A New Author's Guide to Writing Good Fan Fiction

How to Write a Well-Written Songfic

Who is Mary Sue?
How to Write a Well-Written Songfic
What is Love: Writing Romance

A songfic once was a creative twist on the standard-issue vignette, but then the fangirls came. Now, its reputation is in tatters because of countless butcherings of actually pretty decent songs. Here's how you can help redeem the songfic.

Step One Find a song. If you need help, check out the Recommended Songs list on the right.

Step Two Think about how you're going to use the song. Will it describe an event or a character? What's the mood of the song? You may have to change the word choice and flow of the fic depending on the mood. *IMPORTANT NOTE* Do NOT just take the song and change around some of the words. That is dishonest and unoriginal. Use the lyrics of the song to help you convey the mood of your words.

Step Three Write the fic without the lyrics. Keep thinking about how the song will fit with what you're writing. Hip Tip: When you do put the lyrics in, make sure they're in italics or a different font so your readers can differentiate your words from the song.

Step Four Add the lyrics in the appropriate places. This means far away from quotation marks. Again, look at your writing. Do the lyrics mesh with the prose?

Step Five Put on the finishing touches. This isn't for the faint-hearted, but it's sometimes fun to play around with punctuation in the lyrics. For example: What have I become, my sweetest friend? has a quite different meaning from What have I become? My sweetest friend.

Extremely Important Note! Lyrics do NOT belong:

1) In dialogue
2) In monologues
3) In character descriptions

Also, put a disclaimer up saying that the song does not belong to you (if you wrote it, mention that too). This way you won't break any copywright laws. It's also good to keep in mind that Fanfiction.net does not permit songfics of any kind. You will be kicked off of FFN if the mods see you wrote a songfic.

To see where lyrics should go, check out a songfic I wrote:


Recommended Songs

~In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel)
~When She Loved Me (Toy Story 2 Soundtrack)
~No More (Into the Woods)*
~Children Will Listen (Into the Woods)
~Mr. Brightside (The Killers)
~Hurt (Nine Inch Nails)**
~Only (Nine Inch Nails)
~Maybe This Time (Cabaret)
~Forever Young (Alphaville)
~Who Wants to Live Forever (Queen)

*This is an awesome song for fics exploring the relationship between Luke and Darth Vader.

**Proceed with caution when using this song. It's very common and many a badfic has utilized it. Put a unique spin on it and you might be able to pull it off.

"You're talking a lot, but you're not saying anything"--Talking Heads