Jul 30, 2013

Writer Ramblings: What Fantasy Football Taught Me About Writing

Let me explain how I’ve learned a few things, after you’re done laughing at the concept of learning anything about writing from a game that completely revolves around numbers, watching grown men wrestle for a ball, and showboat like eight year olds after scoring a touchdown. I really have learned a few things. I didn’t post a weapons post last week because I’ve had my head buried in the new outline for Devil Dog and studying football players for the NFL, lots and lots and lots and lots of studying stats, history, updates on injuries, etc. This Friday I’ll have a weapons post up for sure.

So what does Fantasy Football have to do with writing? Something that I feel writers should take very seriously. RESEARCH. Success in fantasy football is not all luck. There is some luck, but in the leagues I play in, you can tell who is researching thorough enough. By researching everything you can and staying on top of all the latest developments, you give yourself an edge that allows you to open up the opportunity to win despite luck. The same goes for writing, even in fiction. If the writer researches to make the details he includes in the book to be accurate, then people who are familiar with whatever it is, will feel it’s authentic and respect the writer.

Respect is important. All my life, I’m the guy who doesn’t care what anyone thinks about me. I didn’t care if people liked me or not. I still don’t. That’s just me. However, I do love to earn respect from people, especially my peers. This is why I still haven’t published a novel. I’m still researching the topics, scenes, locations and character types to make sure it’s as realistic and authentic as it can be.

In writing anything, writers need to educate themselves. I have read some books where the author completely botches the details. They obviously had no experience with the subject, and yet didn’t think to ask an expert or Google the topic. There are many movies that screw up the details too. Most often, people don’t notice the mistakes, because they don’t know how it’s supposed to work or they suspend reality for the sake of entertainment. Me? No. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy movies or books that are obviously not researching the details, but I refuse to publish something that makes me look like I’m an idiot. Okay, I’ll settle for not being a complete idiot at least.

Devil Dog is a story revolving around a marine. Devil Dog is being rewritten again, because I have yet to impress the marines that have looked at it. Marines are proud. I don’t want to disappoint them, or disrespect them. The great thing about marines is that they don’t mind talking about being a marine either. So why wouldn’t I use this resource to research everything about the marines from tactical formations, strategies, lingo, and weaponry?

Some people write fantasy, dystopian or scifi to avoid research, but I say research the stuff in those fields. You want to write the next Star Wars or Star Trek? Starting reading and watching everything NASA. You’d be shocked at some of the things they are planning in our very near future. They have a plan to not only colonize Mars, but to turn it into a mini-Earth. A recent movie came out where they are going to explore Europa. NASA is actually planning to do something like that with robots. Don’t think fantasy the ultimate exception either. Sometimes studying about ancient cultures and religions that you can blend into your characters can give them a depth and variety that you may not have come up with on your own.

If you play fantasy football, good luck this year… unless you’re in one of my leagues.

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