Matt teaches his writing workshops both as part of multi-day school visits, and independently at summer programs, charter schools, bookstores, etc. His programs are tailored to the size and type of group as well as the ages of the students. Topics include:
Graphic novel writing camp
Graphic novels have opened the door to many reluctant readers picking up a book and reading for pleasure. Matt has written three graphic novels, and in this camp he teaches students the basics of creating their own graphic tale. In the shorter camp he prepares each student to independently develop their story idea, characters, and graphics to create their own novel. In the longer camp, they will work together on development and end the week with the foundation of their story fully created.
Ghost camp (how to write a creepy ghost tale)
His most popular writing camp, ghosts and haunted tales, explores the creepy legends behind some of the spookiest stories in the six haunted books Matt has written. Students will learn what it takes to craft a really scary story. This camp also teaches the art of the oral storytelling tradition, and what it takes to bring the written story to life. Students will also learn how to blend the ideas of a fictional ghost story with true-life, non-fiction details to improve their writing, and give their audience a spine-tingling tale!
How to write exciting fiction
Isn't all fiction exciting? Far from it. In this camp Matt works with his young writers to show them the keys to developing winning story ideas. They learn why it is so important to write what you know, and why the best fiction isn't (entirely) fiction at all! This camp explores the creation and development of strong characters, what it takes to craft a compelling plot, and how to follow a story arc to take your readers on the ride of their life and leave them wanting more of your writing.
Five ways to make your non-fiction writing awesome!
For many students, when they think of writing a story, they automatically imagine crafting a creative tale of fiction. Ask many students about writing non-fiction, and they will use words like, "hard," "boring," and "too much work." As the author of more than 20 non-fiction books for elementary and middle-school students, Matt uses this workshop to teach students how exciting and rewarding non-fiction writing can be. Far from boring, he will share stories from some of his non-fiction books, including writing about some of the most exciting professional athletes of our time for Sports Illustrated Kids. Your young writers will leave this camp with a whole new perspective on non-fiction writing and five awesome strategies to make their non-fiction writing pop.
Junior writing camp (ages 5-7)
We are never too young to begin to imagine and create stories. Matt was six-years-old when he wrote his first book, The Fox and the Rabbit. He actually brings that original book with him to this camp and works with his youngest students to explore the wonder of writing and illustrating your own story. These young students will share their own ideas for stories, and in this very interactive workshop they will all work together to create a story idea, characters, and a plot for an out-of-this-world picture book.