bITS 'N CHUNKS
I was originally going to talk/lament about my most favorite of fanfic derivatives, the songfic. What they mean to me, why they're so nostalgic, et cetera. While I was looking up the anatomy of a songfic, I came across this curious quote on Wikipedia:
In an essay in Music, Sound, and Silence in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, University of Sydney professor Catherine Driscoll commented that the genre was "one of the least distinguished modes of fan production" and that "within fan fiction excessive attachment to or foregrounding of popular music is itself dismissed as immature and derivative".
Well, first off that hurt my feelings a little bit even though it's an old quote.
I love music and often find myself inspired by it, but most importantly I look for music recs. Yes, I discovered a lot of new music (mostly J-pop and nu-metal) by reading songfics in my youth. It brought a tighter sense of community knowing you shared something in common with someone besides a love of smut and crackshipping.
In my original fiction, I find myself inspired by a combination of music and movie scenes. I love a lot of lavish imagery and I love invoking some of my favorite film/art movements -- New Wave is a great example. Likewise, music conjures up certain moods. Maybe even internally creating a soundtrack. Stuff like that is fun and vital. And when I do music, in addition to looking for recs I like to share recs. That, to me, creates a sense of community with my readers. There's even the time honored tradition of using song lyrics as story titles. Everything is a damn songfic.
Of course, I still do fanfic too (pretty regularly). Do I think songfics show immaturity? I think it depends. I think your writing is going to show maturity or not. It's possible song choice will date you whether intentional or nah. Most of my characters are my age if not older so I end up with a lot of 90s-70s music. Movies use period specific soundtracks for aesthetic, right? I like to do that too. Also, weirdly enough, with cars. More on that later.
What's a songfic look like? That changes a lot. The purpose, like a movie soundtrack, is always to pick a song to reflect the mood of the story. But one could insert fitting lyrics in like poetry, epithet style, or even write about the song itself. In rare cases, you would get a story with absolutely no relation to the song at all. Back in the day, you could find whole lyric pages inside a single story even if it breaks up the flow of the narrative. Good authors credited their sources, but as it turns out song lyrics are a copyright issue so unless you just don't give a damn gone are the days of learning the words to your jam. If you only use a couple lines, is it still a true songfic? Sure. Now, I think we treat songfics like AMVs -- action laid on top of a song that happens to be playing in a background. I like to sneak in a secret boombox or an MP3 player when it's appropriate so lyrics aren't just hovering over the page. Sometimes I'll just rearrange a line from a verse as a title and hope someone savvy will pick up on it as an inside joke.
Songfics are not original music, by the way. That's why they're kind of contentious. That, friends, is called a musical which is ALSO a dying art.
Man, nothing makes me long for the good ol' days like seeing a paragraph of lyrics smack dab in the middle of a camp fire scene because songfic popularity seems so rooted to a particular timeline. I wanna bring it back but I'm thinking maybe it should stay there. Leave the memories alone, you know?
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...