Reason for being

Baseball has started, college basketball is nearly finished, and the NBA and NHL are finalizing their playoff teams.  The Masters is in a week or so, and so is the NFL draft.  Sports, like spring, is in the air, more so than any other time of the year except September-October, when the NBA, NHL and NFL are all beginning their seasons and the MLB and PGA are wrapping theirs up.

I haven’t really read books about sports (can they be as exciting as the real thing?), although I enjoy movies about them, despite the measure of predictability (the hero always wins unless it would be historically inaccurate).  It becomes, I think, not about the predictability of the win, but about what antics occur to have that win happen.  “The Replacements” (starring Keanu Reeves as a quarterback, which was questionable), not remotely close to the greatest movie ever, had the nice twist the fake field goal (or punt, or whatever), for instance.  I watched that movie with a mental checklist (in the theaters, not recently): Are all the characters’ reasons for being, have they been resolved?

Writing in general asks that question, I think, although more recently I’ve been trying to create characters whose purpose isn’t necessarily direct to the plot.  In Kingmaker, we had Sergeant Aeklen, for instance, who had a strong influence on Butu, but disappeared after his scenes.  There were other characters at that point in the book, designed to show the way the world worked and then vanish.

In the sequel to Kingmaker, I’m trying to make characters who broaden the world for the hero, so I can tweak the reader’s perspective.   It’s like how the fans and announcers in “Major League” got more excited throughout; it wasn’t as if they influenced the team in any way, they influenced the audience, helping to bring our excitement up.

We didn’t do much of that in Kingmaker, but it seems to answer the perspective question we ran into:  Butu doesn’t care about something-or-other, so he doesn’t pay attention to it, so the reader never knows.  Whereas Taison, the hero in the sequel, is always paying attention to just about anything but what is in front of him, so there’s a lot more world being shown.

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One Response to Reason for being

  1. Beth says:

    If you haven’t read “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis, I think you might really enjoy it. It’s about baseball but mostly about math, and also kind of addresses the “reason for being” question in an interesting way too. (The movie version was okay but not nearly as good as the book.)

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