University of Iowa

Points of Entry in Storytelling

Weekend July 14 to July 15 2018

T.S. Eliot once said, “Every moment is a fresh beginning.” In storytelling, this couldn’t be more true as we face new moments and fresh beginnings over and over whenever we start a new story, a new chapter, or even a new scene. And fresh beginnings mean questions. Where should this novel begin, with a prologue or in medias res? How should I open my memoir? Where should this next chapter or scene pick up to smoothly transition from the scene before it? This class will focus on points of entry in all its forms—prologues, frame narrators, new chapters, new scenes, and false starts, as well as related considerations like handling backstory, transitions, point of view, pacing, and pitfalls. We’ll evaluate points of entry in both classic and contemporary novels, memoirs, and short stories (and even a television series or two), we’ll utilize tested writing prompts to generate some beginnings, and each participant will present up to 10 pages of a story in progress for the group to discuss. Our goal will be to end the weekend with a full bank of points of entry strategies and ideas. This workshop welcomes writers of all levels and genres.


Short Story