Focus on the First Five with Samantha Bond & Robb Grindstaff

Focus on the First Five with Samantha Bond & Robb Grindstaff

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Characters, Description/Setting, Editing, Structure, POV, Voice, Worldbuilding, Critique
$5 off Early Registration Coupon-expires 1 week before class starts
Are you ready to submit your work to an agent or publisher? Want to ensure your work has the best chance to impress? Then you'd better make sure your first few pages sing. We all know that publishing professionals receive thousands of submissions each year and they're often so busy that if your work fails to grab them in that first page or two, they won't persist past that. Sending your work out into the world is a harrowing experience, but if you get those first five pages right, it has a far better chance of success.

The focus of this workshop is to get those first five pages in top shape to immediately hook agents and publishers. We'll do it at the group level through online forum discussions, and at the individual level through focused feedback from the presenters to each participant. It's like a mini-manuscript assessment at a micro price!

The workshop will start with a technical lesson on what the writer needs to do in first five pages. The macro elements will focus on issues such as character, genre, setting, time period, introductory hook, introducing the romance, posing the story question and whether to include a prologue or not. The micro elements will focus on elements of style and students will receive a critique of their strengths and weaknesses as part of their submission feedback.
Participants will be given a week to absorb the lesson and discuss online and with the presenters before revising their WIP. They will then submit their five pages for an individual critique from either Samantha or Robb (the presenters will divide the work equally). Work will be sent back, participants given an opportunity to revise, and then resubmit for a final assessment. Presenters will also encourage participants to share work, questions, and advice on the forum to support one another in making their work submission-ready.
• Hook — what is a hook, and have you included one to make your reader desperate to continue reading your story and find out what happens next?
• Where to start — what is "in medias res", and how much set-up should you include?
• To prologue or not to prologue? — a discussion of the pros and cons of prologues, what a prologue should accomplish, and then —- even if you have a prologue — should you include it or not in your opening pages submission?
• Characters — what makes the reader connect with and want to spend time with your protagonist/s? Have you captured your reader from the get-go?
• Conflict — what conflict/s is your character going to face in your story? This should be clear in those opening pages and also go some way to establishing genre.
• Love interest — if you're writing romance, how should you handle this in the opening? When do you either make it clear this is a romance or have the hero and heroine meet?
• Setting, time period and world building — immerse your reader in the world of your story in your first few pages.
• Part 2—Editing and Refining
• Why are verbs so tense?
• Never use an adverb!
• A surprising announcement!
• Do you filter your fiction?
• Point-of-view (POV), Part 1 of 3
• Point-of-view (POV), Part 2 of 3
• Point-of-view (POV), Part 3 of 3
• Character development
• Writing in 3-D— Description
• Final Words
This comprehensive lesson will provide information, examples and exercises to ensure participants understand what they should be doing, and how to improve what they've already written.
Week 2: Participants will submit their first five pages for a critique on their strengths and weaknesses
Week 3: Upon receipt of their critique, participants will revise and polish their work ready for resubmission.
Week 4: Participants will resubmit to the presenters for a final critique of their first five pages, ready for submission
RJ Garside
Start date
Aug 28, 2017 at 9:00 AM
End date
Sep 24, 2017 at 6:00 PM
Registration end date
Aug 30, 2017 at 6:00 PM
4.05 star(s) 22 ratings

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Latest reviews

Best, most informative class I ever attended. Everything was completely explained, easy to follow, and the result was that my first 5 pages are now awesome!
Robb and Samantha are excellent teachers. The class material was clear and helpful, and the feedback from the tutors was very thorough. The feedback on my first five pages was excellent - the editing suggestions made a great change to the flow of the scenes, and helped me pinpoint some of my 'tics'. I'd recommend this class to writers of all levels.