The University of Iowa

Points of Entry in Storytelling

Weekend July 25 to July 26 2020

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. This class will focus on point of entry in all its forms—prologues, frame narrators, new chapters, new scenes, and false starts, as well as point of entry considerations like handling backstory, transitions, point of view, pacing, and pitfalls. We’ll evaluate points of entry in both classic and contemporary novels, memoirs, short stories, and essays, 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 both fiction and nonfiction writers of all levels.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; critique writing you bring from home.

Hybrid Forms
Short Story
Young Adult