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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Crafting the Killer Novel Opening

No Longer Enrolling

  • $130.00 Non-Member
  • $110.00 Member

Class Description

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.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!