Category Archives: writing

Melania Trump’s speech was it really plagiarism? Motivational speakers that Michelle Obama used


When Melania Trump used ‘some of the words’ in Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008. The internet, haters, news media, everyone went crazy.   We can see Melania used some phrases, they are the same.

But was it really Plagiarism? Or a big etiquette, Oooops?

In 2008,  I wondered about the sound of Michelle Obama’s speech.  Parts sounded very staged and  filled with motivational quotes. Quotes that ended up being sent around the Internet  and became attributed to her and her alone.  Quoted soooo many times.

Go ahead, do a Google search on ‘Michelle Obama quotes’

Google search on Michelle Obama quotes
Google search on Michelle Obama quotes

Was this a plagiarism fiasco? I decided to pick it apart. My all time favorite thing to do.  {Wink-wink}

First I need to get on my soapbox and say,- I am not for plagiarism, nor am I for censorship. Both are equally offensive.

Now, let’s get on with it.

I was impressed by Mrs. Obama’s use of motivational quotes that were then attributed to her. We all know that speechwriters write political speeches.

They do right…  Well, maybe not this last year’s worth of Donald Trump’s speeches. For me, I found those hilarious. He spoke from the hip – to be clearer- he said what he wanted to say. And ‘if’ he had a speechwriter,  the poor guy (man or woman {SMILE})  probably had a heart attack trying to keep ‘The Donald’ in line.


Great speech in 2008, Mrs. Obama!  Equal kudos to, Melaina Trump for 2016 for her speech. {Smooch!}

Let’s get down to business. I only used Michelle Obama’s piece, to be fair, I posted the same section of  Melania’s speech at the end.   Melaina’s writer accepted responsibility for the plagiarism in her speech. We can all agree,  it should have been edited better.  And  a big wave should have been sent out to  Michelle, and we all know that wasn’t done. Well, not right away.

Emily Post would have agreed that this was bad etiquette.

I pulled the words out and found the quotes.

Here is part of Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008:

“….And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond (1)and (2 & 3)you do what you say you’re going to do; that you (6)treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation – (*) to know that the only limit to the (4)height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your (5)willingness to work for them.”~Michelle Obama

(1) “Your word is your bond.” ~Melvyn Douglas

(2)“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”~ C.G. Jung

(3) The number one, most important, get-this-or-fail short lesson for both work and business: Do what you say you are going to do, when you said you where going to do it, in the way you said you were going to do it.~ Larry Winget

(*sound like) “Success is measured in terms of reaching your goals, dreams, and expectations. Your success is determined by hard work, persistence, and determination. If you are going to be a success in life, it is up to you… it is your responsibility.” ~ Will Horton

(4)The height of your accomplishments will equal the depth of your convictions.~ William F. Scolavino

(5) How do you go from where you are to where you wanna be? And I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal. And you have to be willing to work for it. ~Jim Valvano

(6)“There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.” ~ Nathaniel Branden

(*)“The only real limitation on your abilities is the level of your desires. If you want it badly enough, there are no limits on what you can achieve.”~ Brian Tracy

Here you go, the same piece from Melania Trump’s 2016 speech.

“My parents impressed on me the values: that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect. They taught me to show the values and morals in my daily life. That is the lesson that I continue to pass along to our son.

And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. [Cheering] Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”~ Melania Trump

What do you think?

Michelle Obama’s full speech 

Lesson 11 ‘Writing Dialogue, James Patterson’s Masterclass

Lesson 11 ‘Writing Dialogue, Friday’s with James Patterson’s Masterclass

James Patterson's Masterclass
James Patterson’s Masterclass

“All of your key interchanges with your characters, I mean, they gonna be good, bad or indifferent just because of the dialogue. And how they talk to each other it is gonna reveal who they are. Who’s smarter, who’s taking advantage of who? Who’s lying? Who’s telling the truth? Who’s in charge? And who’s really in charge”. ~James Patterson

Mr. Patterson used Lush Life by Richard Price,  his example of  what great dialogue can sound like. I have that book. I need to sit down with it, read and learn, pull the dialogue apart , examine its details. And figure out its ‘hows and whys’ .  This is definitely the type of dialogue that I would love to write.

Here are a few lines from, page 6 of Lush Life.

“What do we got…”

“Two males in the front.”

“What do we got…”

“Neon trim on the plate.”

“Tinted windows.”

“Right rear taillight.”

“Front passenger just stuffed something under the seat.”

No dialogue tags. Just fast paced dialogue. Short, tight writing. It moves along. In just these seven lines I can feel and see the movement as the cops check out the car they stopped. I felt like I walked around that car.

My thoughts on this: check out your favorite authors and see how they write their dialogue. Read it out loud. Get the feel for it. Then ask yourself if you learned anything new about that character from their dialogue. Where did the author take you in this dialogue?

James Patterson doesn’t write realism. His dialogue is heightened – but it feels real. Without being ‘literally’ real dialogue. Because real dialogue is boring…

Listen to how people speak when you are in the store, at work, on the bus.

This class has a comments section, where you can post your lesson and a video critique by James on his office hour’s page where he will answer questions.

Enroll by clicking the link on the upper left sidebar.