White text on red background. Text: Alumni ExCo. Grinnell College logo in all white in the upper left corner.

The First Page

Getting your writing in front of an editor or agent is a difficult task, much less getting them to read beyond the first page. As an editorial staff member at The New Yorker, I had to sort through thousands of fiction submissions. To make it through that volume, I stopped reading most stories after the first few paragraphs. Some of them may have been worthy pieces of writing, but I was inundated with material; I didn’t have time to see if a story would get better. In this cross-genre prose workshop, we will explore techniques writers can employ to grab their readers’ interest on the first page, and hopefully, to hold it. During the session, participants will analyze and discuss a few published examples of stories and essays, experiment with prompts, and share aloud some of their work. Come prepared with a piece you'd like to work on, and be ready to reconsider and revise.

Workshop Time and Date: 5-6:30 p.m. CST; Wednesday, July 22
Workshop Lead: Daniel Penny ’13

Meet Daniel Penny ’13

I'm a professor at Parsons and The New School where I teach creative writing and visual culture. My byline has appeared in The New Yorker (where I was an editorial staff member), The Paris Review, GQ, frieze, and many other publications. After graduating from Grinnell with a Bachelor of Arts in English, I completed a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction at Columbia University.

  1. Step 1 Selection
Wednesday July 22
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Please register below
Sold Out
Thank you for your interest in this workshop. This workshop has now hit capacity. Please add your name to our workshop waitlist. We will also use this information to gauge which of the workshops we should consider hosting again during future Alumni ExCo sessions.
Directory