published you can easily upload a revision to the printers without having to withdraw it from amazon.

I hope this has been useful? If you have any further questions don't hesitate to ask.