Practice Swings

When I stepped up to home plate last Sunday night for a friendly game of softball,  I was a bit worried.  It had been almost six years since I’d faced an opposing pitcher.    Most of my practice swings since that time had come during various school visits around Michigan.

Posing with my props at a Kenowa Hills middle school
Posing with my props at a Kenowa Hills middle school

During one of my talks, I share ways to make action come alive on the page.  One of my favorite techniques has its roots in the work I did on FUNDAMENTAL SOFTBALL for Lerner.   I demonstrate to the students how I would get up from my computer  desk and go through the motions of pitching, batting and sliding so that I could break it down and describe it accurately.    I’ve used the same technique for other projects in articles, short stories, and novels.  In fact my very patient son let me tackle him about twenty times for one of my works in progress.

So as I stepped into the batter’s box, I silently went through the advice that I gave to readers a long time ago. Then I took a few practice swings.  The first pitch was high and outside.  I let it go. The next floated in on a path that would take it right down the middle. Closer.  Closer. Closer.  CLANG!  I drilled the ball down the third base line. The third baseman caught it in the air, but I could tell by the reaction from my bench that I’d put a little something on the ball.    I’ve had worse starts.

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