Wednesday evening, 63° and clear
Listening to My Morning Jacket, Grab a Body
This morning my daughter Charlotte, who is away studying agriculture at Michigan State University, texted some images to me. She’s currently reading State of Love & Trust and was inspired to draw this story’s characters. This got me thinking about the keys I use when describing fictional characters.
A little backstory: I have always written, and Charlotte has always drawn. I still have the first person she ever drew, which looked like a smiling potato with stick arms and legs. That was pretty impressive detail for a two-year-old.
Throughout much her childhood I’ve been working on one novel or another, and the roots of State of Love & Trust go back to when she was still in elementary school. She always asked if she could read my story, and I always said yes … when you’re 18. But as it happened, I put that manuscript away for a lot of years and began polishing it for publication shortly after she’d left for college. Continue reading
In My Pearl Jam Universe
Thursday night, 70°F
Listening to The Rolling Stones, Let It Loose
Or how I got copyright permission on lyrics from Pearl Jam
How many times have you been told that you can’t put lyrics in your novel? That it’s impossible (or at least prohibitively expensive) to obtain copyright permission on lyrics? If it’s important to your novel, then it’s worth the effort to try. I did, and it wasn’t nearly as difficult as people claim. I’m so glad I didn’t let their negativity discourage me.
First things first: you absolutely must get copyright permission on lyrics before you publish them in your manuscript. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the law.
On August 17, 2016, I made a post explaining why the words of Saint Wozniak’s Whipping tattoo were left out of my novel, State of Love & Trust. In short, his tattoo is the first stanza of the Pearl Jam song, Whipping, and therefore protected by copyright. At the time I wrote that post, I was well into the process of attempting to obtain permission from music publisher Hal Leonard. Based on everything I’d read while researching copyright issues, I fully expected it to be too expensive. But I had to at least ask. Those lyrics fit Saint’s reckless, hard headed character too perfectly for me to not at least try to get them included. Continue reading
Some thoughts on using copyrighted lyrics
[UPDATE: When I wrote this post on using copyrighted lyrics, I was doubtful that I’d be able to obtain the proper permissions. Happily, Pearl Jam and music publisher Hal Leonard came through, granting me permission to include these lyrics in my novel. Lesson: If you want something, it’s worth asking for.]
In the first chapter of my novel State of Love & Trust, the character Saint Wozniak peels up his Mother Love Bone tank shirt to reveal the entire first stanza of Whipping inked in a neat typewriter font on his shoulder blade. Those lyrics, which he says are his favorite, matter to the novel. Yet they are not included anywhere in the text, and for good reason. Continue reading