First Paragraph Workshop (with Joy Baglio) - ONLINE
Curious about whether your first paragraph will get readers wanting more? Does it do the job it's meant to, and will it compel readers onward? This workshop adopts the theory that we can learn much from listening to readers wrestle with just a single paragraph of our prose, and feedback received on a first paragraph can point us toward habits and tendencies we can look at in the writing beyond these opening lines. This workshop provides rigorous, on-the-spot feedback on writers' first paragraphs, in a supportive, constructive small group. We'll spend the first hour looking at examples of masterful opening paragraphs, with an eye toward what authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jeff Vandermeer, Raven Leilani, Paul Bowles, Mary Gaitskill, and others are doing to both hook the reader while setting up conflict, character, and situation clearly - and propelling us forward, driven by our own curiosity. In the second hour, we'll turn to workshopping first paragraphs from the writers in the group, with an aim toward help each writer get a clear sense of how potential readers (the group) might respond to their opening lines, and an ultimate goal of helping each writer create as solid a first page as possible. In the final hour, writers will be led through a series of revision exercises to rewrite, tighten, and hone their opening paragraphs and sentence-level writing in general.
This workshop aims to give detailed feedback to prose writers on a single, double spaced (standard formatting) paragraph of prose - from either a short story, personal essay, or novel they hope to publish and deem ready to submit. This paragraph is always the most important, the paragraph where you'll either hook or lose your reader, potential agent, or editor. Similarly, a host of other "issues" can be diagnosed from first paragraphs - and closely analyzing what's working and what's not can be largely informative for writers in terms of their work as a whole. Writers often benefit from a close line-by-line assessment of what's happening in their writing, and this workshop aims to provide the kind of rigorous line feedback that other workshops often don't.
Pre-Class Assignment: A week before the workshop, you'll be asked to email a first paragraph from a piece you are revising (and would like feedback on) to the instructor. This paragraph will be shared by and discussed with the group, anonymously.
For prose writers of all levels. Limited to 12 writers.
WHEN: 3 Hours: Saturday, October 22 (1 - 4pm EST)
WHERE: Online, via Zoom video conference (live)
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
JOY BAGLIO, a writer, educator, and editor (former associate editor at West Branch), founded Pioneer Valley Writers' Workshop in 2016. Her short fiction has appeared widely, in such journals as Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. She's the recipient fellowships, scholarships, and grants from Yaddo, The Elizabeth George Foundation, Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers' Conferences, and Vermont Studio Center, among others.
RECEIVING THE ZOOM LINK: For one-day workshops, we send out the link to attend the Zoom session 1 - 2 days before the event, via email. For multi-week workshops, you should receive info and the link about 3 - 5 days before. Please mark your calendars when you first register and look for our emails. If you don't see the email in your inbox on the day before the class, please check your spam and junk mail folders (and search all folders) for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org before contacting us. We have found that very often our emails end up in those folders. This is based on your own email settings, and you can prevent this by adding our email as a contact.
ONLINE SESSIONS happen remotely, via Zoom video conference. All you need is a laptop, computer, or phone with functioning audio and a webcam. Those who RSVP receive directions and a link to "join" the session via email (please see above note about receiving the Zoom link). All online instructors will log on to the video conference a few minutes before the start of the session, so please plan to log on early if you'd like assistance! We'll do everything in our power to help you get comfortable with the Zoom format, though we are not able to offer technical assistance beyond basic Zoom orientation.
REFUND & CREDIT POLICIES AT PVWW
Because of non-refundable fees that we, PVWW, must pay for every transaction that happens, we are not able to give full refunds to those who register then withdraw from a workshop or class. If you withdraw from a workshop ten days or more before the start of the class: You'll receive full credit toward another workshop or class of equal value OR a refund minus 10%. If you withdraw from a workshop nine days before the start of the class up until 48 hours before: You'll receive full credit toward another class OR a refund minus 30%. If you withdraw from a workshop less than 48 hours before the start of a class or after the class has begun: We are not able to offer you credit toward another class or a partial refund, unless in the case of a medical emergency. If we have to cancel a class for any reason, you will receive a full refund, or if you choose, a credit in the amount of your payment, to be used for any future PVWW class. Anyone who does not specify whether they would like a refund or a credit for a cancelled class within 3 months will automatically be refunded. Please contact Joy (email@example.com) for all matters concerning credit and refunds.