Description of Class
We’ve all had those drafts that seem to start strong, but slowly whimper out. Sometimes the issue is that the opening doesn’t contain the narrative jet fuel to take us the distance. The opening has to establish the kind of organic pattern that will see us through to the end of the narrative.
In this class discussion/workshop, we will examine those crucial beginnings. We will examine the fundamentals of narrative art—tension, immediacy, mystery, etc.—by looking at killer first sentences that build momentum for novels or short stories. We will discuss technique and form by studying examples from enduring literary works, including prose from Grace Paley, Tayari Jones, Celeste Ng, Michael Ondaatje, and others.
Lastly, in the session we will write and workshop your original openings.
Students are encouraged to bring A) a few of your favorite first lines from a novel or short story (the first few lines is okay) and B) 1-2 pages from the opening of a work in progress that hasn’t quite clicked, but you’re excited to revise it in class. You’ll leave the session with a new opening, a head of steam on your project, and some strategies for carrying that momentum forward.
Spencer Wise will also be appearing with longtime SCC instructor Amanda Goldblatt at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square on November 9th for a reading and signing.Top