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Special Topics in the Novel

Crafting the Killer Novel Opening

Saturday, July 25th, 10:00am-5:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

A compelling, carefully crafted beginning is absolutely critical for any successful novel. In this craft-oriented seminar/workshop, we’ll discuss the opening passages of a selection of contemporary and classic novels in order to understand what an opening can and must achieve. In the process, we’ll derive a useful taxonomy of approaches to such craft elements as character introduction, setup, voice, point of view or narrative perspective, world-building, and the initial infusions of suspense and narrative momentum. We’ll discuss the critical concepts of contract, hook, the inciting incident, the story-worthy problem, and external vs internal arcs. Then we’ll turn to participants’ own works-in-progress for an in-class writing exercise and a constructive, non-judgmental, and creatively supportive mini-workshop. Students are encouraged, but not required, to bring along the first few pages of their novel-in-progress.

Part of GrubStreet's Special Topics in the Novel, a group of classes dedicated to exploring different craft elements of novel-writing. For more class offerings,click here.

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Timothy Weed
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • Generate New Work
  • Craft Lessons
  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Workshop
  • Lecture
  • In-Class Reading
  • Class Discussion
  • Concept Development


  • The Novel

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