Wednesday24Oct 2018

Wilkinson College Graduate Student Workshop

Down the Rabbit Hole: Writing the Seductive First Sentence in Dramatic Narrative

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 4:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.
2018-10-24 16:00 2018-10-24 18:50 America/Los_Angeles Wilkinson College Graduate Student Workshop Laura Scudder Conference Room, Roosevelt Hall Allison DeVries

RSVP is required

Graduate Students can enroll in this workshop through Course number is GUS 530.

Laura Scudder Conference Room, Roosevelt Hall


are invited to attend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 4-6:50PM

Down the Rabbit Hole: Writing the Seductive First Sentence in Dramatic Narrative

Laura Scudder Conference Room, Roosevelt Hall 121


“A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” —Graham Greene, The End of the Affair (1951)


Where does a story start, and how does the first sentence lure the reader into the narrator’s world? What does it take to write sentences that function as little stories? How do we produce sentences that either make something ordinary seem strange or something strange seem ordinary?


We will work with this proposition: The story is not about what happened; it is about what the narrator makes of what happened. We will consider how, even in a single sentence, narrators convey their love of the story they are telling and their need to tell it. The reader connects to the narrator’s engagement and begins to feel the story is about the reader. That is the trick, to make the reader feel inside the story being told. We will look at the device of layering, where the narrator alternates three kinds of sentences: It happened; It reminded me of; It made me feel (or know, understand, associate, etc.). Using layering techniques during the workshop, writers will produce a first sentence for a story as well as the first paragraph of that story. Everyone will have a chance to read their opening aloud and receive supportive feedback on their uses of craft and form elements.


Laurie Stone, Writer, Performer, Critic

Laurie Stone is author of My Life as an Animal, Stories (Northwestern UP, 2016), the novel Starting with Serge (Doubleday), and the essay collection Laughing in the Dark (Ecco). She is editor of and contributor to the memoir anthology Close to the Bone (Grove). A longtime writer for the Village Voice (1974-1999), she has been theater critic for The Nation and critic-at-large on Fresh Air. In 1996, she won the Nona Balakian prize in excellence in criticism from the National Book Critics Circle. Included in her grants are two from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Kittredge Foundation, Yaddo, MacDowell, VCCA, the Edward Albee Colony, Saltonstall, Djerassi, the Millay Colony, Ragdale, and Poets & Writers. She was included in the "Living Writers Series" at Muhlenberg College, and the world premier of her piece with composer Gordon Beeferman entitled “You, the Weather, a Wolf” was presented in the 2016 season of the St. Urbans concerts. She is at work on a collage of hybrid narratives. Her website is:


You can contact the event organizer, Allison DeVries at or (714) 997-6752.

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