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Manuel Gonzales

In the Beginning; Until the End – Creating Openings That Draw In a Reader and Writing Endings That Leave them Satisfied

Manuel Gonzales, photo by Pableaux Johnson
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workshop description

What draws a reader into a story, of course, are the story’s very first sentences, first paragraphs, first pages. And what stays with readers long after they have finished is the way a story ends – good, bad, or otherwise. The right beginning can open your world up to readers, while a bad ending can undermine an otherwise fantastic story. This workshop will focus on a variety of published work – both beginnings and endings – and on student-submitted short stories that we will use to explore ways to quickly engage the reader and create our strongest endings. Come prepared to write and rewrite our opening scenes.


This workshop is no longer available.

•    This workshop is open to all levels on a first-come, first-served basis and requires no advance submission. The cost is $550. A deposit of $100 is required to register, with the balance due by December 1. Registration is now open.

•     All participants will be expected to submit a short story of no more than twenty-five double spaced pages in advance of the workshop.

•     All participants will be expected to read works for discussion assigned by the instructor in advance of the workshop.

Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and application.

about Manuel Gonzales

Manuel Gonzales is the author of The Miniature Wife and Other Stories, which won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and the novel, The Regional Office is Under Attack!, which won an Alex Award from the American Library Association. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, One Story, the Short Story Advent Calendar, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, he currently teaches creative writing at the University of Kentucky. He lives in Kentucky with his wife and two children.