A writer’s first job is to make a reader want to turn page after page after page – and that begins, most importantly, with Page One. We all want our readers to “enter the dream” right away, and exist in that magical state where the world around them disappears. We also want agents, editors, and literary judges to feel compelled to read beyond our beginnings. But how can this actually be accomplished? What are some pitfalls of opening lines? What are some tricks?
Looking at the openings of stories, novels, and memoirs by multiple authors, including Karen Russell, Mavis Gallant, Yiyun Li, Elena Ferrante, John Edgar Wideman, and some oldies but goodies like Chekov, we will explore methods for seducing (or shocking!) readers into that dream state and making it impossible for them not to turn the page as they inhabit our reality. And, as we do, we will try out some new techniques, together.