Monday, January 25

Football, romance, and what the heck to write

I watched the NFC Championship game last night. Although I lived in Minneapolis for five years, I hoped the Saints would win (Brett Favre's pseudo-retirement really ticks me off). But I really only watched it to keep my husband company. Football doesn't do it for me. I'm not a sports fan. However, it is clear there are many, many romance readers out there who are HUGE sports fans. Deirdre Martin, Carly Phillips, Kate Angell, Lori Foster, Susan Mallery, and of course Susan Elizabeth Phillips all have entire series based around athletes. Harelquin Blaze puts out several, in addition to their Nascar line of books. If you aren't writing about vampires, then sports is the next big trend.

So I tried last night to give it serious thought. I watched the punts, the tackles, the women hugging in sympathy/horror/excitement in the stands, and I tried to wrap my brain around an idea - any germ of an idea. You see, the book I'm currently shopping around isn't trendy at all. It is the anti-trend. As a matter of fact, I've had one very famous author and three agents tell me the subject matter simply won't sell right now, no matter how well written, just because it contains a movie star. It isn't set in Hollywood, doesn't depict a crazy wealthy lifestyle, but in the current economy, apparently there is fear nobody would want to read about a movie star.

As the game went into overtime, the more I thought about it, the more I had to fall back on the backbone of writing; passion. The only way I'm going to willingly forego watching Castle tonight in order to churn out my word count is if I'm motivated by passion. And I simply don't feel passionate about sports. I think if I put my mind to it, sure I could come up with a plot and a brief outline about a baseball player. But after the excitement of the first few chapters, my interest would wane, I wouldn't care about the characters, and my book simply wouldn't get written. So I guess that means I'm going to keep pushing the envelope and writing what I care about instead of what is guaranteed to sell. Hopefully, eventually, my passion will blaze across the pages and convince someone love happens everywhere - trendy or not.


  1. Christi,
    this has always bothered me. If you write a great story about an actor, football player or a zombie, then why not? I get so tired of the mantra that readers won't buy it.
    Who says?
    SEP wrote about football players, and the fans ate it up. Why not an actor? Keep sending that out, someone will bite!

  2. I'm with D'Ann. And watching the football games yesterday (go, Colts!) illustrated that really important word you mentioned: passion. Those guys, paychecks aside, are passionate about their sport and I think it's that passion as much as love of the game that makes us watch them.

    Oh, and some of us do have a slight uniform fetish going on...

  3. If readers don't want to read about movie stars, explain the success of People magazine. But on another note, I wonder if you actually have to have the sport in the story. What if you turned your hero into a former athlete who fell into acting, ala Dwayne "the rock" Johnson, Terry Bradshaw, Arnold Sch, the terminating governor?

  4. The only thing I like about sports is they keep the DH busy while I'm writing. I've read a few books with movie stars in them and they didn't bother me. I think maybe the people who rejected your mss may have gotten it wrong this time.

  5. I confirm. I agree with told all above. Let's discuss this question. Here or in PM.