How Novels are Like Professional Wrestling
The biggest pro wrestling event of the year, WrestleMania It is a chance for fans all around the world to converge on the host city to see their favorites performers on what’s been dubbed “the grandest stage of them all.”
Anyone who knows me well, knows my love of pro wrestling…specifically WWE (WWF). It’s been a fun escape since I was a kid. No matter what was going on in life, my brothers and I could always turn to wrestling and lose ourselves in the matches. That’s as true today as it was years ago. The WWE entertained during the pandemic like no other sports show could or would.
I loved pro wrestling so much, one of my first novels Theater of Pain was centered on a fictional wrestling federation. I’ve drawn character inspiration from some of the performers and I even dedicated my first non-fiction book Be Your Own Superhero to the WWE’s own Becky Lynch.
Which leads me into the topic of today. Novels are a lot like pro wrestling.
The first thing I usually start off with when developing a new novel is the characters. Without the character, there is no story. The same is true of pro wrestling. Each wrestler comes up with a unique persona that becomes what’s known as their “gimmick.” In order for the wrestler to succeed in the business their character needs to resonate with the audience. The same thing needs to happen in a novel. Whether it’s a hero or a villain (respectively babyface or heel in wrestling lingo) they need to capture the reader’s attention or else you’ll be booed out of the building.
Back when I watched WWF the inner workings of the programming were a well-guarded secret. Now, all the organizations openly admit the matches are pre-determined (don’t ever say fake!) and all of the storylines are scripted. They even hire TV soap writers to script some of the weekly shows because guess what, wrestling is basically a soap opera. There’s a lot of drama that unfolds between those ropes. And regardless of what genre you’re writing there should be equal amounts of tension built between your pages. Story keeps the audience tuning in every week and the reader picking up the next book in the series.
I’ve said before in my writer workshop about writing fight scenes that every story is bound to have conflict. Even romance novels see their share of aggressive action, and I don’t mean between the sheets! Point is, the rising conflict of a story is eventually going to culminate in some type of fight. The same is true of WWE. Their entire year is spent building characters and stories that become the centerpiece of WrestleMania. The “feuds” are meant to come to a head at the event. Then, on the following day, new storylines are started and built with eyes towards the next WrestleMania. That’s very similar to writing a full series of novels. A writer will focus on the plot or main feud in the first book, put it to bed at the end, but have seeds planted for the rest of the series.
So, if you’ve ever respectfully wondered why pro wrestling has so many die hard fans its because they know how to tell a story with unique characters and amazing action! It’s the same reason why certain authors have so many fans. Books and wrestling, who knew? I did, that’s why I married the two together….
One of the biggest names in pro wrestling has just been murdered and there’s an entire roster of suspects.
Heavyweight champion, Jason Dunjeon , is at the top of the list. To clear his name, he pairs with Vince Vinchelli, a homicide detective with a disdain for pro wrestling.
Now these two opposites must put their odds aside and work together to solve the crime. But veteran wrestler “Ballistic” Black isn’t going to let anything stand in the way of his second shot at fame.
In this arena, it’s a battle royal fight to the death.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/theater-of-pain-cynthia-vespia/1108367964