Euphiction is a writing genre where writers do literary "cover versions" of specific songs, a marriage of musical inspiration with the written word, or a story that works like a three-minute single. The word combines euphonious and fiction.
To write a euphictional story, writers select a song and either use the song's title or a lyric from the song as the title of the story, and then write a story that reflects the song itself. The goal of the piece is to create a literary cover of the song, by emulating the song's message or theme, or simply replicating the mood of the song in the story. The song's influence can be overt or cryptic, or the song can simply be recognized as a kind of soundtrack to the story. Some euphictional writers challenge themselves further by inserting as many of the lyrics from the song into the story. It must be stressed, however, that permission to use lyrics from the musician or band is paramount, especially if seriously considering the publication of the story.
Euphiction is a form of flash fiction, where the maximum word count for the story is 1,000 words, not including the title. The imposed word limit helps to reflect the ephemeral nature of a song.
Euphiction, as a writing genre, fits neatly into Warren Ellis' concept of burst culture. Euphictional pieces, like the songs that inspire them, are meant to be digested quickly and provide readers with satisfying narratives in bursts. And like music, collected euphiction can be shuffled (read in any order) and encourages repeat readings.
The term euphiction was originally used in Cover Stories: A Euphictional Anthology, where ten writers each chose different albums and wrote ten stories based on the songs from the selected album. The book collected 100 euphictional stories inspired by the music of Combichrist, the Walkmen, By Hook or Crook, the Twilight Singers and others. The writers included in the anthology were Simon Neil, Derrek Carriveau, Christian A. Dumais (Empty Rooms Lonely Countries), T.P. Whited, Erik Schmidt, Suzi M. (Nemesis), A.C. Noia, Derek Handley (Introduction to the Japanese Language: Nihongo Ganbaroo), Matt Gamble and N. Pendleton (What Trees Have Done). An introduction was written by Freddie & Me creator Mike Dawson and an afterword by Florida Atlantic University Associate Director of Bands, Dr. Sean Murray. The anthology was collected and edited by Dumais.
In February 2010, N. Pendleton's Museioncast Volume 3, Episode 3: "Six Euphictions", which featured the music of Nest from their self-titled EP, was made available online. Pendleton imposed further restrictions to these euphictional pieces, such as no story could be longer than 500 words, no rewrites, and all six stories had to be recorded for the podcast in one take.
The first officially published euphictional piece was in issue 2 of Shock Totem Magazine, "Leave Me the Way I was Found," written by Christian A. Dumais.