Do you wonder how your favorite novelists create openings that grab you, pull you in, and make you need to read to the next page? In this course, you'll learn how to pace your first chapters with flowing, dynamic prose. Whether you're looking to self-publish or are searching for an agent, editor, or publisher, you'll discover the techniques to build a strong story opening.
Contents and Overview
This course contains thirteen lectures and approximately fifty minutes of video content. In addition, it contains worksheets with practical exercises that you'll apply to your own work.
For those vital opening chapters, I'll teach you what I've learned as an editor. My experiences editing for a New York Times bestselling publisher, and now for independent authors, have shown me the mistakes so many authors make in those first pages. We'll cover three major areas that trip many writers up:
Each of these areas will be broken down into the following lessons:
Whether you have a completed draft that you need to polish, or you're writing down your story for the first time, these techniques will help you create a story with pacing that pulls the reader to the next page.
Learn about your instructor's background, and why she's teaching this course.
How to take advantage of this course, whether you're starting from a completed draft or a blank page.
Here I'll cover my overarching philosophy of story pacing. You'll receive some excellent resources for reference and further learning as well. Keep these ideas in mind as you work through each section.
Learn the most common mistake writers make when they introduce characters to the story, and why it stops your reader.
Follow an example of excellent character introduction step-by-step, and analyze why it works. Source material: Storm Front by Jim Butcher.
Use the worksheet to revisit your story and, based on what we've learned, craft dynamic character intros.
Learn the most common problem new writers face when introducing their world, and why it stops the reader.
Continuing with Jim's Butcher's Storm Front, see an excellent example of pacing the introduction to your fiction/narrative nonfiction world.
Use the worksheet to revisit your story and, based on what we've learned, pace your world intro so it hooks the reader.
Learn the most common issue with pacing your story's initial conflict.
In our last look at Storm Front, see how Jim Butcher starts off strong by establishing conflict right off the bat.
Use the worksheet to establish strong initial conflict in your story.
Now that you have a first act that moves, I'll talk about where to go from here.
Faith Van Horne spent three years as an editor for Ellora's Cave, a New York Times bestselling epublisher. Since then, she's worked as a freelance editor, working one-on-one with authors to help them hone their craft. She edits for writers who choose to self-publish, as well as those seeking traditional publication. She's also had a novel and a novella published, as well as numerous short stories. Her own collection of short stories, Super Sargasso, is now available.
She found that she wanted to reach more writers, so she began teaching workshops. Teaching online is an extension of those in-person lectures.