Learn to power hook reader interest, create friction between characters, stack the decks, and up the stakes, keeping the editor or beta reader committed to what happens next as you Master the First 50 Pages of your Manuscript.
Your Instructor: Eric Obenauf (Publisher and Editor at Two Dollar Radio)
Where: Online — Available everywhere!
When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here
Enrollment: 16 Student Capacity
Many agents or editors will offer a decision on a submission by reading the initial fifty pages of a manuscript, and oftentimes even less. It’s up to you to construct a powerful and engaging opening that compels the gatekeepers to want to continue reading the remaining pages. The First 50 Pages course will focus on crafting a taut opening to your manuscript, with particular emphasis on dramatic tension and pacing. Students should come with a manuscript-in-progress (or at least the first 10 pages to start). Weekly course-work will include reading and/or viewing assignments, manuscript revision, and shorter writing assignments that will emphasize that particular week’s component.
What This Class Covers
1. At First Glance.
Students will begin by submitting a query letter along with the first 10 pages (or less) of a manuscript. We’ll discuss queries and transferring voice from the manuscript to the query. Students will constructively critique one another’s initial pages, and be asked to read the opening to one or more books that are especially effective.
2. Stacking the Decks.
Nobody roots for a character that has it easy. Hollywood is especially transparent in their formula for stacking the deck against a film’s protagonist. Students will be asked to view one (or more) movies that provide filmic examples where the protagonist burrows deeper into a hole before being asked to claw their way out. Course work will include manuscript revision with a focus on pushing characters against the wall in the early pages. Students will write outlines and share them with the class that chart protagonist evolution throughout the entire story and what spurs character reversals.
Drama propels readers from one page to the next, but where does it come from? We’ll discuss characters’ conflicting desires and how to inject constant friction to the plot. Students will be asked to share individual scenes from their manuscript and offer one another constructive criticism specific to developing tension.
4. The First 50.
The fourth and final week of the course will begin with students submitting a polished first 40-to-50 pages of their manuscript, along with a query letter, and will conclude with detailed, personalized feedback from the instructor.
Goals Of This Class
- Understand the value of a compelling opening.
- Explore how adversity drives character development.
- Learn how to develop constant friction for your characters that propels readers (and you, the writer) forward.
- Craft a complete and well-polished first fifty pages of your manuscript.
- Generate a solid one-page query leader which leads and captures the style and spirit of your manuscript.
LitReactor offers a unique approach to a writing education: You study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. We bring in veteran authors and industry professionals to host classes covering a wide range of topics in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. You get detailed feedback on your work and take part in discussions in a judgement-free zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, our workshops are about working together to achieve your writing goals.
Where do classes take place?
Entirely online. So, anywhere you have Internet access.
Are there certain times when the whole class needs to "meet" online?
Nope. Our students come from all over the globe. Everything is posted online and accessible 24/7. (We do occasionally schedule phone chats, but try to reach a consensus on timing.)
What does a typical class consist of?
It varies, but nearly all our classes include weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
How much experience do you need to take a class?
Beginner or pro, everyone is welcome. We encourage all skill levels.
Got more questions? Click here for an extended FAQ.
And click here to explore a sample class that shows our layout and features.