In this fiction-writing workshop, we will get our stories to hit the ground running by working on our Page One. Short story or long-form fiction, all the elements of narration are thrown into play right away on the first page (okay, maybe a little on the second). The themes and problems of the piece are all present, stated or suggested, sometimes hidden. We will learn to do that: get out of the starting blocks fast, leaving our anxieties behind.

Time: eight Wednesdays, 20:00 to 22:00

Duration: 2 October - 4 December, 2019

Location: Atwater Library and Computer Centre—1200 Atwater Avenue, Westmount, Quebec View map

Description

This workshop is intended for people interested in short- and long-form fiction who have begun puzzling out the beginnings of their stories. Limited to 12 participants.

In this fiction-writing workshop, we will get our stories to hit the ground running by working on our Page One. Short story or long-form fiction, all the elements of narration are thrown into play right away on the first page (okay, maybe a little on the second). The themes and problems of the piece are all present, stated or suggested, sometimes hidden. We will learn to do that: get out of the starting blocks fast, leaving our anxieties behind.

The “everything at once” approach means putting all the narrative elements into play simultaneously. Setting speaks for character, dialogue speaks for plot, the description of place speaks for the theme. All intertwined, not consecutive. Everything at once, like when you meet someone in real life, even if it takes time to understand what you first thought you knew.

We’ll look at the beginning page of works of fiction to see how others have handled their beginnings. That revolver on the dining room table – does it really have to go off, and who or what will be the target? When Dante admits in Sentence One, “Halfway through the journey of my life, I found myself lost in a forest dark,” what sort of darkness is this, and why is he telling us about it? The issue of who is talking to us, and why, will be essential to our Page Ones. 

The object is to become more self-aware from the beginning, without turning into hyper-planners intent on deleting all spontaneity. The Page One approach is one of the antidotes to the anxieties of the beginning writer, since it stresses action: moving quickly, getting the elements in play, foreseeing eventual themes, helping answer the question, “Why does this story exist, and where is it going?”

Often the beginnings of stories wonder about their own existence. Tom O’Brien’s The Things They Carried meditates on the difficulty of telling a true war story. How can you tell if a war story is true? What is a war story anyway? Whom can we trust? This Page-One questioning launches the book.

Prerequisites, please:

  1. Participants should bring in their own Page Ones for workshopping and performance with an eye to revision.
  2. They should also bring in a Page One of a work they admire (or loathe) for discussion.

Please note: There will be no class on Wednesday, October 9 or November 6. The final class will be on Wednesday, December 4.

Workshop leader

Credit: Marina Vulicevic
David Homel is the author of eight novels for adults and four, soon five, for younger readers, all published in languages from French to Mandarin to Serbian. He has also taught creative writing at Concordia and led a number of QWF workshops. In the associated trades, he has worked as a journalist, documentary filmmaker, literary translator, and editor. He has won two GG Awards, a number of local and international fiction prizes, and has toured with his books from Cuba to Croatia. He also served as QWF president for two years.

Register

Please note that workshop registration is on a “first come, first served” basis.

Payment is required to confirm your place in the workshop. 

Payments are to be made online via credit card or PayPal. Click on the link below to add the workshop to your shopping cart, then proceed to payment. QWF Members must be logged in to receive their discount. If you are not already a QWF member, you will have the option of purchasing a Membership, in which case you will receive the discounted workshop rate.

If you are unable to pay online, you can temporarily reserve a place by registering online. Your payment must be made to the QWF office by cheque or cash within 7 days of registration or it will automatically be cancelled.

If the workshop is full, you will have the option of joining the waiting list. If a space becomes available, all those on the waiting list will be notified at once by email. The available spot will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.

Please familiarize yourself with the rest of our workshop policies.

Member

General $160 + $3.93 Fee
Student $95 + $2.46 Fee
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Non-Member

$190 + $4.61 Fee
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