Elsie Hi Elsie, It's not just you - coming up with a melody can be a challenge. Many people feel they can't do it. I remember as a kid, trying to invent a melody, but everything I hummed turned out to be an existing song. Once I broke through that barrier and actually sang my own melody, it became easier and easier to do.
So back to my usual music theme, I would like to talk a bit about putting song lyrics in your manuscripts. I am a big music buff and often listen to music while I'm writing for inspiration.
Also, since I'm a word person, I just naturally gravitate towards songs with lyrics that speak to me. No matter what I write, my characters usually are drawn to music in some way because of this, so it is only natural that my mind wanders to what song lyrics could be really powerful in a scene. This is all well and good when I'm writing along on my manuscript and the only people to see it are me and my secretive critique partners.
But what if I put song lyrics in my novel and then it actually goes on to be sold to a publisher? Is it okay to leave them in there or do I have to, like, ask someone if it's cool I have their lyrics in my book?
Now, there are a TON of articles and blog posts already out there on this topic that did a lot more research, have a lot more credibility, and probably structured the logistics behind this a lot better than I could. So what I'm going to do is pluck out the information that meant the most to me and then leave you with the articles I found if you want to dig deeper into the topic.
Here is what I found most important to know on this topic: Titles can't have a copyright, so if your character just makes a mention of a song title, you are A-OKAY.
Since they are so short, using just a few lines of a song is using a significant amount of the piece. If you absolutely MUST use the lyrics in your novel, be prepared to pay anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand - even for a few lines of the song.
Also be prepared for the outcome in which the artist denies your request altogether and you have no choice but to take the lyrics out. Having lyrics in your manuscript will not discourage an agent from reading on OR from signing you as a client - but it will most likely come up as a topic of concern and you will most likely be responsible for paying the price for the permissions if you insist on keeping them.
There are quite a few songs that are considered Public Domain and, therefore, free to use without having to acquire permissions. These usually include Christmas songs, hymns, patriotic songs, etc. You can find what is considered public domain here: If you are set on trying to feature lyrics but don't want to hand over wads of cash for popular songs, check out your local music scene to see if any songs fit your theme or message.
As a last resort, make up a band and write your OWN lyrics for your story. Push your own creative envelop! Who hasn't, at one point in his or her life, wanted to be a rock star?? As promised, here are some of the articles I found while researching this topic.
Check them out for more information:One way you can check to see if the song is still under copyright protection is to visit ashio-midori.com This online site lists all copyright records dating back to 8 thoughts on “ Can I Use Song Lyrics in my Manuscript?
” EmissaGhaight July 25, Write Great Dialogue; View All Online Writing Workshops.
UPCOMING BOOT CAMP. It can also be detrimental to throw away the seed of a song too early. "As you get older, your filters are much more refined," Sting has said.
"The critical mind takes over from the creative mind. Students write and sing their own songs in the blues form, and enter the world of the founders of modern popular music. Pricing Typically, residencies range from $2, to $3,, but we can use your available budget and ‘work backwards’ to create a cost-effective residency for your school.
Although it’s best to have an agreement in writing before you begin writing songs with another person, the idea that you have to draft and sign a contract each time you sit down with someone to write a song is not only impractical, but also a pretty big buzz kill. If you wish to write song lyrics for a living, you’re sure to find song ideas for lyrics that fit with your music perfectly.
Each day, you’ll find ten free song ideas in the box below to help write a song. If you can’t write the lyrics for your song write now, that’s okay.
Take another piece of paper and start writing straight paragraphs about your day, your girlfriend, your family, something which is bugging you.