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RocketFoot
07-25-2009, 02:11 AM
Ok, I have another weird question...

Have you ever mentioned items by name in your novel? Say, Dr. Pepper, McDonalds or Wal-Mart. If so, are there any problems associated with doing this in your work?

I don't want to advertise for any company, but I do want to mention items and places by name to help bond the relationship with the reader. I feel that the reader will relate better when visualizing the MC drinking a Coke instead of a soda?

Thoughts?

Prozyan
07-25-2009, 02:21 AM
Mention away. Just don't denigrate outside of opinion.

James D. Macdonald
07-25-2009, 03:07 AM
There's no problem with mentioning products. But you do have to know why you're doing it. Why say "Minute Maid Orange Juice" rather than just "orange juice"?

Like any other word in your novel, the trade name must reveal character, advance the plot, or support the theme.

RocketFoot
07-25-2009, 04:36 AM
Cool, thanks! I don't plan on overdoing it...there are just a few incidents where I need to do it.

djf881
07-25-2009, 08:21 AM
Do whatever you want; free speech is a pretty great thing. I suggest you write a memoir about how TGI Friday's Loaded Potato Skins gave you AIDS.

Tanya Egan Gibson
07-25-2009, 08:52 AM
There's no problem with mentioning products. But you do have to know why you're doing it. Why say "Minute Maid Orange Juice" rather than just "orange juice"?

Like any other word in your novel, the trade name must reveal character, advance the plot, or support the theme.

I agree wholeheartedly with the above.

I mention real brands in my novel (one the themes is "branding," and how we brand not only products but people), though I also employ faux brands (if I'm making fun of something, I make up a brand rather than use a real one).

Danthia
07-25-2009, 06:06 PM
Just be wary of overdoing it. There's a series I love that tags almost every product mentioned with a brand name. Half of them I have no clue what they are. It really slows the story down for me when I get to those parts and I tend to skim.

Wark
07-25-2009, 08:00 PM
I'm trying to be geographically accurate in a fairly remote place. So my MC et al will go to the ACE Hardware I found with Google Maps.

IceCreamEmpress
07-25-2009, 09:26 PM
I'm trying to be geographically accurate in a fairly remote place. So my MC et al will go to the ACE Hardware I found with Google Maps.

That's fine, as long as the hardware store isn't a front for drug smugglers, or whatever.

KTC
07-25-2009, 09:28 PM
What Ice said.

Shoeless
07-25-2009, 09:44 PM
Brand name "fever" is perfectly legal. William Gibson does it all the time.

blacbird
07-25-2009, 09:52 PM
I'm trying to be geographically accurate in a fairly remote place. So my MC et al will go to the ACE Hardware I found with Google Maps.

Two Whys? 1. Why do you need to be "geographically accurate" in this "fairly remote place"?

2. Why do you need to use this, or any other, brand-name? (If I'm reading a story, I really really really don't care what hardware store, by name, your MC goes to, unless that name has a significant connection with the plot, and I'm stretching pretty hard to figure out how an ACE hardware store would figure differently in a story than would a True Value hardware store.)

Aside from those questions, I second what Danthia said, for emphasis. Stories that toss in a lot of brand-names under a concept of misguided specificity drive me wild, especially if they are things I don't recognize.

caw

Samantha's_Song
07-25-2009, 10:07 PM
My main female character is a fast food junkie, so I mention McDonalds quite often in my novel.
I do make sure though, that although the main male character has the same thoughts as I do about their offerings, I don't say anything bad about them.

Enzo
07-26-2009, 07:16 AM
I mention car brands all the time, but that reveals what kind of person the driver is. Status, or perceived status, income bracket, etc.

blacbird
07-26-2009, 07:33 AM
I mention car brands all the time, but that reveals what kind of person the driver is. Status, or perceived status, income bracket, etc.

Point being that some brand names carry more cachet than others. Yeah, it would matter in a story to me if the protag drove a Lamborghini Countache or a '66 Volkswagen Beetle. It wouldn't matter if the protag buys the nails for his pipe bomb at ACE Hardware or True Value Hardware. Or if he drinks Coke or Pepsi. Or if he wipes his ass with Charmin or Northern tissue.

It needs to MATTER. To the reader, not to the writer.

caw

Wark
07-26-2009, 08:26 AM
Two Whys? 1. Why do you need to be "geographically accurate" in this "fairly remote place"?


It's Upper Matecombe Key in the Florida Keys. I can't just pull a Wal-Mart out of my ass.

blacbird
07-26-2009, 08:32 AM
It's Upper Matecombe Key in the Florida Keys. I can't just pull a Wal-Mart out of my ass.

Then don't. Your protag went to the "department store" and bought Thing X. I don't need to know it was a Wal-Mart or a K-Mart or a Sears. Likewise I still don't see the necessity for specifying "the ACE hardware store" as opposed to just "the hardware store." Perhaps it's a story-context issue, but if so, it isn't obvious from your original post.

caw

Samantha's_Song
07-26-2009, 02:45 PM
What about serviettes from service station's restaurants? :D

Or if he wipes his ass with Charmin or Northern tissue.

It needs to MATTER. To the reader, not to the writer.

caw

Susan B
07-26-2009, 06:59 PM
This is helpful--I'd just been wondering if it was okay to use brand names for drugs (eg, vicodin) vs. generic. Glad to hear it's probably not a problem.

Wark
07-26-2009, 10:37 PM
My reason to mention specific businesses when in compact or isolated places is because of how I would feel if I had been there.

[deleted - blah blah blah, I say a bunch of crap]

Your MC shouldn't eat at the pizza joint across from the UN Building unless there is one. And you might as well name it.

Samantha's_Song
07-26-2009, 11:01 PM
Yeah, I've got to admit, my fast food junkie lives in Normandie and I was searching Google at 5 a.m., one Saturday morning, to find out exactly where McDonalds restaurants were situated there for her to go to. I got the road and even a description of it, including the horrid cobblestones that are in a lot of French places, from someone's good blog of France.

The cobblestones actually gave me another good idea for the story; my fast food junkie complaining about them, thus making her French guy peeved that she didn't like French food or their cobblestoned streets. :D

My reason to mention specific businesses when in compact or isolated places is because of how I would feel if I had been there.

[deleted - blah blah blah, I say a bunch of crap]

Your MC shouldn't eat at the pizza joint across from the UN Building unless there is one. And you might as well name it.