Dear jukebox writer,
Thanks so much for writing one of my songs! I really love all these songs, as well as have questions about them, and I'm sure I'll love whatever you write!
I have some suggestions below, but really, feel free to do whatever idea these songs give you. I picked these songs because they seem to have a lot of stories hidden in them, and if you find a story that's totally different from the ones I see offhand (and have thus provided vague prompts for), then I would be so thrilled to see that additional interpretation of the song.Scarborough Fair
(Youtube (King Singers)
) - I've always wondered about this song, from the very first time I heard it. Why was she once a true love? What do the tasks have to do with it? Are they riddles the true love has to solve — and if so, why, and what are the answers to the riddles? Is it a hidden message? And what in the world do parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme have to do with it, and why sage? :) (My friend pointed out to me that parsley, rosemary, and thyme all go together, but sage is a bit the odd one out.)
There are versions with extra verses from the ex-true-love, where she poses additional riddles, and then it becomes clear (to me) that they're just both giving each other impossible tasks because they don't really want to get back together. (This is also why I didn't request the Mediaeval Baebes version, which I do think is gorgeous.) I don't think I really like this interpretation, as it seems like much too easy a solution — but if your muse takes you that way, I'm game for it: convince me!Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
) - Okay, I know (vaguely) the history to this song, and that it's supposed to be a tribute to Syd Barrett etc. etc., but like all good songs, I think there's a lot more there that could be explored and fic written about. Who are the two lost souls? (One answer is a split personality, of course, but I feel like there could be a more compelling explanation.) Why are they in a fishbowl? Why the ironic refrain, "Wish you were here"? The heaven-from-hell, blue skies from pain, green fields from a cold steel rail… seems like it was just meant for a spaaaaace AU, or a cyberpunk AU, or a dystopian AU… It really seems like it could make a really great science-fiction story -- or really any kind of story: a coffeeshop of quiet desperation?Chiron Beta Prime (Jonathan Coulton)
) - so many questions! What did they do that sent them to Chiron Beta Prime? What is Earth like? (Apparently not overrun with robot overlords, if they're sending messages there.) Do they ever escape? What was redacted? I would love to get the POV of a robot overlord, or a letter written to them from Earth, or... the possibilities are endless!) I also like the video; I think it's awfully cute — but I'm not particularly wedded to it, so feel free to ignore it. The Demon Lover (Traditional Ballad)
, lyrics (scroll down)
This is another one where I just wonder what is going on! I mean, on the surface it's a morality tale against leaving with one's lover, I guess, but that's so boring
. How did she not know her lover was a demon? Why did she mourn leaving her son and not her husband, and if she did, why did she go in the first place? I do really, really want the heroine to have rather more agency and intelligence than she seems to in the song, and am totally fine with you changing the ending if that helps make that work. Any kind of setting — spaaaace, cyberpunk, academia (a professor, her department chair, and a… venture capitalist?), historical!fic… I don't really care.
(I also love the John M. Ford SF story "Walkaway Clause," which makes the heroine an awesome and sexy businesswoman, makes all three parties in the love triangle totally sympathetic, and which obviously (sort of) throws the ending out… but you are, of course, not required to have read it or even have heard of it. I'm just throwing it out there as an example of what I like, in case you have.)They Can't Take That Away from Me - George Gershwin and Ira Gerswin (Song)
. Okay, this is the one where I actually want something specific: the dark sci-fi AU where memory wipes are on the table (my prompt said I wanted a bit of plot -- sorry about that and NOT REQUIRED -- I would love anything along the dark SF lines, from atmospheric to scientific worldbuilding to an angsty character study to... whatever you please!)… I hope that's okay! I know it's kind of a wacky prompt, and if you signed up hoping to do a more conventional take, well… convince me! :) (I don't remember anything about Crazy for You
, so don't worry about that canon at all.)General
: Things I love (I don't expect all of these by any means, this is just a random sampling of Things I Like): I love worldbuilding fic and plotty fic because I can't write it myself, but by the same token I know it is hard to write and I certainly don't expect it. I love character-driven fic that thinks hard about the ramifications of characters' choices. I love for there to be some sort of character arc or characters (and/or the reader) coming to a greater understanding of something or someone during a fic. I love and adore friendship/partnerships, especially platonic ones, of all gender-variety (although in these songs I don't know that I see much of either). I love it when all the characters are understandable rather than straight-out villainous or malicious, or where expectations of malice are subverted. I am more a fan of gen than anything else, but I'm open to both het and slash.
Things I don't like: gratuitous violence or gratuitous character death. (If it's logical, then okay — I'd be surprised if there wasn't
character death of some sort, robot or human, in a Chiron Beta Prime fic.) I'm not a huge fan of anything above PG-13 and will probably skim over anything really explicit unless something about the explicitness itself plays into character or plot development, in which case all bets are off :) I would prefer no darkfic for Scarborough Fair, unless you can make a really strong case for it. I think I'd prefer darkfic for Chiron Beta Prime to have some lightness/humor/sarcasm to it as well, but I'm not sure about that, and you could convince me otherwise. Darkfic for "Wish You Were Here" would be quite in keeping with the canon, and I'm kinda asking for darkfic of some sort (though it could have a happy ending) for "They Can't Take That Away From Me."
AU and such: I actively encourage AU for "Wish You Were Here" and "Demon Lover"; I mentioned SF prompts, but any other AU would be fine, as would canon-era fic. "Scarborough Fair" I would be fine with AU (a fantasy AU might be really interesting?) and also fine with folksy setting, anything is fine. Same for Abraham's Daughter — I'm wildly curious to see something set in our world, but I could see AU being brilliant as well. "Chiron Beta Prime" is a bit specific to a specific SF-nal setting, so for that one I think (?) I'd rather not have an AU.
Seriously, if you wanted to write a story that was just inspired by the imagery in these songs, I would be so up with that. I want you to take one of these songs (or more — I mean, if you, for example, wanted to make a SF-nal setting inspired by Pink Floyd and set a Scarborough-Fair-ish plot, I would be all over that
) and make something fascinating out of them, however you feel is the best way to do that, so don't let anything I've written here stop you from doing what YOU want to do with any of these songs! And thank you!