Today is the final day of the regular MLB season. Game 162. For my San Francisco Giants, is has been a wild ride. Some of the highest highs–Tim Lincecum’s No-Hitter, Madbum’s grand slams, getting off to an amazing start. Being 9 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers– and incredible lows–June, July losing that 9 1/2 game lead, the injuries to Brandon Belt, Hector Sanchez, Matt Cain, and Angel Pagan. Then there were the surprises. Joe Panik coming up and filling the hole left by Marco Scutaro at second base. Andrew Susac and Matt Duffy making an impact. Jake Peavy coming in as a quiet trade and keeping the rotation and the team in it the second half.
The wins have been fantastic, with contributions up and down the lineup, solid defense, solid pitching from the starters and bullpen. Just finding ways to win. Making it easy to believe in the possibility of winning it all.
The losses have been horrendous. Failure up and down the lineup. Shaky starts, bullpen collapses. Baserunning mistakes and costly errors. When they were bad, they were horrible. Absolutely awful. My Twitter feed after a loss is full of angst and language that would make Hunter Pence’s speech seem tame.
So today they play their last regular season game. They did not win the division, as hoped. But they will play a one game Wild Card playoff. It’s do or die, win or go home. It’s not the way I would have written it. In fact, if I had written this season the way it actually played out, my editor would have told me to rein in the drama. Too much back and forth, ups and downs. Readers would have put it down back in June, thinking there is no way to get to a happy ending. But if I had written the team cruising their way through an easy season, wrapping up the division in August, no one would believe it either.
As I type away toward the end of my current manuscript, I have to think about creating highs and lows. My books aren’t super angsty, but there is some drama involved. I can’t just have them get married in chapter two and expect readers to come along for the ride if there isn’t some tension, some doubt, that the characters will live happily ever after. It’s a romance, so yeah, you know they will. But it’s all about how they get there. What unexpected twists will crop up along the way? Will his ex cause problems? Is her job really in jeopardy or will she have new opportunities? Will a crazed fan get between them? Will he be able to step up and become champion of her heart?