1. mikeyg77
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    mikeyg77 New Member

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    Using familliar titles in a new Novel?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mikeyg77, May 22, 2013.

    Hey,

    I was wondering is it generally considered acceptable to use fairly unique names from a different franchise, in a new novel which has nothing to do with the story you're taking the name from and changing what the name refers too.

    Note: This example is not specifically the example I am using in my book. Although it perfectly illustrates the point of my question.

    Let's say for example in my book, there is a sword fighter who has a variety of special attacks is it OK to name one of them 'Khazad-Dum'.

    I mean, the use of it in the example is in no way a reference to LOTR nor is it even the name of a place.

    The example I am wanting to use in my book is 'Renzokuken' (the 'Limit Break' attack from FFVIII) but I am going to use it as the name of a place simply because I like it.

    My novel won't be filled with such references, just one or two.

    Does a fictionally created name really have a proper attachment to the story with which it originated? I'm sure fantasy staples like elves and trolls were once the creation of a single piece of work before they became standard character types.

    So what do you think?
     
  2. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    While this thread pertains particularly to names, I think it should provide you some good information: http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=62143 Your only concern, really, is copyright. Names aren't copyrighted and I suspect things like "Renzokuken" aren't either. It might also be a worthy investment of time to see if that's just a word in Japanese, in which case this will be made all the easier. :)

    Things like elves and trolls come from folklore. While they may have originated from one individual way back, it wasn't a single author who invented the concept. Some have reinvented them, of course. :)
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    double post.... :(
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think the greater question is not can but should. For argument's sake, let us assume there is no legal or copywriter issue blocking your capacity. Is the name sufficiently recognizable by the average reader you are targeting to evoke a, "Ha! I know where that's from." If the answer is yes, then ask yourself if that is an end effect you want to happen. Do you want your reader thinking about your clever name drop or about the story you've created? This is not a rhetorical question because my intent is not to preach my way to giving you an answer. It may well have a place in the overall effect you are creating in your story, I don't know this. It's something only you can answer.
     
  5. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Renzokuken is an actual word and not a made-up one. I don't know exactly how to translate it for you but someone who knows better Japanese than I do could (it has something to do with sword{ken} and renzoku means something like consecutive or multiple or repetitive or something). Therefore it is not subject to any copyright/trademark issues as it is subject to the constitutional right of free speech.
    What could get you in trouble would be if you named your character Squall Leonhart and had him perform a skill he calls "Renzokuken". The names aren't copyrighted/trademarked, but characters are copyrighted (or trademarked depending on the specific situation).
    I myself used Zanarkad (from FFX) to name a city in a novel I self-published a few years back.

    Bottom line is, you can name your characters/places whatever you want without worrying.
     
  6. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    I think the better thing to do is look to mythology for names. specifically, to mythology to which that character or place is most like. also you can create names that have a similar feel
    just some ideas Renzokuken-Yekozen,Rakesai,Hakoden, yeokenkai.
     
  7. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    Fantastic information. Thank you for sharing. :) Maybe I should have looked into this myself before responding. :D
     
  8. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    it seems like that issue's been resolved, but i have one similar to this. I started to write something, and spotted the line "Demon To Lean On" which is what i titled this. i later found out that said line is in fact an album title (by whom i dont know, im a metalhead and i didnt acquaint myself too much) would it still be possible to use it?
     
  9. Sue Almond
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    Sue Almond Member

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    I think Wreybies has a seriously good point here. I would find it distracting in a deja vu sort of way to vaguely recongnise terms 'out of context.' I think my brain would do a double take and fleeting thoughts would take my attention from the story, 'Have I already read this, it seems familiar?' 'Is this part of a series, I feel I have come across this character/place/ term before?'.....
    It might not take me long to settle back to the story and ignore the flashes of curiosity but they would occur in the same way that you can deliberately make something more credible by creating similar flashes of familiarity.
     
  10. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    You are clear to use it, titles are not copyrightable and as long as you don't identify that title as the album title you are out of the trademark issues as well (if there are any which i doubt).
     
  11. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    thanks i hope not, not that said particular storys going that far currently
     

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