Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Dear Rachelle, I have a question about fiction. I would like to use the name of a real university in my story, to make the story feel more realistic. There is nothing negative about the university in my story, and all of the characters are fiction. So, should I contact a representative at the university before engaging with a publisher? Is that required to prevent potential legal issues or would it just be professional courtesy? Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Thanks for writing, and congratulations on writing a book! Here is my advice:
1. Use the university’s real name. Don’t waste time contacting them.
2. Stop worrying about side issues and simply write your book. This is an unimportant consideration, and like most writers, you’re allowing yourself to get distracted by anything and everything besides the actual writing. Stop it! Get back to work!
Realize that whatever name you use, for a person or a place, is irrelevant to whether your book is any good, whether you’ll get an agent, or whether you’ll get a publishing deal. When you’ve accomplished all those things, your editor will be able to answer any questions about the names of your characters and places.
Most writers have moments when they find themselves obsessing about extraneous things. Just notice you’re doing it and pull your focus back.
Q4U: What are some ways you distract yourself from the task at hand?
© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent