In the Beginning: Get Your Story Off to a Great Start! (1748)
Wednesday, May 24, 1 to 4 p.m.
Most writers know they have to hook their reader starting with the first paragraph they write, but how? What are the elements that make a great beginning to a story or novel or memoir? Setting, dialogue, flashbacks, conflict…all can be effective tools when used properly or can turn readers away. We’ll examine these strategies and others as we explore ways to strengthen our opening pages. Everyone is encouraged, though not required, to bring 16 copies of the first two pages of one of their works in progress, for some hands-on advice. Fiction, memoir, and nonfiction are welcome!
Class discussion will focus on the following stories:
"Treasure State" by Smith Henderson
"Garments" by Tahmima Anam
"The Suitcase" by Meron Hardero
Best American Short Stories 2016, ed. Junot Diaz and Heidi Pitlor
Leslie Pietrzyk is the author of two novels, Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day. This Angel on My Chest, her collection of linked short stories, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was named one of the Kirkus Review’s best short story collections of 2015. Her short fiction and essays have been widely published and she has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Pietrzyk is a member of the core fiction faculty at the Converse low-residency MFA program and teaches in the MA Program in Writing at Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. For more information: www.lesliepietrzyk.com
REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.