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  1. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Throwing brand names into your novel??

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by John Carlo, Jan 12, 2011.

    I don't know why I do this so much. But I find myself always throwing in some trendy brand-name item. I do it at least once every other chapter. I throw in things like: I-pad, Wii, Starbucks, facebook, etc... I always strive to write something I will be proud of, even twenty years later. Is it silly to worry about these things? Mind you, the items actually do serve the story well. For example: in one scene, I couldn't just say they were playing video games, but instead opted to say, "Mortal Kombat for Wii". It gave context to two goofy adults in their living room flicking their wrists about, and then one dropping to his knees in defeat when "Finish him" comes thundering through the speakers. But this is always something I'm worried about. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I like and do it too.

    The book American Psycho has a LOT of this and it was used to show the character's obsession with brand and contrast his bland interests with his murderous rage. The author could never do that as well with fake brands.
     
  3. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    If it works, then use it. So long as you don't lie about the products, I see no ethical problem.

    -Frank
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm just fine with "Mortal Kombat", but "Mortal Kombat for Wii" bothers me. I think that it's because "for Wii" seems to be offering purchasing information. :) It makes it seem ad-like.

    ChickenFreak
     
  5. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Yeah, I actually agree. I just wanted to give the reader the proper image. But you're right; I should put the Wii thing in a separate sentence. Thanks.

    And just to clarify for everyone: my fear is about writing something that will sound dated in years to come. Can throwing in trendy brand-name stuff, do that to your material? Or another way to put it: is it unlikely to write something that withstands the test of time, if you're putting in things like, "Wii" and "I-pad" and so forth?
     
  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I wouldn't do it just for the sake of it. American Psycho is the only book I can think of that has extensive use of brand names, and as was mentioned, it's very deliberate. It dates the book (it's only been 20 years and already there are brand names that I don't recognise), which isn't a bad thing if, like American Psycho, your novel is a product of a specific time. If they're not necessary, they just distract the reader pointlessly. Of course, if they're using an iPad (note the spelling...if you're going to include actual products, spell them correctly), then you'd probably need to specify that, but 'video games' is all the information the reader really needs unless the actual game is an important piece of information.
     
  7. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Noted.
     
  8. Belgoran
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    Belgoran New Member

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    It's not always bad to sound dated.

    Nostalgia's a big thing these days - if I read an old story about someone playing Super Mario Bros. on their brand new Nintendo, I get giddy.

    So you won't sound dated in 20 years, nostalgia will cover that - no guarantees for the next 80 years though!

    I like brand references in stories, when properly used. There's such a taboo about it that you rarely see it in writing. When it does pop up on the rare occasion, it starkly ties the story to the real world.

    At least that's how I experience it.
     
  9. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    "...Nostalgia's a big thing these days..."

    I don't remember where I heard it, but there's a quote that goes something like:
    Nostalgia is like sex - every generation thinks they invented it. ;)

    -Frank
     

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