Thursday, February 23, 2006

Don't forget the "p" word

As a writer, I’m thinking about some things said on American Idol last night. But first, let me tell you, I never thought I’d spend my nights so riveted to a reality show. I’m a busy gal, ya know? But my girls got me—and my husband—into it last season, and what can I say? We’re entranced.


Last night we heard some very fine vocals, yeah, but a couple of the guys were entertainers! I mean, they owned the whole package. The looks, the moves, the ability to play to the audience. As Simon put it, they had “star” quality.

Got me thinking about the whole writing game, and especially, about something said to me at a conference. I’d brought a manuscript to the Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference (an awesome place, by the way), and someone I highly respect critiqued it for me. Basically what she said is this: It’s clean. You’ve crossed every “t”, and dotted ever “i. But there’s no passion. Zip. This writer and editor, someone who barely knew me at the time, went on to say that she didn’t think I had passion for my own story!

She was right.

There’s something to be said for writing a clean manuscript. For taking the time to organize your thoughts, to double check for spelling errors, to get the facts straight. Frankly, though, those things are not enough if the story lacks passion. If I as the writer don’t love it, how can I expect my readers to care?

Back to American Idol, yes, there are a number of fine vocalists vying for the prize. Something tells me, though, that the winner will be the one who’s both skilled and passionate about what they do. Both sound like excellent goals for writers too, don't you think?


momrn2 said...

Well said!! Nothing worse than something that is entirely boring when there are so many other things to be doing!

HolyMama! said...

very true. But I"m more the other way. All passion, and the clean-ness of a manuscript is SUCH a hassle. Certainly balance is called for!

Chaos-Jamie said...

I keep getting the p word: "powerful." But they don't like the cleanliness factor. Too many adverbs, too many passives, blah, blah, blah. "But it is powerful!"

When do we get to have both?