Monday, July 7, 2014

Booked: Baseball Three Pack

Since the beginning of June I have been working on revising. It's not my strong suit so I decided that while I work on my "baseball" novel, I would read a couple of baseball books to help me see what works and what doesn't. I solicited some book titles and got reading. I read three books, which I hope will help me as I continue revising my own.

The Dreyfuss Affair:A Love Story, by Peter Lefcourt, Smokey O by Celia Cohen, and Playing for First by Chris Paynter gave me three very different looks at writing a book with baseball as a backdrop. The first, is the story of male ballplayers on a fictional major league team who fall in love. If I had to pick the best of the bunch this book would be it. It feels very dated in some ways (it was published in 1992) but that doesn't take away from its charm. I think it highlights how much the world has changed, even if baseball would still be rocked by a couple of teammates dating.

The other two books were shorter, published by small presses, and lesbian. I liked both. They had very different approaches to how much actual baseball made it into the story and I found it really helpful. I am trying to sort out, in my own tory, how much actual baseball I need and how much I should leave out. I am sure there is no "right" answer but sometimes seeing someone else do it well (or not) makes it easier for me to imagine how I should write it.

So this weekend was spent reading a lot and now it's time to dive back into revising. this sucker won't fix itself, will it?

1 comment:

  1. The first two times that I attempted to post this it vanished into the ether, so third time lucky!

    It's the age old much of the research that you do must end up in your final draft. I recall an old thriller writer called Dennis Wheatley. His historical thriller were impeccably researched, with six months of reading around the era before he put pen to paper. Unfortunately, he felt the need to impart every single piece of historical information that he had picked up to the reader. As a result, the main characters in the book frequently stop the story dead to tell one another interesting facts about famous people who happen to walk past them. You do find yourself skipping more and more in order to get to the meat of the book.

    Like you say, there's no real hard and fast rule about this, but.... In a novel you have a little more licence to weave around the main story, but in a short(ish) story everything must help to tell the tale. You need just enough information in order to tell it. Once you start to tell the reader stuff that they don't need to know, they will start to get restive. Imagine that you know nothing about Baseball, and try to impart enough information as you think a reader equally as ignorant about you as baseball will need. But not a single bit more.