Workshop Focus

Whether you’re writing a crime novel, a thriller, or a literary work of fiction, the opening few pages are crucial. The hook must be set, the DNA of the story should appear, and the protagonist should walk on stage in a dramatic and meaningful way.

We’ll look at some famous openings from novels and short stories to steal some great devices for grabbing the reader’s attention and establishing the tone, theme, and pace of the rest of the story.

Tweaking and critiquing the opening ten pages from each student will be the primary focus of the rest of the workshop.


This workshop is full. Click here to join the waitlist.

This workshop is open to writers of all levels. Participants must submit the opening ten pages of a work in progress and provide a brief synopsis which includes: an idea of where the story is headed, who it’s about, what the conflict is, and what elements of the main character’s values and psychology will be tested in the story. Submission must be received by November 15.

About James W. Hall

James W. Hall is the author of four books of poetry, a collection of short stories, a collection of essays, and eighteen novels, including Under Cover of Daylight, Dead Last, and Going Dark. His recent non-fiction work, Hit Lit, is an examination of the dozen most successful bestsellers of the 20th Century and the common features they share. Several of Hall’s novels have been optioned for film and he has written screenplays for two of those projects. He was a Fulbright professor of literature in Spain and was a professor of literature and writing for forty years. Hall has won both the Edgar Award and the Shamus.
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