What counts as ‘too many’ with pop culture references?

Good morning, readers! In case you’ve forgotten who I am, as it’s been that long since we last had any posts here, I’m Miriam. I’m the one who isn’t at boarding school – the Londoner 🙂 I’ve just escaped from exams, am working my way through a bunch of shows that I’m playing or dancing in, and redecorating my room. Nevertheless, I caved to Charley’s nagging this morning, sat down at my desk, and did some work on St Mallory’s Forever this morning. And then remembered we had a blog.

We’re good at this whole blogging thing here, I swear.

So, onto the actual post, which is what you want to read, rather than listening to me ramble on about nothing.

Generally, when writing, I steer clear of pop culture references. There are exceptions (my wonderfully hardcore Welsh character, Bronwyn, gets compared to Gwen Cooper on more than one occasion), but I tend to avoid it. It dates the book. It makes it clear when it was written and if it’s still around in twenty years’ time, that’s not always a good thing.

But I guess with e-books it’s different. After all, you can always update them in a year’s time, or two years’, to accommodate that sort of thing, can’t you?

My conclusion when it comes to St Mallory’s, therefore: you can never have too many references.

I don’t know who was responsible for the first Sherlock Holmes references but after that sprouted in the middle of an early chapter, several more followed, some more obvious than others. We’ve had a Doctor Who marathon and a dalek alarm clock. Miss Marple has been mentioned, as has Saruman’s bad singing and the peak of Caradhras.

Oh, and Yoda’s backside, but we don’t talk about that.

We had an absolutely brilliant (though I say so myself) Star Trek related pun for a chapter title. Okay, so the others haven’t seen that yet, as I only just sent it to Charley, but I thought it was brilliant. It took me, like, five minutes to think of it. In fact, I think it was a stroke of genius. My magnum opus. I will be remembered for that chapter title. Except that no one will know I wrote it as opposed to, say, Charley or Mark or Saffi. *sigh* But it was good. Honest.

Not to mention the fact that one of our major characters’ names is a hidden reference in itself, and if anyone picks up on it, I will like them a lot and will send them virtual cookies. But not real cookies, because I have no money to pay the postage. Sorry.

But Miriam, how can we pick up on it when we haven’t read St Mallory’s yet? Um, yeah, we’re working on the whole finishing-the-book thing. Honest.

Keep your eyes peeled for announcements. I think we’re getting there with the plot and we’ll be tying up loose ends before too long!

— M

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8 thoughts on “What counts as ‘too many’ with pop culture references?

    • No! You will not take my glory from me! It is my chapter title! (And I’m so bad at titles I normally just stick with numbers – St Mall’s has been harsh to me like that.)

  1. Charley R says:

    Hehehe, I will give you credit for the title Miriam, no worries. I actually snorted out loud at it – I think my poor matron was confused xD

    Indeed – let us get this thing done and dusted soon! Not in the least because I want to wave it around and impress the university professors with it, bahahaha.

    Besides … I want to see if I can get a Scooby Doo reference in at the end. Without looking like an a nerf herder 😛

    • You already got a Scooby Doo reference in, Charley. I just forgot to mention it in this post 😉
      I had a really terrible title, and I was like, “I need to fix that.” So I started typing and then backspaced and then typed and then I decided I was keeping it. Because Star Trek.

  2. You guys are going to have me rolling by the time this book comes out! Rolling in laughter tears and whatever other emotion you throw at me as I’m reading 😛

    Personally I think pop culture references aren’t bad – I don’t mind dating books, because 50 years from now they’d have to be totally re-written. Take Nancy Drew, or the Hardy Brothers – dated, but still good. (And I have half an inkling to pick them all up.) BUt if this series becomes par with those for it’s time (and I so hope it does) I”m collecting all the first version so I can pass them on to my kids kids and they can read them and go – did grandma grow up in a funny world *giggles*

    :} Cathryn

    • Ha ha, fair enough. I’m the sort of person who avoids naming cars, refers to music players instead of specifics eg iPods and MP3s, and doesn’t talk about the internet in anything other than general terms. Antony Horowitz, however – to give a random example – tends to name things exactly, and already the games consoles mentioned in Stormbreaker are a thing of the past to new readers.

      • But it seems like a great way to immortalize the time in which you are living. Sometimes books are the best way to help figure out what it was like – for instance you could use Jane Austin to help understand something of the social structure of her time period. :}

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