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  1. #1
    DaBlaRR
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    Realism in fiction

    How real do you have to be when you are speaking of fictitious circumstances.

    I'm usually pretty damn real in that environment. For example, making every day month and year nailed down in the year I speak about etc.

    But, there is a point in my story where I have a perfect song, a lullaby. That a mother sings to her baby. It fits perfect, but timing isn't perfect.

    The lullaby was written by a band in the late nineties, but the situation takes place in the early 80's.

    It's not a very well known song. But bottom line, the lullaby was only made late nineties.

    So, if there is no reference to the creators of this lullaby and since it's fiction, can I get away with using it?

    I'm not asking about the legalities. Just rules of fiction.



  2. #2
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Meh, no biggie. I use a historical character in a book of mine, and I fudge facts all the time. I have him dying on a Spring morning when in reality he died on a Spring evening. I made up stories about him which are in keeping with what people know about him generally, but aren't true.

    However, I might consider getting some kind of permission from the band or their agent to use their lyrics.

  3. #3
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be able to do it, personally. I'd need to know my story was accurate.

    I also agree with John, be sure you don't break any legal boundaries.

  4. #4
    DaBlaRR
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    Thanks guys.

    Tough call.

    So John and Wickett. Which one of you are the better writers? haha.
    Last edited by DaBlaRR; 04-29-2015 at 04:19 PM.

  5. #5
    Rogue Mutt
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    Maybe your character's mother made up the lullaby and the band stole it. But traditionally if you're using the lyrics from a copyrighted song you need to get permission.

  6. #6
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBlaRR View Post
    Thanks guys.

    Tough call.

    So John and Wickett. Which one of you are the better writers? haha.
    John, no comparison.

  7. #7
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    Personally, I'd question the need to include more than a line or so of the lyrics, if at all. They don't move the plot, and the child isn't focused on the words, only the soothing sound. Remember, the reader can't hear how you hear it in your head, they have only what the words suggest to them. And suppose the reader knows the song and hates it?

    As I see it, better to create the mood, and make the reader know what the lyrics are doing to/for the mother, so they can share that emotion in real-time.

  8. #8
    Junior Member david-ovsky's Avatar
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    The difference between 80s and 90s culture is not so great, so probably not worth worrying about. But it depends how well-known the song is and serious your piece is. If it's intended to bear serious analysis, then anachronisms like this, if spotted, will lose you points.

    As to using lyrics - I hear publishers are particularly touchy about it - you need to get permission even to use a single line.

  9. #9
    DaBlaRR
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    Good point Jay. It was only a couple lines and actually I thought about the fact you mentioned about the reader not hearing it as I do. But the words were very fitting for the situation.

    Thanks David for the input David. I am probably pushing towards eliminating it. In the mean time, I will leave it there, until I figure out another way to portray what I am trying to portray.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=DaBlaRR;1359128]Good point Jay. It was only a couple lines and actually I thought about the fact you mentioned about the reader not hearing it as I do. But the words were very fitting for the situation. QUOTE]

    You're a writer and it is your story. Maybe you can come up with a lullaby of your own that is even more fitting. There are no rules that say you have to use existing songs.

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