CRAFT STUDIO: GAME CHANGER BY TOMMY GREENWALD
What I Was Reading:
While I was reading Game Changer, I was struck by the many different ways Greenwald introduces different characters and dialogue without actually using any “traditional” writing styles. The story is about a thirteen-year-old boy who is in a coma from an injury on the football field, but the majority of the story circles around other characters who are trying to unpack what exactly happened to Teddy. We see a lot of different interactions with people within the story, and we get a lot of insight about how the characters are feeling about the protagonist’s journey, without getting an overload of information about them. I thought this was a very interesting and unconventional way to provide perspectives throughout the story.
What Moves I Notice the Author Making:
- Conversations are happening in messaging format with the dates and times of when they were said and by whom.
- You can see what perspectives of the characters are more widely shared in the book by looking at the number of “likes” the message has.
- There is no description given to the characters speaking, but instead information about who they are and how they are involved are happening through online discussion.
- Updates on the protagonist are given through hospital reports, or through what he hears from the people around him while he is in a coma.
- Ambiguity around the circumstances of his injury is heightened from the amount of characters giving opposing perspectives.
Possibilities for Writers:
- Use one of the messaging conversations in Game Changer as a mentor text to get students to write out their own dialogue between 3 or more people. Have them use standard messaging techniques to provide meaning to the conversation.
- Get students to write dialogue in a traditional sense, then have them try to take that same conversation and transfer it to a messaging platform – IMessage, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat – How does it change between platforms?
- Have students think of a time they heard a conversation that they were not a part of, and get them to come up with a way to express that dialogue without using standard quotations.
- Using the Game Changer example of the hospital report, have students describe their current mood or situation in a similarly unique manner.
Guest writer Lauren Sieben is a UNB pre-service teacher currently interning with Sara BeLong in Grade 6 English at George Street Middle School. Game Changer combined two of her favourite things: reading YA and football.