THINGS WRITERS CAN LEARN FROM ALL-GROWN-UP MILEY CYRUS.
- Know Your Audience - Miley may have thought that showing the world how much she had matured would be the best way to segue into more adult material. Maybe, but she forgot one salient point: PARENTS buy their teen's music because largely, teens have no money. In her haste, Miley forgot the golden rule of salesmanship. Appeal always to the one with the cash. That HAS to be the reason there is a glut of bodice-ripping romance novels out there.
- Too Much is Sometimes Just...Too Much - with all the freaky dancing teddy bears and obscene foam fingers being used in a manner I holler at my ten year old for, the song got lost. This is a great lesson for writers. Edit, edit, edit. Let the original idea shine and dump all the hoopla. If you bury the lead, the story will not sing.
- Shock for Shock Value Has No Staying Power - Sure, the performance was new and different for the Miley we have seen before. The problem is, it wasn't new to the music world. On the same show, Lady Gaga whips it down to a g-string BEFORE Miley performed. And at the risk of aging myself, Madonna did it better WAY before anyone else, and she did it like a virgin. Ahem. As a writer, we should remember this as well. If you are rehashing an old idea, you better make it fresh, or your fans will call you out for lack of originality at best, and straight-out copying at worst. BE ORIGINAL. Unless you are writing fan-fic. For this, I have no advice at all.
- Sex for Sex' Sake is Boring - Miley tried to jam sexuality down our throats and if you believe all the hot debates, we gagged. The same goes for gratuitous sex in our writing. Certainly, a steamy scene has its place, but unless you are writing porn, it will feel out of place crammed into every other scene in your book. Entice your reader with intrigue, passion, and anticipation, not tired sex scenes.
- Practice, Practice, Practice - one thing was glaringly obvious to me watching her performance: she was unrehearsed. Most of her "dancing" was ad-libbed and even I could tell she was missing marks and confusing the dancers around her. It reminded me of that shabby performance Britney gave us where she mainly phoned it in. Miley made up for some of it with her energy and antics, but clearly she hadn't put in the time. As writers, every story we write is practice. No one expects to be a best-seller right out of the gate. Okay, everyone does, but we know it never happens. You have to put in the time. You have to hone your craft. You have to develop your talent. Don't ever be accused of just phoning it in.
If you saw the show and want to add anything, I'd love to hear about it. What did her performance teach you, as a writer?