hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Oh god exhausted, but such is the nature of first demo garden workday of the season. I will sort of get used to it again. (And, by the way, we had another inch of immediately-melting snow on Sunday. Today feels like spring, though.)

Since this has been such a gardening-intensive couple of weeks (I have a talk on edible landscaping to give tomorrow evening, and then I can not exactly relax, but space out the duties a bit more) I've been holding back on stuff like creating the cover for Time and Fevers, and instead have been doing an editing pass through Time Goes By, probably way too early except for one factor discussed under the cut, and mostly just because I want to and it has to be done sometime and it's happy-making. The one sensible reason I decided to tackle this early was that I'd realized I had song lyrics in the book, and I knew one had to get permission to use them and that it often takes a while to obtain. And then I started reading more about doing that, and learned that many people had discovered the hard way that it's better not to go anywhere near using copyrighted song lyrics, and are helpfully passing on the advice. (In some cases it's hard to find out whom to ask for permission, and when you do and they actually reply, you can get slammed with ridiculous costs, and sued if you publish without permission and payment.) It's not like music publishers are likely to bother tracking down unauthorized usage in my self-published book, but one never knows, and I'm not going to make enough off of it to justify paying the fees, which despite the fact that these are songs from the 1930s, most of them in French, could end up being substantial. (This is the only one of my books in which the part set in the past falls into the period of copyright, for which I am glad. Although I indulged in Frank Sinatra a bit in the fourth book and will have to cut those out too.)

There was one guy who's a lawyer in the music industry, who opined that lyrics quoted in a way that drives the narrative are fair use, but I suspect he's just trying to create cases in which he can challenge current copyright laws and precedents. After considerable searching last year, I made a decision that the use of actual and paraphrased quotes from "Casablanca," which you could probably guess from the title of the book do occur, was not likely to register as significant enough to require asking permission - there's always a risk, but I really doubt anyone's going to come after me (movie industry being much less litigious, apparently, than music industry; and again, self-published book). I'm not quoting extensively, or reproducing the plot or relying on it, just riffing on culturally-familiar lines and settings here and there in a very long book, in a way that many other people have done as well, and definitely in a narrative-integral fashion, not as a decorative addition to the text. Which the song lyrics, even though they did relate to what the characters were feeling at the time, pretty much were. I've cut the little "Threepenny Opera" bit and the French songs without any qualms; cutting "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" in a later chapter will be harder, but I can do it. (And there's nothing legally wrong with writing blog posts telling readers what songs were being sung when, should they want to know.)

Several writers in the posts I perused pointed out that song lyrics often don't give the same warm feelings to readers that they do to us when writing and hearing the songs in our heads, and really can be chopped out without damage in most cases. Having looked at the relevant chapters again, I have to agree. (Especially the lyrics in French and German, which most of my readers wouldn't understand anyway.) All this serves as an example of how much easier vicious editing is given time. I often enjoy the pruning.

I'm through The Ringed Castle in the Lymond reread, and trying to decide how to write a review that focuses on romance without making it seem like I am shallow enough to read the books only for those aspects (which would be an exercise in frustration, really). But I appreciate deeply how it's handled, as a minor development that's tremendously central, I guess, and it fits nicely into my observations (which should have been more formal) of POV use. (Which is the only relevance of the subject line, sorry; but I can hear Francis humming "oh no, not now" at the end of the Revels scene, I really can. Except that it would be under copyright.) Anyway, perhaps I'll just wait till I'm through the last book.

Oh, crap; I guess it's frozen pizza for dinner.

Date: 2014-04-02 03:11 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] philomytha
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)
Huh, that's all interesting about the song lyrics and copyright. I have to agree that it's rare for me to find song lyrics adding much to a story unless I already happen to know the song or they're amazingly well-chosen. Or, you know, Tolkien. But when I don't know the tune I have to make one up so that it works for me. I have a few songs that I've made up tunes for as a result, though I was kind of disappointed when I happened on the proper tune for 'aupres de ma blonde' and discovered it was a cheery marching song instead of the romantic melody I'd come up with. And much less racy, too :-).

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