Saturday, February 24, 2007

American Author

I had never watched “American Idol” until last year when I began watching it with my youngest daughter because it gave us something to talk about. (She’s in middle school. Need I say more?) I didn’t really expect to like it, but I completely fell in love with the show, although I can’t bear to watch it before it progresses to the live broadcasts where all the contestants can actually sing. However, seeing some of the clips from the early audition rounds made me wonder what it would be like if there were a similar show for writers.

Think about it. All the best books on writing (and all the most popular editor and agent blogs) tell writers that their first lines absolutely MUST hook the reader. What better way to test your first line than auditioning it before a panel of judges? Let’s say . . . Anna Genoese, Stephen King, and Miss Snark. You can bet I’d make damn sure I didn’t have any passive voice or clichés or general dullness in my opening line before I read it in front of that trio! (The announcer should be Michael Bublé, for eye candy!)

Then, after making it through the first-line round, the contestants would read their first paragraphs the next week, with the survivors reading their first pages the following week. When there were only two contestants remaining, they would read their entire first chapters for the finale, and viewers would vote to choose the winner of the publishing contract.

Yeah, okay. I know a show like this isn’t likely, but it’s a good exercise for writers to see if their openings need work, and it would be a fun game for critique groups to play.

Here’s mine: Jess always woke a second before she could complete the castration—curses, foiled again.

Well, Steve-O probably wouldn't like it, but maybe the ladies would vote me through.

~Stay true to yourself, and your dreams will come true!