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Sep 20 / Michael

Taking a swing at a baseball book


OK, after months of doing unsolicited revisions and sort of spinning my wheels, writing-wise, I have begun my next book. It’s a baseball book for kids. It was sort of inevitable that I’d write one: I was the baseball editor at Sports Illustrated Kids for eight years. If that’s the reason it was inevitable, it’s also the reason I was in no particular hurry. I’d written and/or edited hundreds of baseball stories for kids already. And then this idea showed up like a toe-headed cousin in a flagging sitcom, demanding attention and sort of taking things over.

All of a sudden, right now seemed like exactly the time. It is such a good idea—both particular to the sport of baseball and universal to the human condition—and maybe that’s bragging, but only a little. Having a great idea doesn’t mean I won’t make a hash of it. And who knows where these ideas come from anyway. Good writing requires talent; good ideas can be flukes, quirks of biography, or just plain luck.

Anyway, I wrote the first chapter yesterday and the second today. Normally, 2,404 words would be a little early for me to announce a Work in Progress, but I actually have an outline for this one, like, all the way to the end. I’ve never outlined like that before. Not to get all mystical or anything, but I usually need to get to know my characters a bit before I know what they are going to do. The structure of this one just sort of showed up with the idea, though, like the toe-headed cousin’s little canvas suitcase.

Anyway, I’m excited to do a baseball book. I am just so comfortable with the material: the lingo, the feel, the action. Even my inside jokes are clicking into place. (The starting shortstop is a girl named Katie Morgan, because everyone knows shortstops require excellent footwork.) And I feel like I can cast a pretty wide net in terms of the age range; there are tricks, and I know them.

That’s all I’ll say for now, but I’m excited about it. And anyway, after using “batter” as a verb in two straight books, it’s about time to try it out as a noun.


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  1. ACW / Sep 20 2009

    “The structure of this one just sort of showed up with the idea, though, like the toe-headed cousin’s little canvas suitcase.” … nice, Michael.

    OK now, if I wasn’t ALREADY enough jealous of Ms. Katie Morgan, now I *really* am! 😉
    ~ the Anne girl

  2. Michael / Sep 20 2009

    Thanks, Anne. I’m sorry, but it’s K. Morgan’s world. We’re just living in it.

  3. ACW / Sep 20 2009

    yeah, I realize this – thanks ;P … and I’ll remember this in class this week! (as I try to knock on the doors of Julie Kent’s, Diana Vishneva’s, Rebecca Krohn’s worlds, as well! ;))

  4. Michael / Sep 20 2009

    And I’ll remember it as I try knock to fall down or pull something!

  5. Kurtis / Sep 20 2009

    Hate to show my ignorance, but I don’t get the Katie Morgan reference… I know Katie Casey, who loved baseball games, and knew all the player’s names…

    Anyway, good luck! I hope it becomes the second-best baseball book for kids of all time.

  6. ACW / Sep 20 2009

    Works in Progress, we all are.

    Merde for your newest WiP – sounds intriguing!

    ~teeming w/ shortstop-envy and a bad chocolate-craving now…

  7. Michael / Sep 20 2009

    Kathryn Morgan is a dancer, shortstop being the most balletic of positions. It is a *very* inside joke—just the way I like ’em. (In fact, I now have to decide whether to delete this comment thread.)

    Anyway, thanks! I am aiming for best baseball book without a rain delay (or best blue-skies baseball book, for the alliteration).

  8. ACW / Sep 20 2009

    throwing way inside…
    oh, forget it … now you probably will delete this… 😉

  9. ACW / Sep 20 2009

    and, …
    three strikes,
    yup, you’re out, Whitmore!…

    Back to the Minors with me! (errr, back to ballet, maybe…would be a batter – oops, strike that, not badder, urr, dammit, I mean, better fit.)

  10. Michael / Sep 20 2009

    Oh, who am I kidding: How could I delete this thread? So many worthwhile references and puns… (And anyone who makes it through it all has earned their inside info.)

  11. ACW / Sep 20 2009

    insightful, delightful
    inside info, tonight-full.

  12. Maria / Sep 23 2009

    Very cool, what a great opportunity! Yes, makes sense you’d inevitably write a book about baseball. Congrats!

  13. Melissa Walker / Sep 29 2009

    It just makes sense. I’m surprised you don’t have a drawer full of baseball novels. I bet you write it in two weeks and it wins awards. Not kidding.

  14. Michael / Sep 29 2009

    Thanks! I don’t know about finishing it that quickly (after all, I will probably be distracted by Boston’s magical run through the playoffs). I really like the premise, though. I’ll tell you about it at the next event!

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