Yes, I am offering advice from the top boy band in the United States right now. Go in ONE DIRECTION. Keep your eyes on the LITTLE THINGS. I’m not a “boy band” type of person, tending more toward world music, jazz, and stomping Celtic jams. But I have been seduced. I’ll blame my current music psychology on my pre-teens, who have inculcated my world with the characters and the music of One Direction. I see Liam, Zayn, Niall, Harry and Louis now as reminders of FOCUS. They are, after all, ONE DIRECTION.
As a writer, I’m painfully aware of my focus. I write every day. I have to write every day. I may not want to write every day. But when I do, I’m glad I did. Once I start writing a new novel, it is oh-so-important to keep going. Get the words onto the page. That doesn’t mean that my story or my characters can’t go in more than one direction. They can. The point is that I must keep going in one direction. And that’s forward.
How did I get hooked on my One Direction epiphany? First of all, the name is great. You can only go in one direction at one time. Move forward. Stay on track. (Add your own platitude here: _____). Of course, there is a need to explore sometimes and go off the beaten track. Discover new trails. But once you’re out there, beating through the underbrush, finding your way, the advice still works. Keep going in One Direction. Get it done, then move on.
The boys of ONE DIRECTION have inimitable appeal for teeny boppers the world over. They each have a very particular style. Please notice my 11-year-old daughter’s eraser-board rendering above of the ONE DIRECTION characters. (I think it’s brilliant.) She’s tapped in to how each of them has little quirks that make them unique. Yet, what everyone loves is how they sound so seamless together. It reminds me to keep my characters like that. Imperious villains and reluctant heroines are predictable. One might say boring. Give them quirks and catchphrases, accents or tics. And a swoopy cute haircut doesn’t hurt either.
LITTLE THINGS is the title of their new single, which was released this month. If you’re a conscious American with ears, you’ve probably already heard their hit song “Live While We’re Young.” Yeah, cute. That’s what young people do. But I really like their new one, “Little Things.” It’s slower. Has more thoughtful lyrics. Though, honestly, I don’t think they could have written it about another teeny bopper with lyrics like: “I know you’ve never loved the crinkles by your eyes.” “You never loved your stomach or your thighs.” The upshot is the line, “All your little things add up to, I’m in love with you.” Basically, all the little parts make a whole. The little parts are important. In a book, those are the characters, what they think, and why they do what they do. I have to remember that. I can’t just come up with a great plot and jot it down. It needs smiles, reflection, memories (go easy on the flashbacks), longing, humor, good dialogue, and maybe a cute hairstyle. All these little things matter.
I’m off in ONE DIRECTION.
THE GENIE IGNITES now available.
THE GENIE SMOLDERS coming soon from Boroughs Publishing Group.