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

Personal Narrative Essentials: Hooking the Reader

No Longer Enrolling

  • $150.00 Non-Member
  • $130.00 Member

Class Description

Want to hook your reader in the first page? Whether you are working on a nonfiction personal essay, op-ed, or book-length memoir,you can employ both classic techniques and new tricks to get your story or topic up and running fast. These include beginning in scene, foreshadowing, posing questions, teasing your themes, playing with point of view, establishing a compelling voice, and the strategic use of "confusing" your reader. We'll look at examples from a variety of writers -- Geoffrey Dyer, Cheryl Strayed, Dave Demerjian, Ariel Gore, Richard Rodriguez, and others-- to see what they do, then via short in-class writing exercises, you'll try your own beginnings. You'll leave with a few drafts of some beginnings. Feel free to bring any works in progress whose starts have you stumped.

Part of The Personal Narrative Essentials series taught by Ethan Gilsdorf. Take every class in the series or simply choose the craft topics that are relevant to the challenges you face in your work. Classes include:

  • Personal Narrative Essentials: Hooking the Reader
  • Personal Narrative Essentials: Writing Great Scenes
  • Personal Narrative Essentials: Summary and Musing
  • Personal Narrative Essentials: The Close-Up Detail
  • Personal Narrative Essentials: Building Characters
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. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

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!