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Teach me the ways...

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by devodian, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. devodian

    devodian New Member

    This is the bread and butter type article that I write every week, so I hope to improve on this style. Please, please, give me your thoughts. I've got tix to the Super Bowl for the best feedback.

    Markowski brings balance to the Braves

    Unheralded senior stuffs stat sheet in preseason victory over Cyprus High

    BOUNTIFUL — You may not know Brett Markowski’s name. That’s fine by him. The Braves’ even-keeled floor leader is the ying, the emotional center to Ben Aird’s yang. While Aird receives much of the recognition for the Braves success, Markowski is comfortable lying in the background, and quietly killing the competition.

    Bountiful’s 65-53 win over Cyprus Tuesday night was a clear example of the impact Markowski has on a game, while everyone’s head is turned.

    Aird posted an eye-popping 25 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks, drawing much of the defensive attention from the Pirates.

    All Markowski did was stuff the stat sheet with 13 points (on 4-8 shooting), 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

    “A triple-double in high school is almost impossible,” said coach Mike Maxwell. “He’s a big point guard who can do things other guys can’t.”

    While the Braves have grown accustomed to Markowski’s steady play, his greatest import to the green varsity squad is that of a leader.

    He is the only senior starter, and welcomes the responsibility to stabilize and support his younger teammates.

    “My role is to be a leader. I just go out and try to be solid in what I do,” he said.

    What he does is a little bit of everything, providing the glue to the team.

    Cyprus proved to be a feisty opponent Tuesday, as they led by one into the fourth quarter.

    Bountiful played leaky defense through most of the game, allowing Pirate point guard Tre Smith to penetrate deep into the paint.

    Smith, who had a team high 19 points, would then either score or dish to an open teammate. The Braves were fortunate Cyprus went cold from the outside in the fourth quarter and shot only 34 percent in the second half.

    While the Pirates had a difficult time scoring, the Braves went on a 14-0 run to build a commanding 61-47 lead with just over one minute remaining in the game.

    During their scoring run, junior Jordan Maxwell came alive, drilling an open three-pointer from the wing, and driving to the hoop for a three-point play.

    Markowski pointed to the Braves’ ability to slow down Cyprus’ penetration as the key to victory.

    “It came down to the fact that we needed to gut it out,” he said. “We needed to move our feet.”

    Bountiful threw a half-court trap on the Pirates that slowed their speedy perimeter players from turning the game into a track meet.

    Nothing has come easy during the Braves’ four-game winning streak. Their average margin for victory has been five points, which included one win in overtime, and another by one point.

    When asked why his team has not been able to put teams away earlier, Maxwell said, “Because we’re not good yet. This has become our trademark. We’ve won four straight games in the last four minutes of the game.”

    The challenge before the Braves is to play the Great 8 tournament in St. George this weekend. If they win out, there is a good possibility they will play Lone Peak for the second time this season.

    The Knights blew out the the Braves at home 81-46 in the second game of the season. Bountiful was without Aird for that game and welcomes the opportunity to face Lone Peak again.

    If they do, you can be sure that Markowski will be quietly doing his thing.
  2. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Devodian, for starters, thanks for posting.

    Some general thoughts...

    I think it's admirable that you decided to focus on the Markowski kid here instead of the Aird kid, since 25 points and 19 rebounds seems like a pretty large impact to a game. Just make sure you feel comfortable with it, and that you're not forcing an angle for a story because you like the point guard, or you've written about the Aird kid 100 times already, and maybe you just wanted to focus on someone else.

    You seem to have the basic structure of a game story down, so here are some other ways to take it further: If you're going to focus on someone like Markowski, don't tell me about him, show me him. Don't write play-by-play, but don't be afraid to describe maybe one single play that illustrates how he controlled the game. And you can sprinkle in little details about him. How big is he? How long are his arms? Does he have quick feet? How exactly does someone control a game by only scoring 13 points? He's a point guard, right? I want to know why he's compelling, even if you just show him knifing through traffic and tipping a rebound to a teammate, or throwing a bounce pass on the fast break. Don't get carried away with it, but if you want me to believe that he's the engine silently driving this team, show me. Don't tell me. Give me a scene. Game stories can have scenes too.

    The second thing I'll say is that you always want to think about quotes by asking yourself: What are they adding to my article? Take this passage, for example....

    The kid obviously isn't a great quote. So as a writer, ask yourself, if this quote adding anything? I don't know that it does. But if you do use it, and then follow it up with a sentence that says, "what he does is a little bit of everything, proving the glue to the team" that's a great opportunity to show me how. You could say, for instance, "In the fourth quarter, Markowski grabbed an offensive rebound, then pulled the ball out to midcourt, barking out Bountiful's next play. His eyes scanned the court, searching for openings, until he noticed Aird's defender, if only for a moment, looking the wrong way. Markowski whipped a pass through traffic and into Aird's soft hands, and Aird kissed the ball off the glass for an easy layup. Aird was already sprinting back up the court, hungry to play defense before the ball had dropped through the net."

    Or something like that.

    I think you've got a good basic grasp of how to write a gamer. You've got the score up high, the lead is a little cliche', but a decent effort, and now you can take it to the next level. One other thing to think about: If you're going to focus on someone who wasn't necessarily the star, but you believe had a bigger impact on the game, ask a lot of questions about him. To the coach, to the his teammates, to the opposing coach, and to him. What does Cyprus' coach think about him? What does Aird think about him? His coach says he's a big guard that can do things other guys can't, but I'm not sure we see or hear enough of those things.

    It's a good effort. Hope that helps you some. Keep at it.
  3. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Best advice you'll get here: Never post your work here. It's asking for trouble.

    PM me for my address so you can send my Super Bowl tix. Thanks. ;D
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