Tuesday, February 24, 2009

She's Drunk Again...Stephanie Doyle and Suspect Lover

American Idol is back … and so am I.

I have a book out this month and Molly asked me if I wanted to blog. You know so I could promote it. See Maureen’s post about Self-Promotion for my thoughts on this. I suck at it.

Okay here it goes… I really liked writing Suspect Lover. It was a much more emotional book for me and the sex turned out very HOT. If you want you should buy it and let me know what you think about it. I would love to hear people’s opinions.

That’s it. That’s the extent of my self-promotion.

Now we can turn to something really important – the new format on AI. This year they’ve opted for 36 contestants instead of 24. Three groups of 12 where only the top guy, top girl and the next top vote getter (be it guy or girl) get through. I’ve done the math and my guess is this is going to mean a wild card night to pull out another 3 from the scrap heap. Go Anoop!

This is cut throat. This is ‘one shot and done’ type stuff. Simon said to more than one hopeful… (Paraphrasing – insert English accent here) “This was your one shot… in front of twenty-five million people… and you blew it.”

Very difficult to hear, yes, but the truth in a way only Simon can deliver it. It got me to thinking how important it is to make that one shot count. In writing I think we have a little more wiggle room. Write a book and get a bad review you have the opportunity to write another. Get a rejection from an editor/agent you can still submit to someone else.

But Simon’s brutal words brought home to me that a writer MUST make the most of each chance. Each outing in publishing - be it a query letter, manuscript, contracted book… must simply be the absolute best you can do. The competition – especially now – is just too fierce.
And what the Idol singers need to consider holds true for many writers.

Did you pick the right song for you? Translated – Did you pick the right type of story for you? If your strength is plot – did you go with a high action novel or some character driven angst ridden novel that falls flat because it’s not in your range?

Did you take a risk? Translated – Did you push yourself to the edge of that range mentioned above but instead of missing the mark you turned it into something fantastic? Safe is for losers in a competition like this.

Were you original? Did you bring something new to the table? Translated – Were you original and did you bring something new to the table. This premise crosses all art. You want to do vampires – go for it, but what new and different element are you going to bring to a vampire story to make it stand out.

Did you practice so that you don’t forget the words? Translated – Have you been working on your craft? Talent will get you so far -- no doubt. But when you’re talking about doing this over the long haul you’re going to need to have those writing skills mastered and at your fingertips so you can call them up at will without having to think too hard about them.

If you only had one shot, one story, one chance to sell it – how good would that book have to be before you let it out the door? So why shouldn’t everything you do in writing be exactly that good. I’m getting ready to start a new project and I have pledged to keep Simon’s voice in the back of my mind the whole time.


Molly O'Keefe said...

Steph it's always good to have you here! I have not watched a single episode of AI this year! Can you believe it? But since husband and I just watched the finale of The Wire last night - I guess it's back to regularly scheduled programming.

Amy Ruttan said...

You are right Stephanie. One shot.

That's my mantra, which I've borrowed from Eminem "If you had one moment, one shot, would you capture it? Or would you let it slip away?"

And I do realize the irony of a big fat pregnant thirty something listening to Eminem. ;)

Congrats on your new release!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for having me Molly!

And Amy when I want to get really pumped up before sitting down at my computer a little Eminem is just the trick.


Sinead M said...

Steph, welcome back to DWT... I think at this point, you might be an honorary Drunk Writer.

Great post about the one shot. The temptation to let a book go too early is so great. but right now, the market is so tough, a book has to be almost perfect

Maureen McGowan said...

FABulous post, Steph! So glad you stopped by for a drink.

My problem right now is one common to many AI contestants, picking the right song. And maybe not knowing the industry well enough... Sometimes in the romance world, I feel like the guy who got kicked off Project Runway Canada last week who didn't know who Yves St. Laurent was... Yes, really. And he admitted it!

And the new format on AI is BRUTAL isn't it??? My only issue with it, is I feel like it's given a huge advantage to the people the producers featured during the audition process... Like oil-rigger guy, who was so not one of the best last week... Still, people love him.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Sinead Yeah! I'm an honorary drunk! I love it.

Maureen - I agree. Oil rigger guy had an advantage because we knew his story.

My other issue this year is that everybody has to have a sob story. Blind guy, widower guy, dangerous oil rigger guy, taking care of sick mom guy.

Sad stories - true - but it just sounds like it's more about the story than the singing.

As for knowing the industry - good luck. Part of the reason I can't wait for Nationals is because that's when I catch up on all the biz news that everybody else has known since January.

You should have seen me when Bombshell croaked. I'm bouncing around with a two book contract happier than a pig in mud. And people were like ... you didn't know? Bombshell is dead.

Now that I think about it - it was the same way with Duets and Flipside!

Molly O'Keefe said...

Hey so I just started Stephanie's book and let me tell you - Steph you upped your game!! Awesome opener, the perfect intriguing amount of info. I love that your hero LIKES your heroine - especially in this set up. (Hero and heroine have been matchmade (?) by an exclusive service) - both want the same things - marriage and family. He's just not romantic about it, but he is smitten by her, and you show it so perfectly!!!!

And sex in chapter 3 - really, right out of the park!!

Cadence Denton said...

Hmm...I love Simon's verbal abuse but never applied it to my work. Thanks for shining the spotlight appropriately!

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