Starting Off Strong: Crafting a Great Opening, with Emily Everett

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and the first pages of your story, essay, or book are just that: an opportunity to hook readers (or editors) and show them why they have to keep turning those pages. A great opening asks the important questions that the remaining pages will answer. In this half-day workshop led by literary magazine editor Emily Everett, writers will learn how to craft beginnings that intrigue and entice readers, but also check all the boxes essential for good storytelling: setting the scene, introducing the cast, and establishing the plot and the conflict/stakes. Then we’ll look at a few example beginnings from an editor’s perspective, identifying what hooks our interest and what slows us down. This workshop will be generative, but participants are encouraged to bring the first two pages of a piece in progress for real-time feedback!  This is an in-person / hybrid workshop, so you can either join virtually or come to our beautiful studio to take the class in person.  

Saturday, October 21st, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Emily Everett is managing editor of The Common, a biannual literary magazine publishing stories, essays, poems, and images with a modern sense of place. With other editors, she selects pieces for the magazine, and edits and develops that work with authors prior to publication. Her fiction is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review and Electric Lit, and has appeared in Tin House and The Tishman Review. Her nonfiction appears online for The Common and Take Magazine. She studied Literature at Smith College and Queen Mary University of London. Find out more at