*UPDATE: POLL CLOSED EARLY*
Due to suspicious voting activity, the poll has been closed. Official results will be announced Tuesday in the SIDEBAR. →
Hey everyone, thanks for sending in your “Writing is Like American Idol Because…” entries! I loved reading them and appreciated all the writing insights. Below are my seven favorites. To vote for the winner, go to the sidebar. Voting will end at noon on Tuesday, and please only vote ONCE.
I am Meredith Grey. Afraid, insecure, longing for what I don’t have. Loving McDreamy with a passion (my writing), yet afraid of him at the same time. Will he/my writing just end of giving me more heartache? I’d much rather shake my Meredith skin and climb into Susan Boyle’s any day…plucked or unplucked eyebrows. She believes in herself. She believes in her talent and the ability to pull it off. And, she has never given up. I long to look my judges in the eye and prove them wrong.
H. Scott Hunt said…
Randy: “Yo, yo, yo. Check it out. Dude. I was thinking all week long, like, man, how is he gonna do with this genre. But Dude, let me tell ya; you knocked it out of the park!”
Kara: “I’ve got just three words: You-Could-Write-The-Phonebook!”
Paula: “I…let’s…I think…what…your cover looks really great tonight.”
Simon: “Honestly, I don’t know what these other three were reading. Your story was rubbish and quite boring really, and I think the ramblings of a third grader’s essay on what he did this past summer would have been more enjoyable. I really couldn’t wait until it was over. I think you’re in serious trouble this week.”
1. The best have quiet confidence; the worst have no doubts.
2. The same errors recur. Judges struggle to find new words to critique.
3. Industry insiders keep the gates, but the public decides who wins.
4. Makeovers help.
Writing is like American Idol because
everybody has a dream,
only a few dreamers
are brave enough to try
to turn that dream into reality,
only a few of those get an opportunity
to reach an audience with their work,
enough other people have to see value
in the expression of that dream
for the dreamer to be successful.
It starts with a bang. An idea strikes like a plane flattening itself against the earth. Then comes confusion, the need for direction. A clear path presents itself and you begin to write, navigating your way through a jungle of characters and conflicts.
Finally, the next step–the hatch, a closed door you have to open. The quest for an agent feels impossible, but you work at it and eventually blow the thing open with your fantastic query.
But the journey continues. Now inside the hatch, you must keep working away, revising over and over to the rhythm of a button being pressed. Finally, the sky turns purple–an unforgettable moment when the book finally sells. You’re in a different world now, but you build relationships with the people around as you work toward a common goal, always striving to reach that next level without forgetting where you came from.
Smiling confidently, you stand before the judges, as an amazing talent finally discovered. People have said they admired your work and that you could make a living at this. You unveil upon them your gift.
Their apathy and dissatisfaction pierce your heart as your eyes blur with tears. Are they blind? How can they not see your talent? You are so not like the delusional others who are just copycat writers. You are different. You can do this. You must do this. This is your life.
The final judge takes a deep breath and leans forward. You can’t breathe. Maybe he will give you some validation. Besides, his vote is the most important. If he likes you, then you’re in.
“Forgettable,” he says with a snide accent, “utterly forgettable.”
He hands back your manuscript and recommends a total re-write. “We are looking for the next Robert Jordan, not Jordin Sparks.”
Mark H. said…
Like a passenger climbing on Oceanic Flight 815, the journey starts peacefully. We’re cruising along, putting words to paper like nobody’s business. Yup, a whole chapter.
Then, the crash. The realization that this is a ton of work. We don’t know if we can last long enough to survive. We scratch out a living (or novel) using whatever scraps and spare parts we can find.
But this is no ordinary island. There are rules. Whether it’s “show, don’t tell” or pushing the right button, you’re bound to hear about it every 108 minutes. People who break them are banished, except for a few who are celebrated and granted leadership positions, like John Locke. Agents and publishers live in an uneasy truce, like Dharma and the Others, and we don’t understand them or fit in. Eventually, we are accepted…but then we have to turn back time, and start over again. Sigh…revisions…
Camille Cannon Eide wrote the following. She’s a client and not eligible to win, but I love it so I wanted you to see it.
“Research is like LOST: by the time your question is answered, six more have arisen. In publishing, Jack is the sales director who is convinced it’s up to him to save this rag-tag outfit. Locke is the acquisitions editor who believes there is magic here and will do whatever it takes to convince the others. Hurley is the agent—he’s connected, knows what he likes, and is always there for you, dude. And he’s accustomed to dealing with imaginary people. The Island is the writer’s mind: an endless source of disturbing manifestations that normal people are too afraid to explore. And talk about writer’s block: Kate is the pathetic writer who can’t figure out who her flippin hero is and changes her mind more often than Ben lies. Desmond is . . . just plain cool. And the current whereabouts of Sun and Jin’s baby is a MYSTERY.”
Some of the entries had a line or two I thought were insightful:
Holly Bodger: Yet, even if I succeed in making it to the very few who are published (top 12), the only thing that matters is whether or not the public will vote for me (buy my book).
Rose McCauley: My writing journey is like Lost because I am continually uncovering surprises about my characters and myself. I am learning that my characters’ back-stories need to be told in snippets, in active mode and only as much as is absolutely necessary.
Linda: Idol judges watch person after person sing, easily telling which ones had mamas lie to them.
Kat: It’s about finding that wow-factor, that special something that silences the nay-sayers. It’s about finding your voice, and showing the world that you have something worth paying attention to.
Chatty Kelly: But I won’t let their vote define my worth, because sometimes Taylor Hicks beats Chris Daughtry.
Jill: Sometimes people get passed over in the writing world and in AI, but they study and work and come back again the next time to try again. The only way to guarantee you’ll never make it in the publishing world or on AI is to stop trying.
Thanks for all the entries!
P.S. Sorry for my schizophrenic approach to blog design. I get bored of my blog really quickly so it seems I frequently change it up. Maybe one of these days I’ll get a design I really love so I can stick with it for longer!
Rachelle Gardner, Christian literary agent, WordServe Literary Group, Colorado.