MTV’s Dance Crew competition

February 10, 2008 | Karin's Blog | 13 comments

I caught that show this morning while I was waiting for my coffee to brew. I was immediately hooked. The concept from what I can tell is that street dance crews as well as some studio groups get the opportunity to comptete for money and I’m assuming some sort of contract. Don’t quote me on that ’cause that isn’t what drew me to this show. What drew me was the incredible raw talent of these kids and young adults. OMG! The group that was up when I flipped to MTV (and I never go to MTV! Ever) was called…grrr, can’t remember but they’re 5 or 6 young men from Boston and they kicked ass! I was so amazed. The judges loved them. So, I happily watched for the next hour or so and was impressed, and at the same time reminded of how this show along with American Idol and Project Runway and so many other shows like this have the potential to catapult raw talent into the stratosphere. And also to crush dreams. It is so completive out there it’s daunting to the average person. Hell, even to those with confidence and talent out the wahzoo, it’s crazy scary.

Now while there is raw talent that is cultivated and then refined on these types of shows there are other factors that go into the end result: a contract. Here’s how I see it. You gotta want it more than anything. I mean be willing to go beyond what everyone else is doing. You have to be able to take constructive criticism, ’cause while some of the judges are harsh they know what the hell they’re talking about. You have to practice and learn and persevere. You have to pick yourself up off the floor each time you get knocked down. When you can see, smell, and taste victory but at the last minute you stumble and fall and you watch someone else grab the prize, you have to not wallow but spring back, brush yourself off and work harder so when that next opportunity presents itself you will be ready.

Another thing: You have to be true to yourself. If you can’t break (dance) then don’t. Play to your strengths. Enhance your natural voice, your natural talent. Hone it and run with it. Do not try to be someone else.

We all get our hearts broken in this publishing business. We all watch others pass us by at what seems like incredible speeds and feel envy or anger or frustration. It’s easy to ask, “Why not me?” Instead of wasting your time on that negative question, ask yourself this, “What do I have to do get on that train?” Then take a good hard look at yourself, where you are, who you are, what you bring, and what you really want. Then ask yourself just how hard are you willing to work for it? Are you willing to only go 50% of the way? For many people that’s good enough. But don’t look at the ones going the extra 50% and reaping the rewards and ask yourself that negative question: “Why not me?”

Yes, there is timing in this business, there is writing a great story, and there is having a great story that fits in the current market. But there is much much more, so much more you are in control of. Being professional. Working harder. Honing your craft, creating those memorable characters, networking and getting to know industry professionals. ‘Cause let me tell you something: After the good book, it isn’t what you know so much in the business but who you know. The good story is a given. No one wants you without it, but after the good story comes everything else.

I believe no matter how hard it is to get published today, it isn’t impossible. Far from it. Editors are buying every single day. In the summer, during the holidays, and even on the weekends! It’s your job to get it in front of them. Contests, conferences, blogs, and basic stalking. 🙂

So, if you have begun to give up, go back to square one, ask the hard questions and if that passion to write stills burns, regroup and come out fighting again.

Now that I’m off my soap box I do have a question, and this applies to all writers: What have you found to be the most difficult or frustrating part of this crazy business?


PS, It’s my turn over at Fog City Divas to blab today. Subject, Love and Loss. C’mon on by and say howdy.


  1. Tawny

    Ooooh, so many frustrations to choose from, so little time LOL. Kidding, on the whole, I feel very blessed with my journey through this business so far. I think if I could change one thing, it would be to have a clue as to what makes a real difference. You know, that difference between ‘yes, we want to buy this’ and ‘no, its close but not quite right’. The difference in ‘lets put major co-op behind this book’ and ‘lets hope she does some promo herself’. The difference in promotional efforts themselves and which ones work.

    So often, writers are on the edge and never can tell what tips the scales for them one way or the other. Thats frustrating.

  2. Karin

    Great advice, LD!

    and, T, when you figure out that promo angle, fill me in okay?

  3. LaDonna

    Hey Karin, overall I’d say the most frustrating thing for me was waiting for that shot at publication. That journey to publication can be brutal and long. You have to focus on what you’re doing, yet not give in to self-doubt. Keep writing for yourself, and hope to heck someone else loves it too. Finding the right editor is like nabbing the golden ring. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t count my blessings.

    And I love your advice about, “staying true to who you are, and not wanting to be someone else.” Those are words to live by!

  4. B.E. Sanderson

    LOL, it depends on the day for me. This week the most frustrating thing has been writing the perfect query letter. Or rather trying to write the perfect one. Thinking about it now, though, I guess it ties into the real frustration that Tawny mentioned – the not knowing what will tip the scales one way or the other. I’m nowhere near my ‘give-up’ funk – more like the ‘beat my head on my desk until something shakes loose’ phase. ;o) I’ll keep forging ahead (and hopefully without my head getting bashed in the process.)

  5. Carol Burnside

    #1: The time waiting to hear back on a submission because there is no “usual” wait period for anything. Believing there is becomes an exercise in frustration.

    #2: The R’s that leave you with no clue WHY your work didn’t wow them. I understand the workload, no time, etc. but OMG, how much faster could we improve our writing if we had an inkling as to our strengths and weaknesses.

    Thank goodness we have the opportunity for detailed contest feedback and intricate scoring sheets!

  6. Margaret

    Piping in here. My current pissy hate is the agents who are looking for ‘a strong female protagonist in a fantasy (urban)’ and then form reject my query outlining my strong femal fantasy protag.
    When I was bitchin’ to hubby (non-writer, non-reader) about it, he offered his priceless take on the situation. Imagine you have a two-story house, four bedrooms and three baths. You get excited about it because it is what you’ve always wanted, BUT when you saw it, you thought it was the ugliest piece of crap in the world–less than a day later someone else thought it was the most beautiful house in the world and snatched it up.
    Just because I think my story would fit their wants and need, there is still subjectivity.
    Hubby tends to keep me grounded when I get bent out of shape. 🙂

  7. Virna

    Hi Karin! Great post! I think the hardest thing is knowing who to listen to when it comes to “fixing” your writing. There are so many differing opinions out there from equally experienced and qualified people (writers, editors, and agents), but each of them is biased towards their own story preference. Sometimes I try too hard to tweak, or change, or improve something that isn’t that exact to begin with, and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. Eventually, I shut it out and just start writing again and that’s how I know I’ll make it someday.

  8. Edie

    Great blog, Karin! I have to go with Carol’s answer and say waiting. Everything takes so long in this business. So far, anyway. I know that changes once you sell. I’ve seen it with you and my other friends. Then everything seems to happen at once.

  9. Karin

    It’s been a long day. The hubster was part of the plotting crew today and at first we chickies weren’t sure if we liked having him. He was such a guy about it. Then he loosened up and when it came his time to brainstorm someone else’s story he was actually helpful. lol, on the way home he said, “You guys sure interrupt each other a lot.” I said, “That’s because we don’t want to forget what popped into our head.”

    So, I see we all have frustrations in this biz. On both sides of the publishing line. Trying to read into a crystal ball is impossible. Waiting is a huge PIA!

  10. Michelle

    Love this post, Karin 🙂 . Mmmm. I’m so impatient, so for me, definitely the waiting.

  11. Mary

    I guess with your busy schedule your weekly AI blog is not going to happen this season? Too bad I enjoyed reading what everyone thought compared to me.


  12. Karin

    Mary, I am going to post regulary about AI!!

  13. Amie Stuart

    I think the hardest thing is knowing who to listen to when it comes to “fixing”

    Virna…this is where trusting your gut comes into play and it’s not an easy skill to develope!!!!

    The most frustrating part is the speed–or lack thereof 😀

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