miramira: book stack (Default)
[personal profile] miramira
Hi! Thanks for writing for me. I love the creativity this fest brings out (not to mention all the awesome new selections it adds to my playlist), and I'm looking forward to this year's line-up.

You've probably already noticed that my song preferences lean more toward narratives and character studies than mood pieces, and you'll pick up pretty quickly from the prompts that I'm fond of fantasy and sci-fi scenarios, although that's by no means a requirement. If you want to play around with crossover ideas between the songs, feel free.

Other common traits my favorite stories share (and these prompts are geared toward writers, although if you're looking to give out potential treats and see something that inspires you artistically anyway, go for it) include dialogue, humor, worldbuilding (including background characters who feel like actual people), and situations and choices that aren't always easy or straightforward to manage. The only thing I really go out of my way to avoid reading is torture porn: I don't mind unhappy endings or dark themes, but I'd rather not have the primary focus of the piece be systematically breaking down a character and leaving them broken in both body and spirit.

In terms of romance, if you don't include it or don't take things above a PG rating in songs that involve couples, I won't mind. If you do decide to get explicit, I'd much rather read about awkward encounters that drive the plot forward or reveal something about the characters than mind-blowing sex. I tend to prefer het or femslash to slash if given a choice, although I'll happily read the latter. As for do not wants, I'm not a big fan of bodily fluids not typically associated with sex, improbable biology (e.g. a/b/o, tentacles, etc.), or noncon beyond a brief allusion in a character's backstory if needed.

Okay, on to prompts. Please don't take the relative length of my ramblings as a sign of how interested I am in one song over another; if it's here, I promise that's because I really want a story about it. Good luck, and have fun!

April Come She Will - Simon & Garfunkel (song)
Music | Lyrics

In restless walks she'll prowl the night...

The months here are probably intended as a metaphor for a rapidly fading infatuation, and you can certainly write it that way...but I confess, I'm more interested in the idea of a lover with alien or supernatural qualities (whether or not those are immediately apparent) who comes into the singer's life only to literally die in August. Either way, what is it about those few months that make them the only time this romance can flourish, and what triggers the change?

Also, I'm intrigued by the song's use of future tense: is this a premonition or prophecy of some kind, or a thing that happens every year, or a Groundhog Day-style time loop/curse that won't end until the lovers or someone else find a way to disrupt the cycle? And if the narrator does have the power to change things, do they want to? Would they rather their love live a long, happy life with them, or never meet her at all?

Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles (song)
Music | Lyrics

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

Even without the accompanying Yellow Submarine animation, this song has always struck me as being set in some kind of not-too-distant dystopia despite the old-fashioned strings. What is "the face in a jar by the door," and what is its purpose? Are Eleanor and Father McKenzie lonely because they're clinging to a vanished way of life? Are they threats to the system in some way, or merely forgotten people? Or is this song more about missed connections and might-have-beens - and if so, when might Eleanor and Father McKenzie's paths have crossed?

Fairytale of New York - The Pogues (song)
Music | Lyrics

I could've been someone/Well, so could anyone...

This should by all rights be a complete downer - it is, after all, the story of a soured relationship between two burnt-out substance abusers, one of whom would apparently rather die than drag things out another year (and maybe already has?) - and yet the upbeat melody and the continual return to memories of happier Christmases in the refrain combine to give it a weirdly hopeful note. Fill in the gaps and tell me how things got to where they are. What was the relationship like when it was good that gives it this staying power even now? Or maybe the "fairytale" part of the title isn't as bitterly cruel as it seems: is there still a way to revive all those old dreams locked away, or at least some kind of happy ending possible for one or both of these characters?

As a side note, one of the other things I like about this song is the way the references to other songs within it lend it weight and realism. I don't know if "Galway Bay" or "The Rare Ould Mountain Dew" will provide any kind of inspiration or insight beyond that, but I was curious myself, so here are the links just in case:

--- Galway Bay (Bing Crosby version): Music | Lyrics
--- The Rare Ould Mountain Dew (Pogues and Dubliners version): Music | Lyrics

The Future - Leonard Cohen (song)
Music | Lyrics

When they said repent (repent), I wonder what they meant...

Some people deal with anxiety over current events by retreating into escapist fantasy for comfort. I've discovered I prefer to lean into the skid. And there's a lot in this song that feels...let's go with "eerily relevant to the present moment in history." So give me a dystopian future that's fifteen minutes from now and seconds to midnight, with or without literal apocalyptic flourishes. Or given that the song implies the narrator's been around a while, you could also look at other would-be end times they've endured, and whether there are any differences between them.

Goodbye Earl - Dixie Chicks (music video)
Video Link | Lyrics

She held Wanda's hand and they worked out a plan...

This is a straightforward enough song that you probably just could write directly from it, but there are two things about the video in particular that catch my attention:

--- What's the story with Zombie Earl? Is he nicer undead? Is he back so he can learn to be nicer? Or are Mary Anne and Wanda going to have to dispatch him again?

--- There's probably a way to just listen to the song without shipping Mary Anne and Wanda, but I confess I don't know how you'd manage it after watching the video. So, with that in mind: why did Mary Anne leave in the first place, what was her life like before she came back, and what's their relationship like post-Earl?

Of course, if you want to focus on some of the side characters, that's fine, too. Do the cops know what's going on, and just not care? Does the sleazy lawyer have a bigger role to play? (A past prompt by someone else suggested Mary Anne and Wanda might have a side business helping - or "helping" - out other victims/survivors, which is an idea I really like.) And what is the Dixie Chicks' in-universe connection to everything?

Goodnight Moon - Shivaree (song)
Music | Lyrics

There's a shark in the pool and a witch in the tree...

The creepy atmospherics and tense beat of this song do such a good job of grabbing you and not letting go. I tend to envision the singer as a monster hunter (maybe retired; maybe from the kind of universe where you're better equipped to fight monsters as a child because you have more imagination, and/or where you're not expected to live too long in this particular career field) who's worried about her work following her home. But if you think the problem is with the house itself, or prefer a less supernatural form of stalking evil, or think it's all in the narrator's head, that works, too.

Also, who's the "you" the song is addressed to, and why do they have the power to make the fears go away? Are they the monster hunter? Or are they actually the monster?

Roundtable Rival - Lindsey Stirling (music video)
Video Link

I want to know everything about how music works in this world. Are all conflicts that can't be solved with words handled this way? Is it a thing anyone can learn (and by extension, is everyone who picks up an instrument handling a weapon), or do you need to have a special talent? Is dancing considered a separate ability? What about singing? How frequently do musicians go bad? Do local entertainers function as a type of (un)official law enforcement/warning to potential outlaws that this town is protected, or is Lindsey's character unusual in having two jobs? And if it's the latter, how long has she been there, and what's her origin story? Have the townsfolk always known about her skills, or is this a new discovery for them?

The Way - Fastball (song)
Music | Lyrics

You can see their shadows wandering off somewhere...

So where were they going? Did they have a destination in mind beyond "somewhere different"? Was it where they eventually wound up, assuming they got anywhere at all? And for that matter, who were they? An ordinary suburban couple, escaping their dull lives (and possibly their marriages)? Celebrities, desperate to dodge the paparazzi and experience a normal life for a bit? Escapees from a cult? Explorers? Criminals? Spies? Superheroes? Aliens? Something else entirely?

Then again, you could always focus on the kids (and anyone else who got left behind) and how it affected them, or whether or not they ever found out what happened. Or who knows, maybe they set off on their own quest for answers. The possibilities are endless.

Wonder - Natalie Merchant (song)
Music | Lyrics

Know this child will be gifted...

I have been trying to figure out since I first heard this song whether the "wonder" in question is something the outside world sees as a positive or a negative, and I still can't get a clear enough handle on what it might be to even begin trying to answer. (It doesn't help that for a long time, I heard "as far as they see" as "and they smile as they see," which I think I still prefer as either a supportive affirmation or a total jerk move.) So tell me what the deal is. Was the narrator born this way (heh), or did it - whatever it is - happen suddenly, or has it evolved? And what, if anything, are they planning to do with their power to astonish?

The World Belongs to You - Jonathan Coulton (song)
Music | Lyrics

As they turn to go, you can forgive them, for they know not what they do...

I figure there are three ways to interpret who this song is about. The first is a literal Messiah or Chosen One or some other type of hero with reality-warping abilities who's not handling the power well, or did what they were meant to do and doesn't know how to handle the transition to whatever comes next. The second is someone who just thinks they're all-powerful, like a celebrity or a politician or a CEO, and is about to get a rude awakening. And the third lies somewhere in between, like a cult leader or con artist who's losing track of what's real and what isn't - or who maybe wasn't completely lying when they claimed to be special. Whichever one appeals most to you, I'm eager to see where it leads. And if you want to focus more on the angels (or acolytes, or groupies, or yes-men, or whatever they really are - including any not-so-benevolent options), that works, too.
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