This session will aim to differentiate between strong story openings and weak ones. What makes one compelling and the other forgettable? How can you catch the eye of readers (and editors!) without relying on gimmicks? How much pressure is fair to place upon a story’s beginning? We will look at famous beginnings, as well as some lesser-known ones, as we discuss how exactly they are juggling all the various demands. Ultimately, we will spend some time writing some new beginnings of our own.
Brad Felver wrote the story collection The Dogs of Detroit (University of Pittsburgh Press), which won the 2018 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. His other honors include an O. Henry Prize, a Pushcart Prize special mention, and the Zone 3 Fiction Prize. His fiction and essays have appeared widely in magazines such as One Story, New England Review, Hunger Mountain, and Colorado Review. He lives with his wife and kids in northern Ohio.