Sports and Books

Trailblazer Fan PhotoI am a great spectator at most sporting events. I understand the rules and objectives of every game and appreciate the display of athletic ability and teamwork. I am not a fan of any one sport, or team, enough to want to watch it on TV. However, if I’m in a stadium full of fans to watch a game between well matched competitors I’m an enthusiastic fan girl.

I operate the same way with my writer friends, especially at monthly chapter meetings. We celebrate each milestone on the road to becoming a romance novelist. This means we even applaud rejections for our manuscripts because that means we completed a novel,  and sent it out into the world. These announcement parts of the meeting are sort of like a cross between tent church revival meetings and a Mary Kay
sales convention. The awards and prizes at each meeting are usually books.

Monthly chapter meetings have sustained me through ten years with friendships. I’ve stayed connected with writers even when I wasn’t actively pursuing a career as a romance novelist. My dream and intent has always been clear, but my motivation has been conflicted by life events. Fortunately, having a deep understanding of goals, motivations, and conflicts, is good research for novelists – especially in the game of romance.

This is why I always come back to the analogy of romance novels being comparable to sporting events. When we enter a stadium, or open the cover of the book, we know how the competition is going to end but we’re there to watch it happen and cheer or cry along with the players and fans.

When I wasn’t writing romance novels I researched and tried on the role of coach, manager, and promoter, but there were always those novels sitting on my shelf and only I could mold them. There were the memories of being a player in the game. But I was also watching the rules and the venues change. It’s been fascinating and exciting to watch the evolution of books into digital readers. It’s a whole new stadium.

But the game is still the same, and I love playing it. The game begins with the cute-meet. Then there’s conflict and drama, interspersed with some attraction and tension. A few kisses and denials end the first half. The second half begins with a stronger determination, an unobtainable fantasy, and a few reality checks because this is a competition between evenly matched players.

The final quarter begins with higher stakes, a faster pace, the awareness that someone is going to lose. But who? Oh wait, am I talking basketball or romance novels? In basketball – one team wins. Even if the game goes into overtime. In romance, both teams lose until they check their egos and get a clue. As the writer of the story I never take my competitors (lovers!) to the altar of compromise and cooperation. I just give them an awesome kiss of potential bliss and write – The End.

So where’s the next game? Oh, right. I need to write it. I think I’ll read first. Many do an awesome job in the romance game.

About Terri Patrick

Writer of Romance and Memoir. Life is an adventure, take that journey.
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3 Responses to Sports and Books

  1. aliceakemp says:

    Interesting analogy, Terri. I am a big fan of professional tennis (Go Serena), and an avid football fan, especially cheering for the Saints here in New Orleans. The games are too much to attend in person (for me, anyway), but I never miss a game on TV. I also really enjoyed the SuperBowl last Sunday. But I tell you, the fierce competition among athletes is not what I see among romance writers and our readers. Having been a college prof for 20 years, I was not used to the support, encouragement, and flat-out assistance romance writers give to each other. Academia doesn’t work that way for the most part. I’m glad and grateful to be writing and publishing in this field. Have a great day.

    • Yes, we do cheer and support each other in a way that is not common outside of romance land. That’s why even during the years I wasn’t pursuing a career as a romance novelist I was determined to remain active within the industry in some way. To that end I was always compiling analogies regarding the appeal of a romance novel that made sense to outsiders. 😀

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