As always, I am posting and then coming back and saying a few words - because wow, I have a few things to say about these truly amazing writers and this season in general.
Until then I'll post the official standings:
4th place alexpgp: The first thing that I want to point out is that this man is a *craftsman*. The man uses words to advance like he was playing you on a chess board. (And yes, I know everyone uses the chessboard analogy when it comes to Alex - but come on, it's there!!*g*) When you sit down to read his work he is going to move you right along the board and then sweep everything away from you when you least expect it.
For sheer command of language the man is simply amazing. It's been an honor just to watch him work over the last six months.
It's been said - but does need to be repeated, that he managed to do something that no other male contestant has EVER been able to do - he broke into the Top Four and into the FINALS!!! There's a part of me that would have been happy with an alexpgp win for that reason alone. But combine that with his final few entries and yeah, I think he would have been a fine choice. (Any of them would have been really, but I'm talking about him here!*g*)
In all candor there's only *one* thing that I think he could have done differently and made his work stronger - not adding the catchphrase "Cheers" at the end. Sometimes it was jarring - but you know what? That was entirely his call - it was a personal touch that I thought would mean he wouldn't last as long - and obviously people proved more than willing to read past it the same way that *I* did when I read his entries!
I've actually been amused the number of people inside of Idol - and out - who have asked me if I knew about his technical writing, or mentioned that they *were fans* of his professional work!! I think it's been really cool for folks to see a different side of someone clearly so gifted.
Thank you Alex for sharing your journey with us - and you know what? Cheers to you as well.
3rd place abbismom: Every season there is someone who "becomes the season" for me. It's usually some sort of odd quirk that doesn't make much sense to anyone *other* than me. . . but there was a time during this season when I was having to get up to work at 4:30 am. I tend to "dream Idol" during the season anyway, so people showing up isn't that big of a deal. When they become reoccuring characters though. . . every morning, just before my alarm would go off, the phone would ring and I would look at it - it would say "abbismom" with the picture of her icon... she would say "It's time to get up. You need to get up and go to work - so you can post a Green Room". (There were variations, but that was what she would usually say).
Obviously it was a dream - and one that woke me up for *months*. For some reason my subconcious picked her as the voice of the season to tell me to get my ass up out of bed and get going with my day!!
This is especially hilarious to me because I didn't *actually* speak to her until long after this. . . and I'm pretty sure that I've never mentioned it, until now!*G*
As for her writing:
The Ghosts of Wolf Creek, her novel, is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Wolf-Creek-Kimberly-Dillon/dp/1605639966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238990189&sr=8-1
heh, OK, so that was just a plug for her book!*g*
Her work is just so darn engaging! Like opening up letters from an old friend . . . just sweeping you away. . . I once read a review of Jonathan Richman's music saying that it made you nostaglic for the time that never existed, but should have. I think that's about as clear as my headache is going to let me be this evening with talking about her work. It's that same sort of feeling.
2nd place darkprism: One of the darker of my mid-season dark horse projections to win. I just wasn't sure how fiction was going to end up going. You have people all around you pouring their hearts out - and you are telling a story. You want to survive - it had better be a damn good one and you had better tell it well!
Which is what ended up happening!
She is just an absolutely incredible story teller, dragging you down those dark paths you know that you don't want to go down - you know what is down there after all. But you can't help yourself, you are drawn down those paths into that mist and toward some sort of structure off in the distance. Because that is where the good stuff is going to be found. That is where darkprism lives, holding court over her demon minions.
As much as I think it would have been cool to have her win - I think her being in finals at all shows a shift in the voting readership dynamic that I think is quite healthy in being more inclusive. That said, this is still *LJ*... (yes, I'm trying to come up with a criticism and the only one that really comes to mind is that she's so strong and makes it look so easy that it might shift everyone into thinking they can do what she does...)
The sheer act though of making a believer out of *me* is well worth noting. You just fall into her words and get lost for a little while. Some of the places you visit are nicer than others. . .*G*
Thank you Allie for taking us down those roads and into the corners few dare tread - all while tying them back to the topic that was given! (Which couldn't have easy at times! *g*)
So where is it that we start standing in line for your novel????
and the Winner of Season Five - and your LJ Idol is
boxsofrain!!! - If you take a look over the past 6 months there is going to be one thing that will jump out at you right away when it comes to boxsofrain. A lot of people grew as writers and as people over the last 6 months. It's sort of the nature of things. Time passes and the more pressure you place on coal over a period of time more likely you are to produce something far more precious. In a lot of ways I think she still is very much a diamond in the rough. There are still some pointy edges here and there, but I think that just makes her stronger. I think it's fair to say that of the final four, no one grew more than Ashlee.
She could use a good spell check program - or a beta reader - now and then, but that tends to be a sign that what she's writing is coming out fully formed these days, and just needs some tweaking here and there.
But there was a raw talent there from the very start of things, it just took her time to believe in it and find that voice.
Fairly early on she emailed me some questions. I try my best to keep an open door policy, so that anyone who has questions can get them answered in a timely manner. Those questions sparked more questions - and more. . . she wanted to absorb as much as possible about the competition itself and everyone around her. She apparently went to everyone that would take the time to listen - and she learned from them.
Right there is a trait you don't see very often. Someone willing to take the time to acknowledge that they might not know everything, that there might be room for improvement, that they might not be the best already. . . especially that last one, that's a trait that *far* too few people seem to have these days.
One of the questions she ended up asking me - within the first couple weeks of the ongoing questions and answers - was "Can I friend you?" During the course of Idol I've been asked this - and my answer tends to be the same line. "That might not be the best idea for you. Are you SURE?" My friends don't tend to make it very far in Idol - and the ones who do never make it to the finish line.
I knew, even then, that she wanted to win and I didn't want to be the reason she didn't.
She said she was willing to accept the risks. She went right on from that point taking risk after risk. Sure, there were a few entries where she played it safer than she might have done otherwise - but there was a vulnerability to her work, a tangible aspect that ended up making her *real* to a lot of people, her writing voice resonating in people's heads and hearts.
A lot has been made of the idea of her "strategy" - she's even mentioned it - but when you take a step back and look at it, it's one that a lot of people over the seasons have failed to pull off. The idea of just being nice to people. This is over *six months*. Sure, you can pull off being nice for a couple months, especially if you don't talk to people - but you go *6*? Especially while developing interpersonal relationships with folks? The bullshit can only hold out just so long. The "strategy" falls apart and you stand revealed.
She remained the same basic person that she came in as - and I think that says a lot about who she *is* more than it does of a strategic victory. She wanted to be nice, because she wants to be nice to people in general! Again, that's a trait that's not around nearly often enough. Online or in RL.
I think she did a good job keeping her head while continuing to put out quality entries. She slipped now and again. But most people do. Ultimately though I think what ended up winning the day was that Ashlee was in every line of what she wrote. An example of how you can't separate someone from their words, because at the end of the day, especially in this world of LJ, one can not exist without the other.
And once again, thank you everyone for a fantastic season.