If you met me in real life, you would not accuse me of being an athlete. And you’d be right! Aside from NFL games featuring Peyton Manning as the quarterback, I’m just not a sports fan. Give the choice, I’ll almost always select Hallmark Mysteries & Movies over ESPN.
The main characters of my books aren’t really into sports, either. If they were, then I’d have to know about the sport, which would mean watching it. No thanks!
Eliminating sports from my books, however means eliminating potential readers. Here are five ways that I have either used or plan to use to introduce sports into my books to add interest.
1. Cheer for the Home Team – Cozy mysteries take place in small towns. Small towns typically have some kind of local sports team or league that requires participation. A local ball field doubles as the perfect venue for looking back at a childhood memory to show more insight into a character. Or finding a dead body.
2. Opportunity to Create New Sports or Teams – My cozy mystery series takes place in the fictional town of Treasure Pines, North Carolina, which was founded by a notorious female pirate. Of course they’d have a pirate for their high school’s mascot. I don’t have to know much about baseball to include lines like:
The town was abuzz with everyone talking about the Pirates’ win over the Martindale Gophers, a victory that put them in the running for a regional title.
This line shows readers that the Treasure Pines Pirates are on a winning streak and the town of Marindale (whose mascot is the gopher) is geographically nearby without blatantly telling them. It’s even better to flesh this out with dialogue.
3. Minor Characters as Sports Fans or Athletes – Just because my main character isn’t a sports fan doesn’t mean she won’t have friends and relatives who are. The less they feature in the book, the less I need to know about sports, right? Perhaps, as long as the ski pole Elmer Jones uses as a walking stick doesn’t wind up wrapped around the neck of his lifelong enemy, Cam Livingston. Or if Tucker
4. Include Non-Traditional Sports – Maybe my main character dislikes professional sports but she participates on a bowling league. Other sports and activities in this category include:
- martial arts
- auto racing
- horseback riding
There are really too many to list in this blog article, but the activities referenced above can help you get started.
5. Create a New Sport – Make up something new. Include rules for playing and other details in the back of your book. You could unknowingly invent the next big pastime.
Do you like reading books that mention sports and athletics? Are you a fan of sports? If you’re a writer, then do you incorporate them in your works? Let’s talk about it in the comments section!