Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

When the sports gets in the way of the story

Wheezer

The sports fans will probably tell me to just move on, but I think some authors forget that they are supposed to be telling a story with a plot and character development. They get so wrapped up in telling in excruciating detail every play of the MC's weekly *insert sport* game that they neglect to consider that readers might be interested in other things the MC might be doing - and not just screwing all the females in his harem. Ok, I'm finished griping. I shouldn't gripe, I guess, as I have seen a creeping reliance on sports content as the series I'm reading has progressed.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  REP
sunkuwan

I would also have fewer sport-related content in the stories, but that's my bias. I am perfectly fine with military over-description.

I just skip most games the MC has. Problem is when sports is also an overbearing theme in the rest of the story outside the games.

Ernest Bywater

A lot will depend on the actual story, because in some stories the sport is the main focus or the main plot carriage of the story, while some use the sport to show and develop the character's attitudes and behaviours. Some do this well, some not so well. The level you choose will depend on the aims of the story and using that sport in it.

Vlad_Inhaler

Are you hoping for a Tony Stevens Baseball story to contain less Baseball? Or Jay Cantrell's "A Flawed Diamond"?
I'm missing something here.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer
Updated:

@Vlad_Inhaler


Are you hoping for a Tony Stevens Baseball story to contain less Baseball? Or Jay Cantrell's "A Flawed Diamond"?

I'm missing something here.


Nope. I've read those and don't have a problem because the story is clearly defined from the beginning. Thus my use of the term "creeping reliance." Sports has been a part of this series from the beginning, but each succeeding book in the series has relied more & more on the sports and less & less on the other elements of the story. No doubt, other readers love this - especially the ones who have their TV's permanently tuned to ESPN. (please don't ask which series or author.)

Replies:   Ross at Play
sunkuwan

Well Stupid Boy would be immensely better if it ditched the sport and focused on the modeling. but this would probably lose a lot of readers who would think the MC is not manly enough without his Marty Stu football career.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Wheezer


They get so wrapped up in telling in excruciating detail every play of the MC's weekly *insert sport*


Not sure what "excruciating detail" amounts to. An entire chapter in my novel "Last Kiss" is a baseball game. I'd hate for the reader to skip it.

The conflict (plot = conflict) of the story is the hatred the townspeople have for the protagonist. There were two baseball stars on the team, he and a pitcher. College scouts were coming to a game. The pitcher and other bullies jumped the protagonist. They fought. The protagonist ended up being kicked off the team and missed his chance for a scholarship and therefore to go to college. Of course, not the pitcher who pitched that game.

When he went to a new high school, it was his baseball skills that made him popular. And then there was the game between his new school and his old one, with the same pitcher pitching. The chapter was about that game and how he triumphed.

So out of a 40 chapter novel, I guess the baseball scenes aren't that significant, but that one chapter is in "excruciating" detail.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Switch Blayde

So out of a 40 chapter novel, I guess the baseball scenes aren't that significant, but that one chapter is in "excruciating" detail.

If only one or two chapters, or just a paragraph or two every couple of chapters, then I would not be airing my gripes and grievances here. (I am definitely turning into a cranky old bastard in my old age!) ;)

I would not want to see an author go to the opposite extreme and try to summarize every game the MC played in a sentence or two. I remember one author from years ago - not his name, but his annoying habit of describing every single meal as "a great breakfast," "a great lunch," or "a great dinner." That's just lazy writing, imho.

Ross at Play

@Wheezer

Thus my use of the term "creeping reliance."

I'm not disagreeing, but I don't think that phenomenon is limited to stories about sport.

Replies:   Wheezer
REP

@Wheezer

I shouldn't gripe,


Why not? The rest of us do. :)

You do have a valid point. I recall a few stories where the author kept straying from the plot to relate the MC's activities on the field of sports in what I considered excruciating detail. A good 50% of the scenes could have been cut without having a negative effect on the story's plot.

On the other hand, I've read stories where the plot was about the MC's involvement in a sport and in those stories the excruciating detail was appropriate.

Wheezer

@Ross at Play

I'm not disagreeing, but I don't think that phenomenon is limited to stories about sport.


Of course! We've had discussions here before about things like gun porn, too many sex scenes to the point it starts to look like the author just cut & pasted pieces & parts from earlier scenes to make up new scenes, etc. etc.

AmigaClone

It really depends on the story on how much of a certain activity is to much.

My pet peeve is when someone tries to insert sports into a story and gets the basics of that sport wrong.

If every area that has been commented on was removed stories could be summed up as follows.

MC overcomes troubles - lives a good life.


MC has no trouble - lives a boring life.


MC is overcome by troubles - has a bad life.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@AmigaClone

If every area that has been commented on was removed stories could be summed up as follows.

MC overcomes troubles - lives a good life.

MC has no trouble - lives a boring life.

MC is overcome by troubles - has a bad life.

You forgot one: MC is overcome by troubles, has a bad life, only to go back in time and start all over, and suddenly his life is perfect!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

You forgot one: MC is overcome by troubles, has a bad life, only to go back in time and start all over, and suddenly his life is perfect!


Or more realistically, avoids the mistakes of his first life, but makes entirely new mistakes and ends up with a different life, but one that is just as miserable as his first life was. :)

Replies:   AmigaClone
AmigaClone

@Dominions Son

Or more realistically, avoids the mistakes of his first life, but makes entirely new mistakes and ends up with a different life, but one that is just as miserable as his first life was. :)


Alternatively, the new mistakes could actually make this new life even more miserable than the first one.

Back to Top