Craft focus: writing a strong story opening

Course Dates: 15/05/23 - 19/05/23
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
Location: Online
A great opening is essential to get your reader’s attention. But do you start your story with a quirky phrase, explode into action, or build intrigue? Find the perfect beginning with this fun, interactive course. Suitable for those interested in writing short fiction and novels.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00

Course Code: HW528

Mon+Wed+Fri, eve, 15 May - 19 May '23

Duration: 3 sessions

Any questions?
or call 020 4582 0415

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course is an opportunity to explore what makes a great story opening. Examining the pros and cons of a range of options will help you decide how best to begin your own novel or short story. Through a series of practical writing exercises, you’ll discover how to draw your reader in from the very start.

City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- A variety of opening styles, and the pros and cons of each
- The differences between opening a novel and opening a short story
- Techniques for getting straight into your story, with just the right balance of background information and narrative action
- How to spark – and sustain – your reader’s attention through those all-important first pages.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Understand and apply a range of techniques and styles to achieve different opening effects.
- Write your own, attention-grabbing opening paragraph
- Discuss writing with confidence
- Give and receive feedback with confidence.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a course suitable for students at all levels. You will be an enthusiastic reader of fiction and fluent in written and spoken English. It may help you if you have taken done some creative writing prior to taking the course.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

- Interactive tutor presentation
- Tutor-led discussion and feedback
- Pair and group work
- Lots of independent writing
- Homework assignments

All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.

For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.

City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no additional costs. Please bring writing materials.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Collect the other Craft Focus courses on offer to give key elements of your writing the special attention they deserve. Or, why not try one of our term-long fiction courses? You may also enjoy a Reading for writers course, or the Craft of fiction reading and writing group. There are lots of options to develop your fiction available via the online prospectus. If you need help finding the right one, just give us a call!

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.

Sophie McKenzie

A former journalist, Sophie McKenzie attended a writing class at City Lit in 2003 and has been writing fiction ever since. She has published over 25 books - including award-winning teen thrillers and crime fiction novels for adults. She is currently writing a new story featuring several strong female characters and working on a drama script for a TV production company.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.