Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's All About the Song

An agent recently blogged about the comparisons between American Idol and an author's journey. She was dead-on about all of them, including those singers (and authors) who don't realize how great they are, to those singers (and authors) who don't realize there is still some work to do.

But it got me thinking about another comparison.

I'm not one of those people who always dreamed of being a writer. I would write - all the time. Journals, diaries, short stories. Therapy, basically. I just never imagined that could be a career. Besides, my real dream was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stop laughing.

Though my singing "career" self-imploded, I'd like to think I've learned some hard won lessons I can now apply to writing.

So, back to American Idol. Ever notice how the judges go on and on about song choice? There's a reason for that.

There are hundreds thousands of great singers who never "make it". I personally know one of them. She sounds like Janis Joplin, but better. I've thought about it for years, and sometimes it does come down to the song.

Now once you have an established fan base, the rules shift a bit. But until then, people are buying a song. If you're lucky, you happen to be the one singing it. Not that you can sing it badly or off-key and still be a success(but let's face it, that has happened).

Let's translate this to the publishing world. You need a story - a great story - either you take a trope or theme and turn it on its head, or your "voice" is so fresh and engaging the story sounds brand new.

The other side of it is knowing your voice and style - you'll often see the judges questions a contestant's sound choice. This almost always comes down to a younger singer who is still unsure of who they are. They tend to be all over the place with style and delivery. Consistency is key.

The same could be applied to writers who may not know their own strengths yet - maybe they long to write a tear-jerker that will pull at the heartstrings and cause readers to curl up in a fetal position. Instead, their real strength lies in telling a humorous story, but they don't know it yet. They need time to grow and figure it out.

Can you think of other comparisons? I'd love to hear them.

No comments:

Post a Comment