Sunday, March 6, 2011

Making it your own

I watch American Idol with my family occasionally and I've noticed something.  People try to get on the show who can't sing, but everyone can tell that.  Here's the thing that most people don't do and viewers don't notice.  The judges often tell the contestants to "take a song and make it your own."  What usually comes out is the same song with a dash of what I call "soulful moaning" liberally slathered onto it.  Picture how most soul singers sing the national anthem at a sporting event and you'll get what I mean.

To me, this isn't making it their own.  It's showing a lack of creativity, but the contestants just don't get it.  I'm not sure that the judges can really tell sometimes, but in the early stages, they don't care as long as you can actually sing.  I can't blame these people - they're young and haven't had the experience to know what the difference is.

The interesting thing for me is that when I started writing fiction, I started to notice the things I was reading.  I picked up a thriller by a popular author and had to put it down because the writing was terrible and the plot was too confusing.  I read another book and got pissed off that the ending didn't resolved anything and I felt like I'd wasted my time and money reading it.  Another had the most annoying dialogue effects imaginable.  Now, I'm reading something that's got me spellbound with the creativity of the plot, the perfect level of detail added to a scene bringing it to life without bogging down the action, and a writing style that's engaging, unique, and easy to read.  This guy is the American Idol winner.