Welcome Wednesday – Popular culture

Welcome Wednesday – Popular culture

Welcome to this week’s edition of Welcome Wednesdays!

This morning, the question is about pop culture and real-world references.  Do you use them in your books?  Do your characters eat at McDonalds?  Haver they seen “Star Wars” ?  Or do you make up your own fictional products and chains and movies/pop stars/etc?  Or, do you just leave it totally generic?

(if you write fantasy, sci/fi or historical, don’t feel left out.  Tell us about how you weave everyday life – what your characters do for fun, what the everyday world around them is like, when they’re not saving the world or whatever else they’re up to in your story)

Be sure to include a brief excerpt, if you want, and definitely leave a link so we can learn more about you and your books!


I’ll begin…

My books, both the Dream Series and my upcoming book, FINDERS KEEPERS, take place in the real world.  And the characters use the same brands, and watch the same movies and TV shows that we’re all familiar with.  Sara reads Harry Potter and the Hobbit to her kids at bedtime.  Jane, the heroine of FINDERS KEEPERS, is an archaeology student, and in a crisis, she tries to imagine what Indiana Jones might do, to help her figure out what she ought to do.  And so forth.

Here’s an excerpt from WAKING DREAM, the fifth book of the Dream Series, where Sara’s husband resorts to comic book heroes to relate to what Sara is telling him:

“I felt her.  She must have realized I knew she was there, and she left.  I tried to follow her.”  I climb out of bed and head out to the hallway.  “Up there,” I point to the window.  I’d say it’s seven, maybe eight feet up.  “She came in from there.  It was open.”  It’s all there in my mind.  “I jumped up to get a handhold, and I hauled myself up there.  I went through the window.”

Brian’s staring at me.  “How?  You’d have to be Reed Richards to get through that window.”  Reed Richards?  Who the heck – oh, from comic books.  I vaguely know that name – he’s a superhero.  I think he’s part of the Justice League, maybe.  It’s really not important.


And now it’s your turn!

(when you’re done here, please stop by Exquisite Quills, where there are daily memes just like this one and plenty of fantastic authors you can discover!)

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2 Replies to “Welcome Wednesday – Popular culture”

  1. I had some pop culture references in my first novel “Finding ‘Ohana,” but after an agent said it was distracting I debated using the references. I actually decided to amp up the pop culture, making my main character’s Disney obsession a theme rather than a passing reference. My reasoning was that putting the characters MORE in the real world would make references less distracting.
    I’m still editing & looking for an agent though, so I’m not sure yet if I made the right call.
    Anyway, here’s an excerpt with quotes from a well-loved children’s book:

    “‘I’ll love you forever,” Naali had read aloud.

    I sat on the floor in front of our couch, resting my head on Naali’s knees and listening to the soft sound of her voice, “‘I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living—’”

    “What is it?” I jumped up. “Are you all right?”

    “The baby kicked. Just now.”

    I felt a twist of nerves in my stomach. This could be the first time I would have real contact with the baby. Naali never stopped having contact with our child, but all I could do was hope that when I talked to it, the sound actually made it through. My hand flew to Naali’s belly. But there was no movement.

    “It just stopped.” Naali saw my face. “But the baby will kick again, you’ll get plenty more chances to feel kicks.” She smiled at me.

    I felt cheated. I had been so close to feeling the touch of my baby for the first time. Hoping that my voice might also elicit a kick, I took over reading where Naali left off, now with my hand resting on her belly so I would not miss it again. “‘I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.’”

    1. Great excerpt!

      I don’t think references are distracting, if they make sense int he context of your story. I think made-up references, or genericized (is that a word) references are much more distracting.

      “As usual, we couldn’t agree where to go for dinner, so we ended up at Olive Garden again.”


      “As usual, we couldn’t agree where to go for dinner, so we ended up at that all-you-can-eat Italian chain restaurant again.”


      “I stood in line for six hours to buy tickets to ‘Star Wars.'”


      “I stood in line for six hours to buy tickets to the latest big scifi blockbuster movie.”

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