Sometimes a song is particularly inspiring.

Like this one: I really like it. I have written portions of stories that were inspired by it, as I find lots of bass and a steady beat good for reminding me of an atmosphere of adventure, and ‘I just want to turn the lights on in these volatile times’ seems like really good motivation to go and do something really stupid.

Songs can be useful reminders of an atmosphere one is trying to evoke, particularly for those of us who have a tabbed browsing problem (currently open: Tumblr, blogger, two Youtube tabs, a wikipedia article, a knowyourmeme.com article, three writing projects, two stories I am supposed to be critiquing, a forum thread, and two stories I’d like to read). If I get drawn in to other things and disrupted from the mood I was writing, a song can remind me of what it was I was trying to do with the scene. Video game and movie soundtracks are integral to the mood of a piece, and the music Stephanie Meyer listened to while writing Twilight became a sort of soundtrack as well, so popular music relating to other media is not a new concept. Society is a story machine, and they leak out all over, and each tastes of the others.

But songs can take on other roles in stories, like the fanfiction My Immortal drawing its title, chapter titles, and tone primarily from Evanescence and My Chemical Romance songs. There also exists songfic, which involves weaving lyrics into plot.

One of the neatest approaches to songfic I’ve ever read was Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin. It follows the plot of the Scottish ballad of the same name, and the full text of the ballad was included in the back of the book I read. The text itself is full of broad and witty references to literature, and a portion of its charm stems from the fact that it is in many ways a book about stories.

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One thought on “Songfic, and other creatures from the zoo

  1. I really love this “lyrical” line of yours:
    Society is a story machine, and they leak out all over, and each tastes of the others.

    A story referring to other stories and about other stories sounds like a meta itself enough to tickle my reading fancy; thanks for the book lead.

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