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The First Twenty Pages of Your Novel

Tuesdays, 4 weeks
May 3
May 24
6:00 - 8:00PM CST
Ginger Eager
Online via Zoom
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You know how sometimes you pick up a novel thinking you'll skim the first page, and suddenly you realize you've read twenty pages and must, must, must finish the book? In this class, we'll explore how writers make that magic happen.

For our first class, we'll read and critique the beginnings of three published novels, exploring what makes them work. We'll discuss character development, world building, and the clever ways each work's plot arc is seeded in the book's beginning.

For our remaining classes, we'll start each class with a quick discussion of a craft essay, including Zadie Smith's "That Crafty Feeling," which interrogates the idea of craft itself. Then we'll workshop our own beginnings, two per class. We'll have fun analyzing own world building and character development, and we'll gain clarity on the plot points we've set in motion.

This class is suitable for all levels, and you'll get the most out of it if you have at least half, or approximately 45k words, of your novel already written. Supposedly Joyce Carol Oates said, “The first sentence can't be written until the final sentence is written," though I've yet to find the source of this quote. It's more or less true anyways.

Ginger Eager is a writer and a teacher who believes in the transformative power of story. Her essays, reviews, and short fiction have been published in Necessary Fiction, West Branch, Bellevue Literary Review, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, The Nature of Remains, won the AWP Prize for the Novel and was chosen by the Georgia Center for the Book for inclusion on Books All Georgians Should Read, 2021. She has a BSEd in Secondary English Education from the University of Georgia, an MFA in Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and a Certificate in Acute Homeotherapeutics from the Caduceus Institute of Classical Homeopathy. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two spoiled housecats.

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