Published: November 4th, 2014
What does a high school boy do if he thinks the girl of his dreams will be an assistant for the softball team his mother coaches? Easy! He volunteers to be an assistant, too. That's what Jace Waldron does in Fast-Pitch Love. It might be his only chance to make a move on Stephanie Thornapple while her boyfriend is away. But Jace's plans go awry, and soon he faces the double challenge of coaching a team of mischievous preteen girls and learning there is more to romance than physical attraction.
"I enjoyed this young adult novel by Clay Cormany. The story told from a guy's perspective made it especially interesting. I think a lot of young women would enjoy seeing romance from a guy's point of view. I also liked that the novel was innocent without gratuitous sex or swear words." Paulita Kincer, author of The Summer of France and Trail Mix
"Like the spin on a fastball, Fast-Pitch Love puts a new spin on the age old boy meets girl phenomenon. And what a wonderful spin it is. Clay Cormany weaves together the twin themes of teenage infatuation and a girls’ softball team. Along the way he does a wonderful job of mixing the excitement of youth sports with the impending showdown between two suitors of the same pretty girl." - The Dane
"Fast-Pitch Love is an unusual coming-of-age story since it's told from the guy's point of view. The characters are likeable and believable; the action well paced. You don't need to be a softball player, or even an athlete, to thoroughly enjoy Fast-Pitch Love." Louise
(from Chapter One)
The skinny student recoiled from the push, his back thumping into the wall behind him. His books fell to the floor as he raised his hands to guard against the punch that seemed imminent.
“Don't hit me, Carson,” the student pleaded.“I didn't mean anything by it.”
Carson Ealy, all two hundred thirty pounds of him, loomed over the frightened student like a hungry bear. “How can you say you 'didn't mean anything by it,'?” he snarled. “You asked her out, didn't you?”
“Not … not really. I just thought Stephanie might like to stop by my house to … to see my tropical fish. She … she … she lives just around the corner from me and now that school's out –”
“Shut up!” Carson yelled. He grabbed the quivering boy under the armpits and lifted him until his shoes dangled at least a foot off the floor. “Stephanie doesn't want to see your stupid fish or your Barbie dolls or your beanie baby collection. She doesn't even want you to ask her the time of day. And you know something else?”
The student, his face whiter than paste, shook his head.
“I don't want you to either cause if you do, I'm going to twist your head off. Capisce?
The student nodded frantically. “Yeah, yeah, sure, I cap –”
Carson dropped the kid like an unwanted toy and watched him slink away. The handful of students who witnessed the encounter also began to walk on. Some of them might not have known what it was all about, but Jace Waldron did. He knew the skinny student made the near-fatal mistake of putting a move on Stephanie Thornapple. Jace had never made that mistake – but he sure thought about it.
A new student at Ridgeview High, Stephanie joined Jace's American history class right after Christmas break. She sat a little ahead of him and one row to the right, giving him a near-perfect position to admire her near-perfect beauty. Only minutes before watching Carson bully the student with tropical fish, Jace had gazed at Stephanie while working on his history final. In the midst of answering questions about the Great Depression and the Cold War, he imagined himself making out with her.
MY WRITING PROCESS
I'm not sure a description of my writing process will help other writers. To me, each writer is someone unique, someone whose approach to writing might be quite different from mine. That said, if a discussion of my writing process opens a new channel of creativity to fellow writers – or alerts them to potential pitfalls – my effort here will not be wasted.
I begin by outlining a story's content from beginning to end. I'm typically clearer about what I want in the first two or three chapters than I am about the later ones. Accordingly, the outline's main headings usually follow this pattern: Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four (maybe), Middle Chapters, Final Chapters. Invariably, some chapters are ready for immediate development. Dialogue, descriptions, and actions are all set to be moved onto the computer screen. Other chapters are vague. Perhaps they require a more-thorough understanding of who my characters are. Perhaps I must research an unfamiliar topic. Whatever the case, I forge ahead with the chapters that are solid in my mind.
As I move past the first draft, firming up once-vague chapters, I face two challenges. The first is correcting inconsistencies. This was a big problem in Fast-Pitch Love. For example, in the book's first draft, I had the protagonist's family living in a ranch-style house, but later made them run to the house's second floor. Less-noticeable inconsistencies cropped up in descriptions of softball games. More than once, I had one girl playing multiple positions in the same inning.
The second challenge is resisting the urge to make everything “perfect” by the end of the second draft. The desire to find all the right word combinations and eliminate every misplaced comma probably stems from my days as a state government editor. Back then, I usually had to make all revisions to a publication in a short time frame. Now, though I seldom face tight deadlines, I have spent up to an hour searching for the “right” word.
Throughout the process, I share my drafts with my critique group. These good people are adept at identifying sudden POV shifts, implausible plot twists, confusing dialogue, and inconsistencies that I missed. The finished story may not be ideal, but it usually reflects the full application of whatever literary talent I am fortunate enough to possess.
About the author:
Before writing Fast-Pitch Love, Clay Cormany spent over 20 years as a writer and editor for Ohio's State Board of Education. His creative work has appeared in numerous central Ohio publications, including the Columbus Dispatch and Spring Street, Columbus State Community College's literary magazine. He has also edited numerous books, including a three-volume biography of Christopher Columbus and A Death Prolonged by Dr. Jeff Gordon, which received coverage in the New York Times and on PBS. Fast-Pitch Love reflects the two years Cormany spent interacting with softball players and coaches both in practice and competition. He contributes the earnings from sale of the book to girls softball programs in central Ohio and elsewhere.