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What is really going through readers’ minds when they read the first sentence or paragraph of one of your works-in-progress? We will discuss beginnings, first lines and paragraphs: what they should do, how much they can demand of a reader, and what creates confusion. We’ll discuss a few first lines and paragraphs from a recent issue of Best American Short Stories. Then, participants will read aloud from the beginning of one of their stories or novel and get feedback from the rest of us. We’ll discuss what our buy-in moment was and try to articulate why. Bring the beginning of a story or novel work-in-progress. If time allows, we can briefly discuss preparing manuscripts for submitting to contests.
Lori Ostlund’s novel, After the Parade (Scribner), will be released in September and is a B&N Discover Pick. Her story collection, The Bigness of the World (2009), received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the California Book Award for First Fiction.