Are you watching Songland?

If not, you should be! NBC’s new show features unknown songwriters pitching their songs to a well-known music artist and three successful songwriters. NBC Tuesdays at 10p.

I’m not usually a fan of these types of shows. I cringe when the judges’ negatively critique someone’s work. Some judges are known, and loved, for their harsh words. But would you want to be on the receiving end of that?

To me, the best part of Songland is when the judges provide the songwriter contestants with constructive criticism, with thoughtful suggestions on how to improve the song. I enjoy viewing the creative process as three successful songwriters and that week’s music artist collaborate on a song on the fly.  I wish I could do this with writers!

I was amazed as the contestants accepted changes without resistance. Of course, if Stephen King sat down with me to review my manuscript, with the possibility of him co-writing a novel, I’d be nodding my head and agreeing with everything he said too.

Although most writers groups encourage writers to participate in manuscript swaps and critique groups,  I have not found success with them. My one experience, about eight years ago, has left me so scarred I doubt I’ll ever participate in one again. The other writers (except one) were needlessly cruel. Please note, it is that one writer who inspired me to turn ‘Gone But Not Missed’ into a series!

Please don’t take this as I’m overly sensitive. I’ve always said how my editor, Lourdes Venard, is the best because she provides criticisms without making me cry.  Her first critique of ‘Saving Ferris’ was 14 pages. She pointed out what worked and what didn’t. It was a much stronger novel when I incorporated (most) of her suggestions.

Criticism is on my mind this week. I’m one week away from sending the latest (and the LAST) Nathan Miccoli mystery to my editor.

Check out the winning song from episode 2 of Songland.

This video is especially for my editor — BE NICE!

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