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Old 11-16-2003, 08:54 PM
  #1
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Music in fan fiction / songfics

I was wondering what people's opinions are on the subject of songfics, and the general use of music in fan fiction.

I write 'virtual episodes' for the show Young Americans. The way it usually works is that I hear a song, then think up some corresponding scene that would fit well with it. I think music is really important in setting the mood of a scene.

When I really love a song but can't seem to fit it into my main projects, I usually end up writing a short songfic around it - one of my recent ones is called The Other Side, which features Not Enough by Our Lady Peace.

Thoughts? Opinions? [img]smilies/look.gif[/img] I would love it if someone could recommend some songfics.
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Old 11-16-2003, 11:31 PM
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Wow, for a while I thought I was the queen of songfics! [img]smilies/lol.gif[/img] Seriously, I'd get a song stuck in my head, listen to it over and over and just write. I've also used songs to inspire me while writing scenes - a favorite scene from my How We Are epic greatly draws on a Limp Bizkit song (I think the name of it is "Break Something").

Not that I like to advertise myself, but here are some of my songfics (they're all Roswell fic):
Bent
Better Man
Deep Inside of You
Honestly OK
Waiting for Something

btw, Nicky, I love your series!

[ 11-18-2003: Message edited Catalinay ]
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Old 11-17-2003, 04:36 AM
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Cheers Caty! ... I look forward to reading Bent and Honestly OK(great song!) in particular, but your links don't work as of yet... [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

[ 11-17-2003: Message edited Silversun ]
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Old 11-17-2003, 08:40 PM
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Well, since this is just what we think about songfics in general, I have to say I don't really like them much. It's probably because most of the songfics I've come across are 75% italicized lyrics and 25% actual fic. [img]smilies/lol.gif[/img] I understand being inspired by a song - that's happened to me plenty of times - but I don't really like it when the entire fic is centered around the entire song. I prefer just one or two lines of lyrics at the beginning or end, and then the rest all original stuff. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 11-18-2003, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by alli balli:
<STRONG>It's probably because most of the songfics I've come across are 75% italicized lyrics and 25% actual fic... I don't really like it when the entire fic is centered around the entire song. </STRONG>
Ooh, it can be so annoying if basically the fic just quotes the song and doesn't actually have anything else to add to it. Like... I don't remember what it's called, but I remember this one fic I read ages ago, which was just the couple hearing the song and dancing sexily to it then they got to make out. That's not a mood piece, it's just the means to wish fulfilment. [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]

From the songfics I've seen, they seem to fall into two categories:
- The ones that are lyrics-centred(not a spelling mistake by the way - British spelling rules! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] ): these are the ones that take the lyrics and try to make them into actual events in the fic. I can't provide the link but I remember this songfic on Dido's Thank You, which involved one of the main characters having a crap day at work and coming home to her sweetie. So that's basically the song personified.
- The ones that are mood-centred, which happens more often because most songs are pretty abstract. Then I guess it's personal preference how much of the song you quote, and how much it actually relates to the fic. That's when the boundaries become blurred between songfics and music in fanfics.

That's how I see it, anyway. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

ed: just a quick plea for posters/lurkers to check out the new Things every fanfic writer should know and remember thread: let's get some discussion across all the board and not constrained to certain fandoms. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

[ 11-18-2003: Message edited Silversun ]
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Old 11-18-2003, 12:04 PM
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So I apparently forgot how to use UBB code...anyways, the links are fixed now!

My songfics tend to be mood-centered, for the most part. And I agree, the song should be there to *add* something to the fic, not just to be the fic. Although, looking over my fics, I think they mostly add something to the song! [img]smilies/lol.gif[/img] They're all POV pieces, kind of like what the character might be thinking while listening to a particular song (or not).

[ 11-18-2003: Message edited Catalinay ]
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Old 11-18-2003, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silversun:
<STRONG>
I write 'virtual episodes' for the show Young Americans. The way it usually works is that I hear a song, then think up some corresponding scene that would fit well with it. I think music is really important in setting the mood of a scene.
</STRONG>
That's about the same thing I do...I've only written one actual 'songfic' - I tend to just list the 'soundtrack' song(s) in my author notes incase some lovely person wants to listen while they read.
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Old 11-20-2003, 02:00 PM
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I enjoyed your ficlets Caty. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Haven't worked up enough energy to start reading the epic though. Bad me. [img]smilies/spank.gif[/img]

Quote:
Originally posted by TobAng:
<STRONG>I tend to just list the 'soundtrack' song(s) in my author notes incase some lovely person wants to listen while they read.</STRONG>
That's like me, except I seem to be more obsessive because I really, really want my readers to see the scene as I see it, so I quote (most of) the lyrics within the story. It's probably bad practice but one of my guilty pleasures. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

It's just that a song can lend so much emotional weight to a story. Sometimes, you hear a song and it's so perfect for what you're writing, you can't help but want to share this vision with the rest of the world - well, whoever stumbles upon your fic. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

[ 11-20-2003: Message edited Silversun ]
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Old 11-20-2003, 05:21 PM
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Nicky - back in the day, when I still had cable internet at home (*why* did we move out to the boonies???) I would d/l at least some of the songs mentioned in your fic. So, at least one person appreciated all those lyrics being included! [img]smilies/lol.gif[/img]
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Old 11-21-2003, 12:53 AM
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Not a fan of songfics. They distract from the story in my opinion, because they break up the flow. In a real conversation you don't start doing something, stop, listen to lyrics and then start doing that thing again. If songs are going to be used in a fic, I prefer the author just list a soundtrack at the end or beginning, note if a song inspired the piece, put the lyrics in the beginning, or the end, but not in the story. Not as annoying as in-text author's notes *MASSIVE shudder* but up there. I always skip over mid fic lyrics, always.
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Old 11-21-2003, 09:30 AM
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In terms of mood-pieces, one of my fave fics based on music and an idea or theme from the lyrics is Ain't No Sunshine by Alli (remove ** from link- sorry, couldn't find the fic archived anywhere else!) It's a Max/Maria, Max/Liz short fic from Roswell [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

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Old 11-21-2003, 04:25 PM
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shazaam - thanks for the link. I quite like that story (not only because it's short - damn my short attention span! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] ), and I liked how only a couple of lines of lyrics were inserted at any one time.

Quote:
Originally posted by Katis:
<STRONG>I always skip over mid fic lyrics, always.</STRONG>
I do when I first read a fic, but I usually go back to it. If someone found the lyrics to be important enough to include them in the story, I think it deserves at least some contemplation.

I don't know about other people but I make a really big effort not to break up my songfics in a jarring manner. I try to insert lyrics only when there's a natural gap to the flow - and there often is, because I've found that many songfics are monologues. A person does not think in a linear fashion, their thoughts spin off on tangents, and a change in music could reflect a change in thought very well.

Also, I tend to slot lyrics in, not because of the words themselves but because I want to pin the story down to the music in certain places. In my head I hear this drum loop or this guitar solo kicking in at this particular part of the fic, and it adds something - a lot of things to what I'm trying to say.

"What we cannot say we must pass over in silence."
I believe music sometimes bridges that gap between what cannot be said in words, and what can be thought or felt. The only way I could even try and bring this to my readers is to put lyrics within the fic, so I could fix the story to the pace of the music.

That, to me, is what's most important. Not the song, not the words - it's what you're trying to communicate through this crude mixture, certain scenes of beauty and/or emotion that may not be reached otherwise.

[ 11-21-2003: Message edited Silversun ]
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Old 11-21-2003, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by shazaam:
<STRONG>Ain't No Sunshine by Alli </STRONG>
[img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] That's me! [img]smilies/rotfl.gif[/img] And here I am, saying how much I don't like songfics. So...yeah. I wrote that awhile ago. [img]smilies/look.gif[/img] I'm glad you like it, though. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Reading it again myself I don't like it much actually. [img]smilies/lol.gif[/img]

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Old 11-22-2003, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Katis:
<STRONG>Not a fan of songfics. They distract from the story in my opinion, because they break up the flow. In a real conversation you don't start doing something, stop, listen to lyrics and then start doing that thing again. If songs are going to be used in a fic, I prefer the author just list a soundtrack at the end or beginning, note if a song inspired the piece, put the lyrics in the beginning, or the end, but not in the story. Not as annoying as in-text author's notes *MASSIVE shudder* but up there. I always skip over mid fic lyrics, always.</STRONG>
That's pretty much everything I think too [img]smilies/lol.gif[/img]

I prefer just a mention of "inspired by". Don't force me to read lyrics by a group or person I don't like. Someone mentioned Dido. Or country music. It's fine to say "I wrote this story because of the lyrics to 'Blah Blah' by Blah". That way I get an idea of what the "mood" is without having to actually read the lyrics.

If I like the story, I'm tempted to read the lyrics. If it's a group I like, I may even download. I just don't like being FORCED to read lyrics. That says to me the author isn't confident enough in their writing that all they want to convey is there in the story, that they need to add the music lyrics instead of explaining.

Now, what I REALLY like is to have someone in the story mentioned listening to something while the scene is going on. Ah, found an example...

Quote:
We cocooned under the blanket and the quilt. He pulled them up over our heads, so the lamp's yellow light dimmed to almost nothing. The opening chords of Kashmir filtered through softly. Hyde was a dark, beautiful shadow, and there was nothing in our private world now but the music and the smell and the feel of him next to me, and the cot squeaking slightly as we moved.
When I read that, I know the song, and if I'm really in the mood, I go and pull up that song on my MP3 player and listen to it while reading the scene. She actually did that several times throughout the story to set the mood in the room, Pink Floyd, Zep, I think even Alice Cooper once.

Of course, with my fandom set in the 70s, it's kinda hard to write good songfics. I mean, you've got a limited range of songs available, and it has to be realistic that the characters would listen to it. I know for a fact there are some people writing crappy ass stories set to 90s songs and to me, I can't read them. It's not RIGHT to quote a 90s song in amongst a 70s story! [img]smilies/lol.gif[/img]

ETA: for example, there's a song by Sting, whom I worship, called "When We Dance", that would fit perfectly for my favorite couple during a very rare and very treasured scene where they actually do dance together. Would I write it? No. I'd figure out a way to maybe have one of the character THINK some of the lyrics as they danced... or maybe set it slightly in the future and have one of the characters WRITE a bit of poetry using some of the lyrics reflecting back on that day. But I wouldn't write a story like a song fic to it. Sting and the 70s just don't mesh [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

[ 11-22-2003: Message edited M3 ]
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Old 12-07-2003, 08:56 PM
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Just pimping my songfic. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
Overfire, a Young Americans story.

This fic and a few others by my friends can be found at Lyrics for the Fractured Soul, an archive of short Young Americans fics. Most of them have something to do with songs, titled inspired by lyrics, that kind of thing.

[ 12-07-2003: Message edited Silversun ]
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