Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness
Since I knew I had made a lot of references, and suspected they could be fun to list or reveal somehow or use as a game of sorts, deep into the life cycle of its marketing, I had marked them as I revised. In Scrivener, the software used to write the manuscript, I took advantage of the commenting function, which allowed me to quickly find every one, in order and in context.
During the many and long lulls between actually working on the manuscript and getting it ready for publication and launch with iUniverse, I had collected and sorted them all in an MS Word doc, by chapter, marked if it was only a reference to the song, band or album, disc; or if it was played; or otherwise used. Referenced means that the song or album/CD/Single was referred to by a character in speech or thought, such as this:
Like the Sisters of Mercy sing, “Life is short, and love is always over in the morning”—a line I should have thought of.
Played means the song was played during the course of the story, such as this moment in a car on the way to Chicago for the first time:
Out comes Depeche Mode, and I bop my head to the beat of “Just Can’t Get Enough,” which has about the perfect energy for driving.
Used indicates that a song lyric, perhaps a work’s title was actually pressed into use in the story. For example, these lines from “You Are in My Vision” by Gary Numan & The Tubeway Army:
The wreckage of a hero lies
Broken in the corner and
Everyone pretends they like to live that way
was turned into this line in the novel:
‘The innocent one is almost gone, barely able to smile anymore, her dreams lying broken in the corner, with me pretending she likes to live that way.’
Not the same words, yet clearly inspired by the song.
As I dug into all these references, locating the originals for the reviewer to compare to, I found that, well, most of the time they were like this last example, reworked words that, if you knew the music, you might well recognize the reference. Further, I realized that most of the rest of the time, the lyrics were credited in the novel as if it were a school paper, like the above lines from ‘Temple of Love,’ and these from ‘Pretty Boys, Pretty Girls’:
‘Book of Love’s new single “Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls” is still running through my mind: “Sex is dangerous,” she sings, “I don’t take my chances.” ’
Still, I diligently marked up a manuscript with every reference I could find, using the insert comment feature to offer the original for comparison.
After one long day, I sent in the newly marked up manuscript, dreading that I will have to either remove all these references or seek the permission of every single band or publisher to use them.
Those thoughts made my teeth grind.