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First Time Writer with a Few Questions

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:43 am
by SchipMom
I'm working on my first book and just have a few questions:

Can you mention the name of a popular song without it being copyright infringement? The song would only be mentioned once or twice maybe and wouldn't be playing a major factor in the book...I would only be mentioning it to describe a scene in the story.

My book is set in a fictional town in Vermont. There are a few other fictional towns that will be mentioned in the book also. Is it OK to mention a REAL town in the state also...or should I just stick with making any town mentioned completely fictional? The real town would only be mentioned a few times and wouldn't be a major factor in the book.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or feedback :)

Re: First Time Writer with a Few Questions

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:56 am
by James A. Ritchie
You can use titles of songs, or anything else, all you like. Just don't quote lyrics.

Re: First Time Writer with a Few Questions

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:17 am
by pls
What James said. Also - how could you not mention real towns' names in a small state? You'd lose readers' interests pretty quickly if you renamed the state capital, for example, although it does make sense to come up with a fake name for your main setting.

Re: First Time Writer with a Few Questions

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:46 am
by mammamaia
Can you mention the name of a popular song without it being copyright infringement? The song would only be mentioned once or twice maybe and wouldn't be playing a major factor in the book...I would only be mentioning it to describe a scene in the story.

...yes, you can... as long as you only mention the title and don't quote any of the lyrics...

My book is set in a fictional town in Vermont. There are a few other fictional towns that will be mentioned in the book also. Is it OK to mention a REAL town in the state also

...yes... it's done all the time...

or should I just stick with making any town mentioned completely fictional? The real town would only be mentioned a few times and wouldn't be a major factor in the book.

...see above... it's your choice to make...

Re: First Time Writer with a Few Questions

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:36 am
by James A. Ritchie
It's fine to use a fictional town as the setting for your novel, but even a fictional town needs to be set in a real state, with real towns and landscape around it. Setting is largely what sells a novel, or a short story, for that matter. If you hometown would make a good setting, use it. You know it better than anywhere else, and you can probably bring it to life much easier.

One trick many writers use is to use their hometown, or another town they know really well, but to fictionalize it by changing the location, and renaming it, and everything in it. Even with everything renamed, the writers know the town well enough to bring it to life.

Re: First Time Writer with a Few Questions

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:18 pm
by Wombat_
Might add there are dangers to using real towns. If you get a detail wrong people will see it immediately.

hate to bring in TV, but...look at the Andy Griffith Show. Raleigh, Mount Pilate, all the surrounding towns are real. Mayberry is not.

Re: First Time Writer with a Few Questions

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:26 pm
by pls
I use a fictional name for a town based on the various locations I've lived in in Kansas. Works for me.