Meet our newest dHL Expert Mark Cheverton—New York Times best-selling author of the Gameknight999 series of Minecraft-inspired books for kids, and he is happy to be joining the Digital Human Library!
Let me tell you a little something about me. I was a public-school teacher for 15 years, teaching Physics and Math. I’ve taught in multiple states and taught many different subject during my tenure as an educator. After teaching, I moved into industry, working for General Electric as a research physicist. I conducted research in many topics such as: machine vision, 3D printing, laser welding, automated testing and even holography (you can see some holograms I made of myself here: https://youtu.be/vtf_-i9CXEo and https://youtu.be/GmvGX0jeAxM.
Now, I’m a full-time author, writing my Minecraft-inspired novels every day. Right now, I have 21 novels on the bookshelves, with books number 22 and 23 already completed, just waiting to be printed and released. I’m working on my 24th Minecraft novel right now, hoping to get it finished before the deadline; funny how deadlines make one more productive. My books have been published in approximately 30 countries and have been published in 19 languages. Hopefully, many of you have my books in your classroom.
Kids writing their own stories:
A funny thing happened after I published my first novel . . . kids started sending me their own stories. You see, I realized something when I was at GE. I knew I loved to write, but when I had to write a technical paper, I was terrified because I might be wrong. But when I was writing my own novel, I could write all day long without any fear. And I think my books showed kids this fact. Every child that plays Minecraft feels like they’re an expert. This confidence lowers the obstacle that many of us feel when we have to write, and that’s fear. So kids started sending me their stories. I’ve received almost 900 wonderful works of fiction and art since 2014; every submission gets posted to my website, http://markcheverton.com/fanfic-art/.
Story Writing Tutorials:
But I noticed something; every story was a battle scene and lacked a story narrative. I suspected kids didn’t understand the craft of writing, I certainly didn’t when I started writing. But after writing 20+ novels, I’d learned a few things, and thought I would share then with these kids. So I put together a writing tutorial that I used at conferences and wor
kshops, teaching kids about the craft of writing; it was very warmly received. I typed up the tutorial and put it on my website, then added videos of me discussing the topics in the tutorial. You can find it here: http://markcheverton.com/resources-for-teachers/. Many teachers have sent me very kind notes about how much the kids enjoyed these video tutorials.
Now, as I’m writing my stories, whenever I encounter a topic of interest, I create a mini-lesson that is very specific, like Effective Dialogue, How to use Plot Questions, How to use Sentence Structure to keep a reader interested . . . These writing tips can be found here: http://markcheverton.com/writing-tips-from-mark/.
I’ve received a lot of feedback from teachers, saying my Tips from Mark, have been effective at getting kids excited about writing their own stories.
There are more resources on my website for Teachers, Parents, and Students. They are always free and can always be shared with anyone!
Skyping with Schools:
I’m hoping many of you will reach out to me and have me talk with your classes. I have an interesting story to tell your students, about all of the failure I was forced to endure before I ever found any success with my Minecraft novels. I also have numerous talk about the pedagogy of Story Telling, and lessons on Dialogue or Plot Construction or Design of a Story’s Characters or . . . I even take requests. If you’d like me to talk about a specific writing subject, reach out to me; I’m always happy to creature more presentations that will help students become better writings. I think we can all agree, kids the read write better and kids that write become better readers. These two things are links, and if I can help your students get excited about writing, then I’m all in!
Mark Cheverton (Monkeypants_271)
This post is also available in: Français (French)