Soon, another season of American Idol will begin. And while I may not watch Lost, Survivor, or most other TV shows, I do watch American and Canadian Idol (but shhh, don't tell, it's my little secret).
I don't know if you know, but last season two contestants seemed very out of place there, at least at first. Same was true with Canadian Idol where one contestant was such a rocker, the judges didn't know if she would fit the pop singing and culture. One of them even asked her - are you ready to sell your soul? (my own paraphrase).
It is well known that rockers view pop singing as exactly that. An artistic compromise for the purpose of selling more CDs and be more popular. Well, what is pop(ular) after all?
I know that many of you who read this are fiction writers mostly, so the question is almost moot. But not entirely. Has anyone ever decided to write in a certain genre because it was the "in" thing? Has anyone ever put in a sex scene simply to drive up interest? Has anyone ever changed her language because she suspected her own would not sell?
What about after a sale? Has anyone ever agreed to change something fundamental just to keep the sale?
Since I don't write only fiction, I find myself considering some of these things more often. I sometimes "dumb down" articles because I know this is what editors prefer even though the public is perfectly capable to be slightly more challenged. (One could argue that perhaps I don't write for the right markets, and one might be right, but still, it's an interesting point.)
In my fiction writing, also. I am always asked to change something. Without fail. I usually agree without any regrets, except for this one time. This one time will haunt me forever (or until I'm famous and can republish the story as it was originally written). I feel that on that one occasion I sold my integrity.
So I coined the term for my own sanity - idol writing. Sometimes, for a bit of publicity and a bit of money we compromise. Instead of carrying our hearts on our sleeves and sing rock/jazz/blues/punk we sing pop. Instead of writing with all of our hearts we write someone else's ideas.
Do you have a line you wouldn't cross?
Categories: writing, publishing, art