B is for Baseball. (Skim to the underlined genre or style that best suits you.)
Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so the ideas I will be posting Monday through Saturday during April are free for any of you to use.
If you are thinking Romance, baseball can be a homerun with many heroes. But try something different. Let your heroine be the baseball fanatic. Did the soon-to-fall-in-love couple meet at a baseball game? Was he or she there under protest, to appease a prospective client, or to give his aging grandfather one last big day out in the action?
Baseball can trigger lots of ideas in the Mystery writer’s brain. Naturally, a wooden bat can be quite the murder weapon. But so can a good hard baseball if somebody has a fast pitch and perfect aim. There’s also the possibility that somebody switched baseball bats – maybe one was a relic, used by Babe Ruth back when… Stolen from…. Let your mind take you through the possibilities. Crimes can be committed circling treasured pieces of history like a famous baseball bat just as easily as crimes circling famous paintings.
And if you are talking Literary, consider the symbolism that could be tied to a baseball bat. What would it represent to you, and how does that relate to your character? Are you thinking of a wooden baseball bat with splinters and faded spots, maybe with a crack along one edge, something that can crack even more with hearty use? Maybe it has already cracked once during a really big storm when it was left out on the porch?
Does any of this relate to a character you can dream up–somebody a bit weathered? Or are you thinking more of an aluminum bat? Something with a few scratches on it, maybe a dent or two, but still a lot of shine left to it? Maybe this bat, both treasured and despised by your protagonist, is all he or she has linking him or her to the long-lost father he/she never met, or the grandfather who the protagonist has never met, but who has profoundly affected the protagonist’s life.
For Children’s stories, a picture book character might be a toddler who isn’t yet strong enough to use the big heavy bat yet, but wants to. Or a middle grader might have swung the bat, and when he or she let go, the bat flew just hard enough to hit–guess who? That’s where your imagination can kick off into a wonderfully high-tension story. For Young adult realism, consider a story about kids who live on the street. Now the bat isn’t just a means for activity or entertainment. It can mean salvation. In the same way a bat or ball can be a weapon in a mystery, it can be a means for self defense for a street-wise young adult.