All this month, I’m celebrating the release of my sports romance, Ice Gladiators. In the spirit of the release, I’m sharing posts of all my passions and how they are related in some way to Ice Gladiators. Regulars of Creole Bayou, my blog about anything and everything Creole and Cajun related as well as romance and writing, know that I dedicate the first Wednesday of every month to a writing-related post. I do not wish to disappoint today. Today, I thought I’d write about what I found useful in writing a sports romance.
Sports romance is something that I began writing about three years ago. It’s interesting because it was not my intention to write a sports romance initially; although, it did seem like the logical thing to do. What truly prompted me to attempt writing in this subgenre was I met a writer who stated he wrote rock fiction. I like to refer to it as music fiction because according to him, any type of music (e.g., classical, punk, blues, country, etc.) can be used and considered rock fiction. Basically, a story in this subgenre is based on a song or a cluster of songs, and the influence of the lyrics of that music can be seen throughout the story. This fascinated me.
Rock fiction entails more than being inspired by music. Therefore, writing rock fiction is much harder than it sounds. Music is the principle story even if is not apparent in the story’s plot. The characters may have the names of the musicians or the setting is a place sung about on the song. The title may even be the same as the music title. It’s all intricate, and I do not claim to be an expert. I attempted to write a rock fiction story and failed. The story turned out decent, but in the end, it wasn’t rock fiction, which just goes to illiterate again on another level how difficult fiction writing can be.
When I learned that music could be used to write stories this way, this further encouraged me to combine my two loves of romance and sports. I found this to be a niche for me and a genre that I could write organically. I have dabbled in multiple other genres for challenges and not all of them have turned out well. And while I believe a person could learn to write in any genre of choice, it’s my philosophy that writers tend to have natural talents in writing some genres. As the saying goes, they take to it like a duck to water. And I also will say that some writers have this natural ability to write in multiple genres. When I speak of natural ability, this is not to discredit or diminish education or learning. Many writers have discussed how they began writing in one genre but over time discovered they were better suited in another. However, that is slightly off-topic. My point was that learning about rock fiction solidified my ideas about combining the two passions that I love.
But prior to one jumping in to write a sports romance, there are a few guidelines to consider. Again, I would like to note that while some people use the terms guidelines and rules synonymously, there is a difference between the two. Guidelines are suggestions that are optional to follow. Rules are agreed upon standard practices by experts, lawmakers, and/or the general public that when deviated from will result in some type of consequence (e.g., fines, jail, criticism, rejection, etc.). These are more rigid. Grammar has rules. Writing stories, in general, mostly has guidelines. The following are guidelines that I have found to be useful.
- There is a difference between writing a story with an athletic main character(s) who falls in love and one where the sport has a role in the story. In other words, if you can change the character’s profession to any other profession and it makes very little difference, it isn’t a sports romance. For example, many 1950s family sitcoms portrayed a working father, stay-at-home mother, and 2-3 school children. The sitcom focused on the family. Although the father worked, many times the father’s job wasn’t specified or shown. That’s because it wasn’t crucial. In a sports romance, sports should have a part to make it noticeable in the story. Sports romances are, first and far most, a romance. Therefore, they follow all the normal rules of the romance genre. However, there are some differences that writers should be aware.
- It is important to know the sport you are writing about because your readers will. Funny aside. I began writing Ice Gladiator’s before I finished all of Defending the net final edits. I accidentally mixed up a detail about two of my characters. That minor mix-up caused me to write a line that broke a hockey rule. The rule was one that many readers wouldn’t have paid attention to, and it had snuck past a lot, including two editors. But one did, and I was busted. The silver lining is it was a beta who caught it. The correction involved changing two words.
- Knowing the sport really allows the story to sound more authentic. Readers want credible stories.
- That being said, if your work is fiction, there is room for creative license. For example, in you wanted to add a fictitious team to a national league, you can. If you want your favorite team who lost the playoffs to win, you can rewrite in your story that they did. Of course, someone may call you out for it. You can add and omit rules. It just has to clear to the reader that the change is intentional.
- While sports need to be present in the story, it does not need to dominate it. There must be a balance. If the sports overshadow the romance, then, it’s no longer a sports romance. It’s a sports story with a romantic subplot.
- Don’t make it too technical. Readers are coming for the romance. They may not be very knowledgeable about sports. Any noncommon sports jargon needs to be explained in order to avoid ostracizing readers. Use simple language and get through the explanation quickly. Readers want to feel included without feeling inadequate. However, don’t exclude all sports talk.
- On the flip side, do not dummy it down to the point of dribble. Readers do not enjoy feeling patronized. Do not assume your audience knows nothing or is a novice. Instead, consider that most are not “experts” but that they have a general knowledge of the sport.
- Have fun with it. People watch and participate in sports for entertainment. When writing a sports romance, the writes should have an equal amount of fun.
- Be sure that you acquire editors and betas who know the sport. If you make a mistake, then you want that to be resolved prior to publication.
- Have diversity in your players. They shouldn’t all sound the same. Avoid making them typical or a cliché. Allow them to be more than one note.
That wraps up this post. I hope that this information is helpful. Now, I’d like to know how many of you are writers of sports romance or are considering writing a sports romance. What is your favorite part of the genre? What are your dos and don’ts in sports romance? What is your favorite sport to see in sports romance? What sport have you not seen in a sports romance but are interested in seeing? Please leave your comments below. As always, I enjoy hearing from readers and will answer any comments or questions. Don’t forget to check out my giveaway that is going on this month. The details for entry are listed below.
- Coming February 2020… Ice Gladiators… Hockey so hot it melts the ice.
- Preorder: www.books2read.com/icegladiators
Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.
Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.