Welcome! Please sit down, make yourself comfortable, and have a brownie or three...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Using Pop Culture In Your Manuscript? Read This.

Blarrrrrrghh...errrumph..gahhrrrg...

I'm sick today, and that's what I feel like. No temperature, but my throat's on fire and I've got an achy body.

Okay, enough whining.

I see pop culture references quite a bit when reading books and beta reading for people. Most of the time, they're harmless, but earlier in the week, a very reputable agent tweeted the following:

Writers querying fan fiction or novels using well-known pop culture characters - please Google the phrase "intellectual property law."

So, if you're planning on having Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga or Tim Tebow make an appearance in your novel, consider yourself warned. Same goes for song lyrics. I'm pretty sure things like Coca-Cola and Scrabble and Sour Patch Kids are fair game, but you might want to check :)

Have a great weekend!

Oh, and if you happened to miss out on Stephen Colbert's interview with Maurice Sendak (author of Where the Wild Things Are) regarding the state of children's literature, it's awesome. Maurice Sendak reminds me of my grandmother~ which tells you a thing or two about my grandmother :)

Colbert-Sendak interview, Part 1

PS~ Blogger has a reply button now, so I'll be replying to comments here, instead of emailing folks :)

56 comments:

  1. Hey Jess, Hope you feel better soon!
    There's always too many bugs going around this time of year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hope you feel better. Left you an award on my blog because you are awesome! =) Oh, and good luck on your requests from those pitch contests! Keeping fingers and toes crossed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Find a snuggly blankie, a hot cuppa something, and watch some great movies. For some reason, when I am really ill, I watch the PBS series, Ken Burn's Civil War. Got to be a Freudian thing.

    Regarding the intellectual Property law. I would love to quote lines from books but the blurb in the front always stops me.
    The '...no part of this book may be reproduced...in any form...without permission...'
    *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here~ one of my WIPs back in the day had song lyrics and book quotes too, until I realized that was a no-no.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the heads up on the "intellectual property law" thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure thing! Love the addition to your screen name :)

      Delete
  5. Sorry to hear you're sick. Get better soon. Spring's a comin'! (please)

    Haha to say nothing about some of Colbert's comments about the presidential candidates. Ouch

    ReplyDelete
  6. I started the month out sick...not fun! Hope you feel better soon, and enjoy your weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hope you're feeling better soon. I'll definitely google this. Thanks for the heads up!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Being sick sucks, hope you get to feeling better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully it'll just last the weekend :)

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Thanks, Loree. It wouldn't be that bad, but I have a work reunion to go to tomorrow that includes all day meetings and schmoozing :(

      Delete
  10. Sorry you're not feeling well, Jess. Get well soon!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Don't you love that reply thing??I think it's cool!

    I find it amazing that anyone actually thought they could query fan fiction!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the reply button is awesome.

      Delete
  12. Some celebrities may be fine with it, after all, it's free publicity, and I hate the thought of writers being so paranoid they're afraid to use artistic license, but I do know that Disney absolutely will not let its name or any of its products be reproduced anywhere without permission.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, Karen~ I've heard that Disney is pretty much a locked vault :)

      Delete
  13. Feel better! It's a tricky thing when you're writing anything contemporary -- on one hand, the odd brand name can really plant you in a time and place. On the other, it can be so much more trouble than it's worth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree~a lot of things are fair game, though. I was reading Hush, Hush last night and they mention Victoria's Secret--free advertising for them! :)

      Delete
  14. I used to come across that a lot, too, when I was teaching, especially the song lyrics. Another good reason not to use song lyrics is that people don't like the same music. Something that may seem romantic to the writer might be an irritating song to the reader. Hope you get well soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent point on the song lyrics~ the feelings they invoke are so subjective :)

      Delete
  15. awww! feel better soon!
    yes- intellectual property rights are super scary and super complicated.
    man, i need to watch that maurice sendak thingy...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I get a little paranoid about it and try not to mention pop culture stuff at all~ it's tough with contemporary, though :)

      Delete
  16. For some reason, a number of wannabe authors want to put lines from pop songs in their novels. They see this done in TV shows and movies, so they think they can do the same. But those production companies had to get permission (pay through the nose to do so). When you watch the credits at the end of a movie with a contemporary setting, you might note how many music credits scroll by. Every one of those means that the production company paid to use even a snippet of a song.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, Mark. So true! I don't have that kind of cash on-hand, so I tend to avoid the incorporation of pop songs in my projects :)

      Delete
  17. Ooh, duly noted. I avoid pop culture references anyway so I don't date my novels, but this is still important. Thanks Jess and FEEL BETTER SOON!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very true~ dating novels can be deadly in this business, when it can be years before your novel is published!

      Delete
  18. Thanks for the reminder! I tend to avoid them as well, or make up references to get the point across without falling into the intellectual property trap (and dating myself).

    -Vicki

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly what I aim to do as well :)

      Delete
  19. good to know. Thanks for the tip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can thank Sarah LaPolla of Curtis Brown, Ltd.~ it's her tip :)

      Delete
  20. Helpful Jess--and I hope you are feeling better. Having little kids around for the last decade has made me a pop culture idiot--I mean unless the question relates to cartoons or Disney movies.

    Sorry that I have not commented in awhile, but I was having trouble getting my less-than-super laptop to cooperate and load your pages properly. Oh well, works fine today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to look up how to spell, "Bieber," so you're not the only one behind on the times :) No worries on the comments~ thanks for continuing to try!

      Delete
  21. Hope you are feeling much better. Good tip!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yay! I have tried to post a few times on your blog and kept getting a blank page. I'm so glad the previous one worked. Just had to let you know I tried :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I had one novel in which I used lyrics from an Aerosmith song. I figured I'd worry about getting permission to use it if the book was ever published. In the end (after realizing how much the band would charge me to use the lyrics), I wrote my own.

    Hope you feel better soon, Jess!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice! I bet yours were just as good :)

      Delete
  24. I will definitely check out that interview! And now you simply must give more deets about your Grandmother!

    ReplyDelete