Dear Jukebox DJ,
Hi there! May I compliment you on either your excellent taste in music or your willingness to try something new and write fic about it, or both? In any case, I’m really looking forward to reading what you come up with.
(I've only requested fic for my main gift, but I would be thrilled to receive either fic or art treats! Podfic is not really my thing, so if you're thinking, "I would like to make a nice thing for Minutia, I wonder what she'd like?" the answer is probably not "Podfic"--but if you're thinking "I have been seized with inspiration by one of these prompts, I must do a podfic for it, it is my artistic vision, but wouldn't it be weird to gift podfic to someone who just said she doesn't like podfic?" then the answer is that I will be very flattered and listen to it and probably like it.)
I don’t expect you to treat every line of the song/frame of the video (nb: I am requesting a couple of music videos for the first time this year. I’m trying to edit my letter accordingly so that a) the language is inclusive of videos and b) anything general I have to say makes sense as applies to videos, but if I mess up, sorry!) as canon the way you might for a book or TV show. If you want to do a close reading of the text, that’s cool! If some phrase or image or mood from the song or video suggests a story to you, then run with that and don’t worry too much about contradicting or fitting the rest of the canon in around it--and especially don’t worry about the prompts in this letter, which are really just there to give you ideas in case you’re stuck.However, I do have a few Do Not Wants:DNW (general):
-Long fic. Anything more than about 5000 words or so and I start getting anxious about reading and commenting in a timely fashion while still giving the story the attention it deserves, so I’d just rather you didn’t.
-Purely introspective stories with no action or character interaction
-Body image issues. I don’t mind brief mentions if it’s canon, but please don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on a character hating their body.
-It-was-only-a-dream type endingsDNW (smut):
-That thing where one or more of the people involved doesn’t know what sex is or realize they’re having it
-Religion kink--like, naughty nuns and priests and what have you
-One partner calling out another’s name during orgasm
General likes: I really like all kinds of fic, from silly fluff, action and adventures and to smut (all gender combinations and as many characters as you can keep track of body parts of welcome) and hurt/comfort. Feel free to take it darker, too: violence, character death, betrayal, consent issues sexual and otherwise, bad things happening to characters I like AND characters I like doing bad things. I’m open to different POVs and tenses, and unusual fic formats like poetry and epistolary/documentary fic.
A brief and really not exhaustive list of story elements I especially like: Comfort after a nightmare, self-sacrifice, loyalty and trust issues, platonic bed-sharing, hugs, language geekery, communication issues, breakups (either the kind where the original relationship is eventually patched up, or where the people involved manage to forge a different but still mutually satisfactory type of relationship afterward, or where nothing is okay again and everything hurts), ethical dilemmas, food porn and food preparation, parenting/childcare, elections, and exploration of canon-appropriate religious themes.
For this exchange in particular: I like stories with speculative elements best. I’m a big fan of the power of science fiction and fantasy to concretize metaphors, so if you’re listening to the song and wondering, “Is this line meant literally or figuratively? Figuratively, right?” you will make me very happy by going for the literal interpretation. Similarly, for the videos, I'd prefer if the weird stuff happening in them was actually happening, rather than being a metaphor for someone's feelings or whatever.
I don't expect the character in the story who corresponds to the narrator of the song (if there is one) to have the same gender as the vocalist. Go with what you think would make a more interesting story, not with what the singer’s voice sounds like. (Except Oleander, I would rather you kept that one f/f if you write it.)
Okay, on to the specific prompts!Take Flight - Lindsey Stirling (Music Video)link
What's the significance of the blue flower, and how does it make its way to the protagonist at the beginning? Is it a message (possibly from her future self)? Can you tell me anything about her research? It looks like she might be designing something, but we never actually see her building anything. The Escher-like sequence seems like it might support a time-travel reading, where she's chasing her future self through a surreal landscape and never quite catching up. Or is it her clone or her evil twin? Anything about the different worlds she travels through would also be great.The Shrine/An Argument - Fleet Foxes (Music Video)link
What this looks like to me is that the ungulate is the sole survivor of a massacre, and they are on a quest to avenge their people, and the wolf and humanoids and serpent-creatures are their enemies. I'd love to see the whole background of that fleshed out, especially the ungulate’s relationship with the creature whose severed head they lick at the beginning--were they lovers or parent and child or comrades or rivals or what? The whole bit after the serpent pulls the ungulate down into the water is ambiguous and full of possibilities, too. Is it a vision the ungulate sees while drowning, and what does it mean? Who is the humanoid who emerges from the ungulate’s body after it’s ripped apart--another representation/form of the ungulate’s personality, or a separate person altogether? I am intrigued by the idea that, whoever they are, they're the one telling the story. Does the way it ends mean triumph or failure for the ungulate, or some combination of both?Fistful of Rain - Warren Zevon (Song)link
Apparently the protagonist of this song is coming into conflict with an enemy who has powers over the flow of time and nature of reality--what with being able to turn diamonds back into coal and all--and maybe their entire life is a fiction manufactured by this enemy? But their mind is fighting back against it although they don’t totally understand what’s going on? And the only way they have of fighting back is a metaphor for embracing the transient nature of reality?Oleander - Sarah Harmer (Song)link
Is the narrator of this song singing to a woman, or to a houseplant? If you just look at the words, it might be a houseplant--but it's a houseplant she's got weirdly intense feelings towards. I like to think that this is the story of a human woman and her nature-spirit ex-girlfriend who she would like to get back together with. I like the sense that the narrator has realized and learned from the mistakes that she made the first time around, and I would be interested in either a happy or bittersweet ending.Long Steel Grass (Noche Espagnola) - Edith Sitwell and William Walton (Song)link
So according to the link with the lyrics above, Edith Sitwell said this was about a couple of cats having a love affair, which I guess is as good interpretation as any other. There is definitely some kind of courtship as battle or battle as courtship going on here, on a weird and epic scale which brings to mind space opera or the faerie court. I’m particularly (though not exclusively) interested in the white soldiers--what does a grunt’s-eye view of this conflict and/or reproductive process look like?Great White Bear - Dear Reader (Song)link
I really love the opening lines of this song, with the contrast between the mythic idea of hiding in the belly of a great white bear, and the very physical, even disgusting details of it. It seems to me that the continuation of the song is explaining how he got into this desperate situation. The obvious interpretation is that he and she are romantically involved, and her father disapproves to the point that he’s trying to kill them--in which case, my question would be, why? And what sort of power does he have to be able to pursue them so relentlessly and seemingly with impunity? But I would also be super interested in alternate interpretations of the fix they’re in, the terrible sin, and what exactly they’re trying to escape from. (As well as, as usual, alternate gender interpretations of the characters.) How about what happens afterwards? Does his ploy work, and where does he go from there? Is she dead, and/or is there some chance for them to be reunited?The End is the Beginning - Two Steps From Hell (Song) link
I really like the weird and epic feel of this song, the sense of the vast scale of the worldbuilding and the tragedy. It might be a story of an attempt at colonizing a new planet that went wrong, the ensuing conflict, and the return to space of the survivors? On the other hand, the dancing dead remind me of the Cherokee myth of the deluge
, with its own cataclysmic themes.Howlin' Bones - Hannah Aldridge (Song)link
I like to think that the narrator of this song is an actual malevolent supernatural entity--maybe even the capital-D Devil?--or a necromancer, and that the interlocutor thinks he's gotten the better of her in some bargain, but is about to discover how mistaken he is. I really enjoy the Weird West feel of it, and the contrast between the intimate scale of the events (with the repeated references to "this town") and the possibly cosmic powers of the narrator.Rich in Love - Colin Linden (Song)link
This seems like a song about a mortal/standard human in a relationship with a fairy? Or other supernatural creature? Who has to go on a dream quest to his lover from some sort of supernatural malady. I really like the mythological and fairy-tale resonances of it--it brings to mind stories like Orpheus and Eurydice and the Twelve Dancing Princessess. I'm curious about the nature of the trouble that the lover is having, what the mortal finds in the dream world, and how it ends for them--in tragedy, in a break-up, in a successful (and perhaps mutual) rescue?
If for some reason you want to stalk me , I am dead easy to stalk; I'm minutia_r (or occasionally minutia-r) all over the internet: here, AO3, tumblr, deviantart, ff.net, 8tracks, and probably one or two other places I don't recall off-hand.
Thank you! You are awesome, I am really looking forward to seeing what you make for me, and I hope you get great stories and/or art out of this exchange, too!