Monday, February 04, 2008

Why Authors Shouldn't Use Pop References

britneyspears
You can't help but feel bad for Britney Spears. We've been watching her self destruct for over a year now. Is there anything she hasn't done? Any low the paparazzi haven't captured? Even her trip to the hospital--how many days ago was that?--is still making headlines. One can't help but wonder what went so horribly wrong in her life. Was it a nervous breakdown? mental illness? drugs? perhaps the way the paparazzi pursued her like she was the last deer of hunting season?

I don't know. I just hope she gets better.

But it brings to point why authors shouldn't use pop references. You see, it takes a long time to write a book, then even longer for it to be edited, printed, and sent to the stores. Revenge of the Cheerleaders has only been out for three months, but it was written almost two years ago.

I have a scene where a bunch of cheerleaders are discussing whether they have what it takes to win an American-Idol like contest, even though they won't be performing a song that they wrote. Back then when I had a character say, "You don't think Britney Spears got where she is because she wrote her songs, do you?" Well, the sentence had an entirely different meaning.

12 comments:

Stephanie Black said...

Good point, Janette! No wonder my editor deleted it when I referred to a couple of popular singers in my novel!

Annette Lyon said...

Oh, that's priceless! You knoow, I never realized I was lucky in this department. It's hard to use a reference that can change meaning when you're writing in 1867.

Smithy Smith said...

i can't believe all the stuff just for publicity. people these days. and i hate her songs. if you have to use a pop star use Kelly Clarckson.

Julie Wright said...

i try so hard to avoid referencing anything. I have a song in my first book that is sooooo outdated and definately not cool any more. I cringe when I think that teens won't have any idea who that band is or how the song goes.

Tamra Norton said...

I completely agree...unless you are trying to capture the essence of a certain era. I've wondered about this with my 2 children's novels. They're about a girl whose father is a soldier deployed to Iraq. I guess this history hasn't been completely written yet...so I still needed to be careful.

Lillian Syville said...

It's sad. Britney spears, Linsay Lohan, Marky Kay and Ashley... Now they're starting to say Hillary Duff is anorexic and that Hannah Monatana Is going in that direction too. Why can't the press leave them alone?

asenath said...

i guess you had a bit too much faith in Britney.

Janette Rallison said...

Yes, and now my faith in Britney is shattered . . .

Janette Rallison said...

This is where I have it made--I have too little willpower and too much hatred of throwing up (I did enough of that when I was pregnant, thank you) to ever be anorexic. The tabloids will never have THAT to report about me.

Marsha Ward said...

Well, I only use songs in my novels that have stood the test of time, like "Annie Laurie" or lullabies.

BTE, Janette, I've given you the "you make my day" award over on Writer in the Pines. Go pick it up!

Marsha Ward said...

Sorry! *BTW* already. When my fingers get cold--as they have remained this winter!--they miss keys. Word verification is tough.

Aaron & Stephanie Shumway (& family) said...

Good point! I love the pic on this post, by the way- It makes me simultaneously bewildered at her insanity and thankful it isn't me.... How's book club going? I miss it!