Monday, February 12, 2007


Okay, so I'm game for some Reality TV. But only those that have to do with singing. I guess it's because I can't and I admire people who can. So tonight, I watched another episode of NBC's "You're The One That I Want". America gets to decide who will be the next Sandy and Danny on Broadway.

The contestants each performed a song from a Broadway musical. They were given reviews by the three regular judges and this week they were joined by none other than Andrew Lloyd Webber himself.
Ahhhh. Doing what you love, then being critiqued by the best.
Sound familiar?

The comments were anywhere from "Brilliant", "The best Danny I've seen all night", to "We need to see more of YOU", "Put yourself into the performance. We hear the words but aren't feeling the emotion".
Even though I have the comments in quotes, those aren't the exact words, but you get the idea.
Anybody ever hear those words? Seen them written on a manuscript you've entered in a contest? Given a critique group?

I'm judging a contest right now. I have six different entries. One needs to be looked at by a critque group. One is a little slow starting but has potential. The other four?
They're basically the same book. Same heroine....same hero....different plot.

Not all heroines are clumsy, are they? They can't all meet the hero when they are dressed in rags, can they? And are they all really broke? Not a dime to their name?
If you've written this heroine, fine, keep writing her. (I've written versions of her.) But make her yours. In every way. Make her really clumsy, broke self leap off the pages and into our hearts.

With every contest I judge, I get another glimpse into the world of editors and agents. No wonder their job is so time consuming. No wonder sales are hard to come by. They look at the same manuscript all day long.

As I was listening to the judges on the TV tonight, all their comments applied to us as writers. Put ourselves into our work. Yes, there are only so many plot points, so many types of characters, but if we all put ourselves into our books, they'll be ours. They'll be different because there is no one like you. Me.
So search yourself for your God given gifts and put it all out there. (Or in there as in the manuscript.)
What can you bring to a story that's fresh, exciting and unique?



  1. Lindi,

    I am with you on loving reality t.v. - especially American Idol and as a matter of fact, I caught snippets of this show last night for the first time.

    Anyway, I appreciate your message. Agents, publishers, editors, and all of these professional's assistants reading what we submit are looking for fresh voices and a new story. Maybe we're telling the boy meets girl, falls in love with girl story but if we've honed it to be unique, something of us and God, it will capture their attention. We've got to write honestly, be real, and send the very best we can write - no exceptions.

  2. I've got unusual characters in my wip. Now if I could figure out what they're going to do! They're all nice and happy at the moment. I need to torment them somehow.

    I know! Maybe I should make them broke or clumsy! ;)

    Seriously, you make a good point, Lindi. We have to do something outstanding with our submission to get it noticed. We have to make it something an editor or agent can't resist.

    What is that special something? I wish I knew! I wish it were that easy to say. Unfortunately, it's not. That's why we have to keep trying. Again and again.

    And I think in that trying again and again, we eventually find our voice, which is a big step toward making our writing special, making it stand out.