2016 Workshop Description

Afternoon Session —Instructor: Lori Ostlund

Short Prose: Beginnings

It's often said that the most important line of a story is the last one and the second most important line is the first one. But what is really going through readers' minds when they read the first sentence or paragraph of one of your works-in-progress? In this seminar, we will discuss beginnings, both first lines and paragraphs: what they should do, how much they can demand of a reader, and what creates confusion. We will discuss several specific techniques and examples. Then, we will apply these ideas to the first lines and paragraphs of stories in a recent issue of Best American Short Stories. If time allows, participants will read aloud from the beginning of a work-in-progress and get feedback from the group.

Participants please note: Bring the beginning (first line or paragraph) of a story, memoir, or novel that you are currently working on.