Build Your Book From The Ground Up with Christoph Paul

Learn to to write a book that will hook readers from the very first paragraph.

Your Instructor: Christoph Paul (Owner and Managing Editor of CLASH Books)

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16 students

Price: $325

Class Description

Want to write a book that will hook readers from the very first paragraph?

Publisher, award winning humor author, & musician Christoph Paul is here to help. He brings with him 10 years of experience as an editor; having curated indie hits covered by Rolling Stone, NPR, Believer Magazine and more. His press, CLASH Books, has been featured in the small press points section of Poets & Writers magazine, and has brought exciting breakout titles such as Darryl, Life of the Party and Girl Like A Bomb into readers’ hands and bookstores around the world. Christoph knows what makes a book work and is ready to share this knowledge, using a no bullshit approach to breaking down the hard facts about the publishing business.

If you are tired of being stuck in the conceptual phase of writing, not being able to take a book past the point of inspiration, or messy drafts that fall apart halfway through, this is your chance to set the ship right from the word "go."

During this four week course, you will learn to outline, write back cover copy, a first paragraph, and then the first three pages of a book that has a solid foundation and hooks readers in right away.

Whatever your path, the skills you learn in this workshop will help you grab the reader and not let go till they get to "THE END."

What This Class Covers

Week 1: Outline

Lecture:  Build your foundation with documentary film beats. Your outline is an adventure map for your eventual book. This will be revised, it are not meant to be perfect the first time around. You might end up retooling things as you go. It will help you lay down crucial groundwork to get your novel/novella done. Look at this week as a way to get things started. Be like a detective and start piecing together the clues of your story and characters with an eye towards building a longer narrative.


Ideas addressed:

·       What makes a book ‘special’?

·       Do I want to be ‘in a relationship’ with this idea for the next 3-5 years?

·       How book structures resemble film story structures

·       The ingredients you need to create a compelling protagonist

·       How to keep stakes high

·       How plot, character, & themes come together to make story melodies


Assignment: Students will be asked to write their outline, using a custom ‘beat sheet’


Week 2: Back Cover Copy

Lecture:  The back cover is what sells your book. It is the ad copy for your product, so to speak, for better or worse. It is a delicate process to craft the perfect back cover, to finesse your copy. Think about what makes you pick up a book. Take into consideration the genre you are writing in and your target audience. That will help you to approach this task. 


Ideas addressed:

·       Why writers should know about the Jojari window effect

·       How to sell your book

·       The importance of being succinct

·       How to hook your target audience

·       How to think like a book seller

·       How to say what your book is about in an interesting way


Assignment: Students will be asked to write their back cover copy.


Week 3: The First Paragraph

Lecture:  Something special happens in a book's first sentence. It introduces the voice and delivers the promise of a story. The first line and then the first paragraph set the tone of your book. They are an extension of the back cover description. You got the reader in the door, now what? If that first paragraph isn’t compelling, it’s very unlikely the ret of the book will be. You need to show the editor, publisher, or agent you have style and a distinct voice. Picture someone browsing in a bookstore, trying to decide what they're going to invest their time and money in. They look at the cover. If that appeals to them enough they turn the book over. They read the back cover, check out the blurbs. Then if all of that gets them intrigued enough, they crack open that first page. If that first sentence and paragraph hooks them they will probably check out the book. Everyone has places to be, exes to stalk, jobs to stress over, families to care for. You are up against a lot when you shoot your shot, so you gotta shoot it right. 


Ideas addressed:

·       Why editors & agents pass or green-light on books based on the first paragraph

·       Why the first line is a promise of what the book will be

·       How to chose the right POV for your story (first, second, third)

·       How to write an opening paragraph that will hook the reader

·        How to encapsulate your book in the first paragraph


Assignment: Students will be asked to write their first paragraph.


Week 4: First Three Pages

Lecture:  It’s time. You’re ready. You are going to start your book, making sure you are on the right track. Let the first paragraph set the tone, so your characters can finally show themselves, plant the seeds of your themes and allow your style shine through.


Ideas addressed:

·       How to build the foundation for a solid first draft

·       Feeling real confidence in your book

·       Developing your outline in your story

·       Fulfilling the promise of your first paragraph

·       How to synergize your moving parts

·       Developing a story that is truly compelling


Assignment: Students will be asked to write the first 3 pages of their book.

Goals Of This Class

• Learn how to get yourself and your reader off
• Build a book from the foundation of an outline
• Hook readers with your back cover copy and first paragraph
• Prepare yourself and build confidence

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