HOW TO WRITE – Ep. 2 – Dramatize!

professormatt_BackgroundHOW TO WRITE w/ Professor Matt is an animated web series that teaches the basics of narrative writing.  

In this episode:
-First drafts
-Figure out what’s working
-Dramatize, don’t summarize
-Eliminate repetition

Step 1

Read the Scene

Writer: Ariana
Title: “Play Ball!”

A scene from my childhood that I hold dearly to me would have to be the first time that I played softball. I remember distinctly waking up in the morning to a clear blue sky and a warm breeze coming from my bedroom window. I was ecstatic for what the day was going to hold and in my haze slowly creaked out of my bed and made my way to the bathroom. As I climbed up my little step stool I stretched my arms as high as they could reach and displayed the biggest smile that I could give. Directly after smiling at myself in the mirror I turned to my right to see my Mom in hand with my outfit for the day. Next to her was my tee ball bag that had my miniscule bat and glove along with my cleats. I have never felt so much excitement, I had been waiting for this day for what felt like ages! With all of these thoughts in mind I decided it was time for me to start getting ready for my full packed day of fun. My Mom helped me get dressed into my uniform and before I knew it I was ready to venture downstairs so that I could get a hearty breakfast in before I headed off. As I made my way down the stairs step by step I came to the table where I was welcomed by the most delectable looking breakfast. Some mickey mouse shaped pancakes with chocolate chips, a couple pieces of bacon, and a small glass of cold refreshing orange juice. It was exactly what I needed to start my day off right. Once I was done shoveling my breakfast down I grabbed my lunchbox which was filled with snacks and a water bottle and made my way to the infamous minivan where I was to venture off onto my journey in. One of my favorite parts of riding in the minivan is the fact that we have a television that sits directly in the middle of the van which was always very exciting for me because I adored all 1movies especially while in the comfort of a vehicle. As I sat down a little lower in my seat I was quickly mesmerized by an episode of Rocket Power and before I knew it the ride was over and we were on the field. I had in one hand my water bottle and in the other my lunchbox with my parents not far behind carrying my bag. Once I make my way to the benches I look up at the sky to see the glimmer coming from the sun and how it reflects off of the batting cages. It is quite beautiful and leaves me in a momentary trance. I realize that I am up to bat as the game has started and as I make my way to the plate I take a deep breath and pull back my bat and full force slam right into the ball on the tee.

Step 2

Watch the Video

Now watch the tutorial and see the text the way a published author sees it.  You can apply what you learn to your own writing.

*If you’re a teacher showing these videos in class, you can have your students add their feedback in the comments before watching. 1) Favorite line or image, 2) What you liked about the scene overall (what is its potential?), 3) How can it be better?

Matthew Ross Smith is an author and award-winning writing professor.  His first novel, Lizzy Legend (Aladdin Books/Simon and Schuster) is out in early 2019.