1. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    What counts as a shout-out?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Morwen Edhelwen, Jun 19, 2012.

    (This is only a hypothetical example)
    I stared at her. "Where did you learn Spanish?"
    "Well," she said, "My father came from the Isle of Pines near the United States. His great-great grandparents, Robert and Marianne, were white. They were French and came there from Haiti after the revolution in a boat called the New Moon."
    OK, I know it's not very good, but would that example count as a shout-out? I assume some posters would know the operetta The New Moon. In this case the Isle of Pines is a fantasy counterpart culture of Cuba.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There is no clear definition of a "shout out" as a literary term, so you can call it that if you want.

    What, specifically, are you asking?

    A writer should be able to express himself or herself clearly.
     
  3. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    Would a reference to Robert, Marianne, and the Isle of Pines be an allusion in the same way as saying, "he was like the Scarlet Pimpernel- there was more to him than met the eye." (Robert and Marianne are the leads of The New Moon, French aristocrats who found a settlement on a Caribbean island called the Isle of Pines, which they reach on a ship called the New Moon after sailing from New Orleans.) The Isle of Pines is also the old name for Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) in Cuba, and I will admit I chose to use that name partly so I could make the reference.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm in my 70s and i grew up listening to operettas and seeing the move versions, but i'm sure very few readers who are younger and/or less semi-classical music-oriented than myself will know what the heck you're alluding to...

    i've never heard of a literary term such as a 'shout out' either...
     
  5. jigsawkid7
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    jigsawkid7 New Member

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    shout-out is just a term that is used when something pays homage to another film or novel because either it influenced something in the author's life or it was just something the author really enjoyed. i can't think of any literary examples but in film, there is a scene in the movie "paul" when a secret service agent shoots a radio and says "boring conversation anyways" - in the original star wars -harrison ford's character does the same thing. the people behind paul are very outspoken about their love for star wars - this "shout-out" is just a way of them publicly showing that.
    I guess a good literary example would be something like this:
    "Johnny took a seat in the airport while he was waiting for his associate to meet him. He picked up a copy of Millennium magazine and leafed through the pages, admiring the investigative journalism inside it."
    That would be my way of doing a shout-out to Stieg Larsson's Millennium series (the girl with the dragon tattoo, the girl who played with fire, the girl who kicked the hornet's nest) because the main characters in the novels work at the magazine Millennium. It is just something small that people who know the other work will recognize as the author's way of paying respect to them.
     
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  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    jigsawkid: The point is that it does not have a clear literary meaning. I know what a shout out is, and I'm sure Maia does also. But the question posed in the original post is too vague. Yes, the passage alludes to the named piece, but obliquely, and there is no clear definition to draw a line between is/isn't.

    So maybe it's more of a mumble out.

    A related question might be, why does it even matter?
     
  7. jigsawkid7
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    jigsawkid7 New Member

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    it matters because some one is asking.
     
  8. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I still don't understand your question, Jigsawkid. All the other posters are right -- there's no specific literary term or reason for a "shout out." Well, there is a reason -- it's kind of like an inside joke. The writer wants to give props to or allude to something. For those who don't get the reference, it doesn't distract from the plot or the flow. Those who do kind of go, 'ha ha -- I know what the writer is referencing," but it doesn't have any deep significance beyond that.
    You could attempt to do a shout out and fail if no one gets it, but if that's the case, no one should realize it was even done.

    If you're heavily alluding to the previous work, and it's important that the reader understand the alluded-to work, that's something else. That would be beyond a "shout out."

    I guess what I'm saying is a shout out isn't a goal. It's just a reference you might make, often more for amusement than anything else.
     
  9. jigsawkid7
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    jigsawkid7 New Member

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    That's a good thing seeing as I never asked one : ) I was simply replying to the first post - what counts as a shout out? I'm aware it's not a literary term, but the question was asked what counts as a shout out, so I was giving my answer didn't mean to cause confusion
     
  10. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    I'm 18. The piece is aimed at a YA target market. And yes "shout-out" is not a literary term. That reference (paying homage to The New Moon)is part of the fact that the plot is a heavy allusion to The Desert Song. I'm doing it because the plot always felt problematic to me, the idea that Arabs are primitive and need a White man to save them, as well as the idea of Arab exoticisation. (Interestingly, my Red Shadow seems to be unintentionally inspired by Raisuli, a Riff chieftain famous for his acts of banditry, especially against members of the corrupt government. (In my plans for the book, there's a corrupt Pasha who controls the northern area of the country, and the Red Shadow raids his palace and frees one of the slave dancers, who comes from his tribe. He also raids colonial officials' caravans. And the song "The Sheik of Araby" is sung once, and gets stuck in the hero's head after he hears it on the radio on an English-language station. And no, he isn't a sheik.)

    Chicagoliz, can you clarify what you mean by the phrase "heavily alluding to the previous work"? (The hypothetical passage is an example of something I might put in a project I'm working on right now, which might fit what you're talking about, if my ideas about it are correct.)
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suppose what I mean is that you need to know what you want to do with your story -- if your whole inspiration is this other story, that's fine. It can be fun later on for readers to deconstruct your story and see what pieces of this previous work influence your story. But you have to be careful-- if the average reader who isn't familiar with your "inspiration story" can't follow your story or understand why your characters do things or why certain things happen, then that's a problem.

    It sounds like you might even be talking about doing a fan-fiction type of piece.

    I think, ultimately, you're asking a different question than 'does this count as a shout-out?" There is no "counting" as a "shout-out." In the end, they're not really relevant or necessary to the story. Even an allusion to a prior work isn't necessarily vital to the story, because your story has to stand on its own.

    It's okay to do a story heavily inspired by a previous story -- it's been done many times (a recent, contemporary example that comes to mind is Wicked, based on the Wizard of Oz.)
     
  12. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    Thanks for the explanation. My plan's that the piece is a response to common Western ideas about the Middle East and North Africa (such as Arabs/Berbers as exotic noble savages, harems, the Arabian Nights, the white saviour idea, misogyny) through using The Desert Song as a starting point to explore concepts like the effects of unexpected leadership, cultural expectations and colonialism. The Red Shadow, or Anwar Kareem, is the young caid of a Bedouin tribe, part of a group of tribes referred to as Riffs after the "Rif Oasis", a fictional Saharan region miles away from large cities. Those familiar with The Desert Song will recognise the reference to the operetta, where a band of Riffs, a group of desert tribesmen, are led by "the Red Shadow", a Robin Hood-like figure.) My idea is supposed to be about how a teenaged boy copes with being chieftain of his tribe and leading caravan raids etc due to the death of his father, and how he deals with colonial thinking when he infiltrates a fort.

    ETA; Technically, Wicked is fanfiction.
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds good. Go ahead and write it. Just be careful about getting too caught up in the theme and any underlying message you want the reader to get out of it. The most important things are a good plot and good character development, so concentrate on those.
     
  14. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    Thanks, chicagoliz! ETA: Thanks to whoever deleted that post!
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'the desert song' is also unlikely to be familiar to a YA readership, so are you using that [and the 'new moon'] references only for your own amusement?... if you need to have readers 'get' them for some reason, i can't see that many, if any, will... so, if they're there just for yourself, why go to all that trouble?...
     
  16. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Although I'm unfamilar with this reference (the New Moon operetta), what you have here most certainly counts as a shout out. And as shout outs go, they are inside jokes and you have to know the orginal reference to truely understand and get the shout out so it'll go over lots of readers heads (mine included) but I'm sure the great examples of shout outs given by jigsawkid7 went over some heads as well.

    Just so I can stir the hornets nest - as far as the term shout out goes. It falls into the same category as elevator pitch or a dozen other terms that are only familiar to certain crowds. Since there is no set list of literary terms, it stands to reason that shout out could be considered a literary term. A literary term being words that are used frequently in discussion, review, criticism and classification of literary works such as stories, poetry, drama, essays...
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's the most common meaning of this term in the media...

    in film, what the op is referring to would be an 'homage'...
     
  18. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    Partly. The intention is just as chicagoliz and Amy said: if you get the references, you get them, but you don't need to know, say, where the names and basic plot come from to understand the story. The references are there to comment on the inspiration. (I'm probably the only person in my age group who listens to operettas.)
     

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