The First 10 Pages of Narrative Nonfiction

Julia Scheeres

Julia Scheeres

Instructor: Julia Scheeres


Number of sessions: 1

Meeting time: Saturday morning, July 26, 9 a.m. – 12 noon

Dates: July 26

Course fee: $75 fee due upon enrollment

Description: The first ten pages of a book are arguably the most important. The author must set up the story, infuse it with drama, and captivate the reader. Crafting a successful opening will help you set the stage for the rest of your book. What works? Masterful story telling. Strong characters. Artful language. Drama. A clear sense of theme and direction. A mystery. Some element that keeps readers turning pages, wanting to learn more.

In this seminar, students will study the first ten pages of two notable works of narrative nonfiction — one memoir, the other literary journalism. We will learn the underlying structure of each selection and discuss ways students can borrow the author’s techniques to shape their own work.

Bio: Julia is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir “Jesus Land” and of “A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown.” She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review and teaches at Stanford’s Continuing Education Program.