What is the First Pages Class?

Decorative image of a book.This is the class that more people have enthused about afterwards than any other, in my experience. It’s team-taught. You give us the first 500 words of your novel. One of the instructors reads it aloud, then both discuss it.

Sounds pretty simple, no? Sure. It’s that simplicity that lets the instructors range across a wide array of tools and strategies, providing starting points for all sorts of valuable and useful discussion. Here’s some of what it allows us to provide you:

  • We talk about what’s built into the beginning of a book, how the contract between reader and writer is set up, and how effectively you’re doing it.
  • We discuss ways of engaging readers: with language, with detail, with appeal to the senses, with emotion, as well as other techniquese.
  • We reiterate the importance of titles and tinker (or not) with your wording.
  • We dip into sentence level stuff when we notice persistent patterns such as passive voice or purple prose, and more importantly, we tell you how to remedy the issue.
  • We discuss genre conventions and even the submission process.
  • And we answer the questions you have about all of those and more.

It’s as informative to listen to pieces from the other participants as it is to have your own examined. Some students have mentioned coming away with pages and pages of notes.

The next First Pages workshops:
Section 1: 9:30-11:30 AM PST, Sunday, March 9.
Section 2: 9:30-11:30 AM PST, Sunday, June 1.
$89 for former students; $99 for new students

More details.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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