Fiction | Master Class

1-Day Fiction Master Class: Exploring Strategies for Story Beginnings

In this day-long generative workshop for writers of all levels, we'll read openings to stories by authors including Raymond Carver, Jamaica Kincaid, Miranda July, Jhumpa Lahiri, and more. We’ll work to identify different types of openings in an effort to understand how writers create urgency that carries the reader through a short story or a longer work of fiction. Using carefully constructed writing exercises, we’ll practice these different types of openings in class, with the hopes of honing our ability to write effective beginnings that precisely the suit the stories we want to tell. Writers will leave with several new story starts to use as launchpads for future writing, as well as the ability to think more strategically about how the beginnings they may have already written are serving their work. 


- Understand how beginnings affect the pacing of stories

- Several new story beginnings to use as the inspiration for future drafts

- Think strategically about past drafts and learn how to make your previous beginnings more dynamic

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

Karen Bender

Karen E. Bender is the author of the story collection Refund, a Finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction and shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Story Prize, and the novels Like Normal People and A Town of Empty Rooms. Her stories have appeared inThe New Yorker, Granta, Ploughshares, Zoetrope,Guernica, and Best American Short Stories and won two Pushcart prizes. She is the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University, and has also worked with MFA students at Warren Wilson College, Chatham University and Antioch Los Angeles.