1. VoxNocturne
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    VoxNocturne New Member

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    pop culture in novels

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by VoxNocturne, Feb 17, 2013.

    How does use of pop culture in writing work when looking to publish? If I have a character rant about Twilight saga books or make a joke about adopting more kids and Angelina Jolie do I have to really worry about anything?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, you do... such references date the work, to begin with... and they may not be 'gotten' by many readers...
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    OTOH, some writers will occasionally want to place their work in a specific time frame, in which case popular cultural references may help. But if you do, you will need to make sure that the references are broad enough to be meaningful to a wide group of readers.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ed is exactly right -- it depends on whether you want the story to specifically reflect a very particular time/year or whether you'd prefer to make it more of a "timeless" story -- or one that just takes place generally in, for example, the early 21st Century. I'd say at this point even a rant about the Twilight books is a little stale -- although they're still well known, I'd say they're past their peak, and people aren't thinking about them as much as they were a few years ago. Even the Angelina Jolie reference is a bit old -- she hasn't adopted any children in the last few years, and in any event, you might want to re-think the statement about her adopting children, as it is offensive to many people (unless you want the character to be offensive, in which case you could use it to show that type of character trait.)
     
  5. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    By the type of examples used, it seems like the OP is asking more about whether it's okay to make a negative pop culture reference in their novel, rather than just the general usage of them. If this is the case, then it is important to be careful what you say - especially if you're looking to be the next JK Rowling.
     
  6. VoxNocturne
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    VoxNocturne New Member

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    Thanks,
    I left the interpretation of what I wanted to create wide open and chose over used items purposefully. I like to write and share my stories with friends but published works are a new beast to me. I understand topics in pop culture cycle in the form of themes more than in exact replication.

    I do have another question. With the shift in what teens are required to read in school now start to date books that reference the old "classics" previous generations were forced to read? Local school here are using Hunger Games to teach.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, i can't make out what the question is... did you mean to type 'will' instead of 'with'?

    where is 'here'?... and what are they using it to teach?... i certainly hope it's not an english class, unless they're using it as an example of bad writing!
     
  8. IzzGidget
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    IzzGidget New Member

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    I think it depends how you are using them, personally. If you're writing from your character's POV and the reference is related to something he or she is interested in, then it makes perfect sense to put it in there. Two great uses of pop-culture references I can think of are 'Ready, Player One' by Ernest Cline and 'The Dresden Files' by Jim Butcher. You always run the risk of dating your text or the reference going over the reader's head, but sometimes an obscure reference can be like a private joke between you and those few who get it.
     

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