Yes it almost time for us football fans to get excited again. Even tonight I’m itching to watch HBOs HardKnocks not just because I’m a Falcons fan but because its the first sight of real football. Hubby and I have been working on our fall calendars for college and NFL games that peek our interest and now I’m getting excited. Yes in the land of SEC country we ladies do take our football serious and yes I play fantasy football.
With bombardment from work, travel, kids back-to-school, writing and blogging, I forgot to sign up for my fantasy football league. Yikes! So today I decided to catch-up on training camp and scout out my targets for draft day. I started making correlations on how similar fantasy football is to writing and came up with my Top 5 reasons:
1. Fantasy football is work
Yes most people think of fantasy football as a fun way to pass the time or just a silly game, but you indeed need to do research and analysis to determine the best picks for potential points. You don’t want to draft a player who at practice yesterday broke his collarbone. Keeping up with all the information is work, just like writing is work and research heavy, you must commit to put the time in to write and develop your story and to drive interest from your readers. Dedication is a writers best attribute, same as a football player. Got to get to work.
2. Know your characters
Football players are a funny bunch, they have instant stardom and a platform to show a little cray-crayiness. In fantasy football your research must include things like is this a pass heavy team, do they run the hurry-up offense, how is their D (defense), who is recovering from an injury or who is listed as IR (injured reserve). The things that non-football fans miss is that we must go deeper to make the best picks, we need to know will his momma be at the game, did his bother just pass-away, does the QB have a connection with him or is he not getting the reps. This is no different than building our characters in our writing. We must go deeper into the mind of the character to know what their reaction or performance will be in a given situation. We must develop these back stories so our reader feels the person instead of just reads the person. Get to know them, develop them, and they will pay back in dividends.
On fantasy football draft day we are reviewing our picks, checking practice updates, looking for new injuries and re-evaluating who are our first rounders, second, third, on-and-on. This is “draft mode” to a writer, we re-read each sentence, paragraph and chapter. Ask ourselves does it make sense to the reader, does it capture the audience, does the story build and what was the hurdle? As a writer our draft mode could be a month, half year, or even years. In fantasy football we start drafting when training camp starts and have a hard stop at first game day kick-off. Maybe as writers we need to set a hard stop for draft mode too.
4. Preseason games
I think you are starting to get the picture here; preseason games could be considered practice runs. The games don’t count towards the teams season, the players don’t really go hard, but the coaches do take the opportunity to see what their 2s & 3s (non-starters) can actually do on the field in a “real” game setting. If you guessed that preseason games are just like a writers query then you are correct! As writers we develop our query letters to send out to either agents or direct to publishers. These tend to be preseason runs until we get a few bites. Those bites don’t come until we as “non-starters” skin up our knees on several practice runs. Our coaches such as mentors, workshops, or editors challenge us to get the play right. Practice makes perfect so we revise the query letters, re-group with a few workshops, and listen to our coaches.
After all the research, injuries and trades we finally get to the playoff bracket. This is where the real women or men step-up. Our starters are battered, tired, and might have concussions but we must prepare for these games differently. Our team record for the season doesn’t matter, if won the division title its worthless, we are all back to 0-0. With writers we might only get one shot to fully write, develop, edit, and publish a novel or short story. Some of us may not ever get the chance to publish, but when we do, this is it. The Playoffs. Its a big deal to have a call back from a publishing house or agent who thinks you have written something special. This is the moment when all the queries, emails, workshops and colleague advise do not matter, we are back to 0-0. Now is the time to prepare on your potential contract, residuals, and exclusivity terms. Writers then must shift their focus from writing to promoting themselves and their novel. This is new territory and a chance at the SuperBowl.
Lets go get em’