Oh, goodness! Did we have a great day with the Killer Voice gals yesterday?? Voicities? Did we determine if that was a word? Anyway, one more round of congratulations to you!!
Okay, back to today. Audra here. Today, we’re going from the excitement of contracts gleaned from the Killer Voice competition to a competition that molds the winner right before your very eyes. My personal favorite show of all time…The Voice! (I think I’ve mentioned this a time or two, and it always bears repeating!!)
For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Voice, it’s a performance competition where contestants perform a blind audition hoping their “voice” will capture the interest of one of the 4 judges. If the voice they hear stirs enough interest, they tap their button and their chairs turn and they see the artist for the first time. The interest of the judge is based solely on the voice alone, there are no costumes, dance moves, or appearances that sway the judge.
Talent alone buys you a ticket for the ride.
Like I said, many of you know what an avid fan I am of the program. Yes, the show is entertaining, especially the banter between the award-winning judges who never fail to make me laugh. But more than that, it’s the respect the judges show the contestants as they work their way up the ladder of vocal success that impresses me season after season.
Enough of my praise for this show, let’s get back to why I need to talk about it in Seekerville.
This last season, the selfless mentoring offered by the judges captured my attention. Each of the judges brought a unique perspective to the competition that when grouped together, showed the viewing audience what it’s like to take a singer with obvious talent and then mold, and buff, and tweak, and manicure that person until the finished product is a polished performer.
OMG, do I ever wish I had the Blake Shelton of the publishing world bringing out the writing potential in me!! Oh my, I digress…
Anyway, let’s take a peek at how each judge challenged the singer and brought out the best in them and how we can incorporate that advice in our writing:
Pharrell Williams has a great talent for tactfully critiquing a performance without offending the contestant. He’s all excited and up on his feet for artists that perform well, whether they are on his team or not. In the same way, he listens intently to performances and formulates helpful feedback to the ones who are not quite there yet. A prime example of this happened while the contestants were still in the battle rounds. A gal on, I think Gwen’s team, sang beautifully. Her song was perfect as was her physical performance. Pharrell acknowledged this and applauded her talent, BUT he went on to say he didn’t buy her performance because he could tell it didn’t come from the heart. They were just words sung perfectly. No connection; no emotional attachment. No heart.
Lesson learned: You can create a perfect plot, write a flawless manuscript, yet if the story doesn’t come from the heart, the reader will know it. Don’t write to trends if that isn’t your bag. Write what you know; write what you love. Honesty builds a dedicated fan base! Soul gripping emotion keeps your fans wanting more.
Blake Shelton is my man. Who doesn’t swoon at his accent, his sense of humor, his tall frame and his touching songs – can you tell I’m a real fan? The great thing is he approaches Team Blake with the same intensity he pours into his songs. Each season he tries to build a well-rounded team of multi genres, but in the end, country is what he knows and is great at, so many times, those are the contestants that make it to the final round. The bottom line though is Blake does know all aspects of the music world and you hear it in his comments to the contestants. He encourages the artists to work on their core musical talent. He encourages them to work on the control of their voices and stage presence. He sees fundamental strengths in their voices and offers suggestions that will grow their talent to the best it can be. The contestants should listen to his advice.
Lesson learned: If you don’t have a grasp of the fundamentals of writing and language, any attempt you make at writing a story or novel will be doomed by pesky grammatical and punctuation mistakes that snag the reader out of the story. If it happens often enough, the reader may not finish the book, no matter how fantastic the ending. To those contemplating the Indie publishing route, please view this as a strong suggestion to invest in a copy editor; invest in a line editor. These people are the support staff of your dreams!!
I absolutely loved Gwen Stefani as a judge this year. I never expected such encouragement and compassion from her (which makes me wonder why I had that opinion in the first place since I don’t really know anything about her). Anyway, I had to grin whenever she offered to give the contestants make-overs. Still, the folks on Team Gwen received not only the opportunity to tweak their style and voice, they also learned something about presentation. How you portray yourself is essential to selling your talent and your image.
Lesson learned: Take a good long look at the impression you want to make on your reader. We’ve talked branding before here in Seekerville, but you can never revisit the topic too often. What kind of author do you see when you look at Debby Giusti, Missy Tippens, Mary Connealy? Each of them walks the walk and talks the talk whether it’s military suspense or small town charm or cowboy conundrums. Take a look at how you’re portraying yourself in your books, your website, your FB page. Do they all speak the same language or is there room for an identity crisis when fans google your name??
Finally, we have Adam Levine. Quite honestly, I never know what tree he’s in on any particular show as far as comedic relief goes, but as a coach, the man knows what he’s looking for in talent. He can be the class cut-up between performances, but as soon as the next contestant sings their first note, his professional-Adam face falls into place and he immediately begins dissecting the artist’s work. Very intense; doesn’t miss a beat. So many times his assessment of the vocal work astounds me for the details – good and bad – that he’s able to detect in a 90 second performance. To me, Adam is the coach least likely to sugarcoat his opinions. He’s likable enough that he doesn’t tend to offend people, but if there is a problem with someone’s voice, style, presentation, he’s the coach to tell it like it is. And his instincts are pretty right on. Eventually, odds are, if the contestant doesn’t take his comments to heart, they might advance up a rung or two of the competition, but when the live performances begin, they find themselves are a hard sell to America.
Lesson learned: When you send your work to a contest or a requested full manuscript to an editor, listen to their feedback. If contest feedback continually points to the same issues, then set ego aside and study the problem. The opinions of one rogue judge at times are just that – rogue. BUT if you hear the same comments time after time, there’s probably something to the issue. More importantly though, if you are fortunate enough to receive personal feedback from an editor, please realize they are interested in your work and the changes/revisions they suggest are for your benefit. Prove to that editor that you are an author they can work with and you might just be surprised when that phone rings and it’s THE CALL.
This season more than any other offered the prime example of how all the coaches interacted together to create one exceptional artist:
• In the beginning, Blake Shelton chooses Craig Wayne Boyd for Team Blake.
• During one of the rounds, Adam Levine comments on the too rough edge to Craig’s Southern-rock style. In the next knock out round, Blake pairs Craig against James David Carter since they are both country singers. Craig continues with his rough country style compared to James’ smoother voice. Blake chooses James over Craig.
• BUT, Gwen Stefani steps in and steals Craig. With her image-conscious mentality ready to make a difference, she “cleans up” Craig’s appearance a bit and suggests he works with a song a bit out of his box to stretch his range. Craig incorporates her suggestions and puts a more refined spin on a country song. Unfortunately, when it comes down to the final knock out battle, Gwen chooses Taylor John Williams over Craig.
• BUT, in a heartbeat, Blake steals back a more groomed and refined version of his man and the competition is on for the live rounds.
• At one point during the live rounds, Pharrell Williams makes the comment that Craig has demonstrated a giant leap of growth from his very first audition and he now calls Craig a performer. This confirmation of his talent seemed to give Craig the final boost to his confidence and he indeed took possession of the stage and didn’t hesitate to show America what kind of talent he had until the final vote was cast and America pronounced Craig Wayne Boyd the winner of The Voice.
What a ride! The process isn’t always so dramatic, but the journey of Craig Wayne Boyd, unknown bar singer to Craig Wayne Boyd, America’s Choice is a journey that’s made every day whether you’re a singer or an author.
Do you see it? Do you feel it? C’mon people, dig deep into your souls and light a fire in your characters!! I’m convinced if God lit the fire of desire in your heart to write a book, He wants to see a depth of character and excitement on the page!! You can do it!!
C’mon 2015. Let’s be the year of NO LIMITS!!
And to help you find your inner character, I’m offering 3 Kindle copies of Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. It’s a fantastic book that points out the elements of characterization so your hero and heroine can become as dynamic to the world as they are to you : )
Blessings on all your adventures!