Thursday, December 27, 2007

Random Question of the Day

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, however you celebrate!

So now I have a random question for you guys. I'm working on my revision of Time of My Life and am toying with the idea of putting a quote (I know that there's an official name for these, but can't for the life of me remember what it is - anyone know) on the page before the first chapter. Know what I mean? Sandwiched between the dedication and Chapter One, there is often times a quote from a song or a poem or another book or whatever. What do you guys think of these? I've been listening to a specific song over and over again as I revise because the lyrics completely embody what my heroine is going through, and thus, I think it might be fun to pull out a verse for that opening quote (assuming we can get the rights and all of that, and I have no idea how that works either)...but...tell me, are these quotes cheesy, intriguing, completely unnoticed???

What do you think?

16 comments:

Larramie said...

Cheesy? No way, especially if the quote makes you think and wonder how it relates to what is to come. In other words, an instant hook!

Trish Ryan said...

I love those, and had one planned for my own book. Unfortunately, song lyrics are EXPENSIVE to get permission for. Record companies have special licensing divisions that handle this, and you pay so many hundreds of dollars per # of copies printed (as if we know in advance how many copies of our books will end up in print?) I ended up ditching the quote because it all seemed too complicated and never-ending.

Sorry to be the bearer of bummer news! Now, whenever I hear a song that fits in with my WIP, I have to tell myself, "Easy, Trish...don't get too attached. It will only hurt later..."

:)

Carradee said...

Personally, I find them intriguing, though I won't always pay much attention to them at the beginning. Sometimes I find it more interesting to wait till the end to read the quote closely, to see why the writer chose that.

I've heard horror tales of using song lyrics, but it seems that it would also depend on the band and record label, or whoever holds the song rights. That's not to say that I don't echo the "be wary" line from Ms. Ryan, but I'd not give up hope entirely. I'd just suggest having multiple options in case the dream idea doesn't work.

Also, your comment made me wonder... What about writing your own poem for the whatchyamacallit? I'm not sure how copyright applies in that, but I would think that poem merely inspired by the song would be okay… But then, a lot of things about the music industry end up being counterintuitive. :-/

Just my two buttons. :)

Keetha said...

Isn't it an epigram? Maybe?

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Is that what it's called? Thanks, Keetha!

And thanks for the feedback, guys. Hmmm, I wonder if the more famous the band, the harder/more expensive it is to get the rights. I'm curious how it works.

Susan said...

I love them! I'm reading a nonfiction book called "For the Love of Letters" right now and I think her use of quotes at the beginning of each chapter and a longer letter as an example for each section is quite clever. She had an interesting time trying to get permission to use a letter written by James Joyce (you'll have to read the book to get all the juicy details).

Jen A. Miller said...

I don't mind a quote to kick off the book, but I think it gets annoying if there's one before every chapter...

My two cents.

Jen

Karen said...

It's called an epigraph and it's for you, only for you. If it inspires you, don't edit yourself. If you can't get permission or if the fee is too high, you'll find out soon enough. I would leave it in for now.

I used song lyrics and it cost me nothing, although they weren't Beatles lyrics. Who, after all, needs to cite Beatles lyrics when everyone knows them already?

Patti said...

i think the real question is what you think. do what you makes you smile. after all you wrote the book.

Manic Mom said...

All I know is if I had counted all the times I read a quote like this in the front of a book that's from the Alice in Wonderland Looking Glass book I could scream!

Seriously, there are like a MILLION of these.

However, if your quote completely embodies the whole of your story, then I say go for it!

Gretchen Roberts said...

It's an epigraph, and I love them. They can really set the tone for the book and give it a resonance it didn't have before. But every chapter, as someone else said, gets to be too much. If the book were in parts, one every part would be ok. Or just one at the beginning.

Gina Black said...

They don't usually do much for me.

kerri said...

i'm a fan of the quote...

renee said...

Love the quotes, especially if they aren't too airy-fairy. I always read them and LOVE it when I recognize the lyric/quote.
Good luck!

Carleen Brice said...

I enjoy them...and will have 2 (probably) in my novel that comes out in 09.

Re music lyrics: Random House's legal dept. told me (through my editor) that if you use fewer than 4 lines of a song you can do so without payment.

Kristen King, Inkthinker said...

If it speaks to me, I like it. If I can tell why the author chose it, even if I don't know every bit of the reasoning, I like it. If it evokes the sense of the story, I like it. Sounds to me like your lyrics match these criteria, so I'd say you should go for it!

Kristen
www.inkthinkerblog.com