Get on with It

Monday, August 22, 2016


I like watching baseball, especially when the Cubs are playing. But I hate the MLB replay rules, especially this year after changes to other rules increased the number of challengeable calls.

In the “good old days,” when a manager challenged a call, the action paused. The field umpires would get together to decide whether to overturn it. Because they had to rely on what they saw at the time, they made mistakes, even after a challenge. But it probably came out even in the long run, with each team benefiting from an approximately equal number of wrong calls.

Now whenever a play is close, the action doesn’t just pause, it stops. First, the manager of the team that didn’t get the call takes his time deciding whether to challenge the play. Then, if he does, delay is extended while people who aren’t even in the park watch replays from different camera angles. Yes, they get it right most of the time, but it isn’t worth the wait.

Unfortunately, many novels are like that. The author is so interested in getting his or her message across that the action stops. Christians are among the worst offenders, here. Although there are exceptions, I rarely buy fiction from Christian publishers anymore because the message tends to overwhelm the story.

For a novelist, the only effective way to convey a message is to weave it seamlessly into the story. I’d rather interpret the clues myself than have the author stop the action to explain them. Not only is explaining the lazy writer’s way out, but it gives me a great place to put the book down.

If the baseball game is close and exciting, I may wait out the replay. If a book has a fascinating story line, I may skip over the lecture and continue reading.

But I’m more likely to keep reading if the author has already skipped the lecture.


The photograph of Wrigley Field is © 1991 by Rick Dikeman and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No changes have been made to the photograph other than to resize it.

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