Friday, August 8, 2014


  • the most important sentence in any essay or story is the first one.  First sentence induces the reader to go to the second and so on – until the reader is hooked.  This is the lead.
  • How long should it be?  No pat answer.  But beware that readers want to know very soon what’s in it for them. 
  • The lead must do real work:  details that tell the reader why the piece was written and why he or she ought to read it.  But don’t dwell on the reason.  Give the reader a little more.
  • Continue to build.  Every paragraph should amplify the one before. 
  • the perfect ending should take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem right.
  • one rule for the nonfiction writer: when you’re ready to stop, stop.  If you have presented all the facts and made the point you want to make, look for the exit.
  • A few sentences should wrap things up.  They should encapsulate the idea of the piece and conclude with a sentence that jolts us with fitness or unexpectedness. 
  • One thing you can do is to bring the story full circle.  The sense of symmetry is gratifying to the reader. 
  • Another thing to do is to use a quotation.  Look through your notes and find some remark that has a sense of finality or it’s funny or unexpected. 
Open to all genres - writing and feedback in a relaxed and encouraging atmosphere
Starts Tuesday September 9 - 6 to 8 pm - every other week - 6 sessions
Location: Lincoln Park (write for exact address) - free street parking
Fee: $25/hour - If you register before August 26 - $50 discount
Email me for more details

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