I took the weekend off from all things writing and agenting to do a little re-charge. So this weekend I mainlined an untold number of GLEE episodes.
As is true to most new life experiences, I learned a few lessons. Open book and all, I'm sharing them with you today. Here are my GLEEful Lessons.
1. Being in HS Show Choir really was the best thing ever
For photographic evidence I present this picture of me from my senior year of show choir. Our group name was BY REQUEST and I still have the hooded half-zip windbreaker to prove my awesomeness.
2. I am woefully unaware of popculture
I have no idea who most of the celebrity guests are on this show and the only reason I know most of the songs is because they are show choir standards. See lesson #1.
3. GLEE works because they go all in.
Right, I have an actually lesson here.
There are a million reasons why GLEE makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever. The cheerleading coach has a budget for European dry cleaning and she physically abuses kids in the hallway, the show choir with no budget has enough budget for a HUGE choir room and for an actual class time instead of just being an extra-curricular. The principal is the most naive man on the planet and hundreds of other over the top examples.
And that's why it works.
I see a lot of manuscripts that are for the most part believable, except for one or two world-building scenarios or plot lines that are unbelievable. And because of those one or two items, the whole thing feels fake.
The creators of GLEE realized they wouldn't be able to tip-toe into plot holes or only slightly bend the high school reality. Viewers would call their bluff in a heartbeat. Instead, they took the stereotypes and supercharged scenarios and decided to go big or go home. There is nothing at all realistic about the show and that's why we love it. Right from the start we accept that it isn't real and can enjoy it for the campy awesomeness it is.
For writers, the lesson here is that everything has to be completely above the board believable or nothing should be. Either tell readers this is the real deal or drive home the point that it's not. Roald Dahl is an excellent example of this. His books are over the top in their believability. So as readers we can stop falling into plot holes and just enjoy the beautiful journey of his characters.
This lesson applies to your marketing plan as well. If you've chosen a theme or mode for your campaign, you've got to fully embrace it and never deviate. Cora Carmack is a great example of this for her new release, All Lined Up. The book features a football coach's daughter and so she ran away with the football theme and never looked back. The campaign wouldn't have been as successful if she tried to focus on other areas as well.
So today's real lesson: Decide your path (in writing, marketing, even in publishing) and go all in.