What is the difference between a writer who never finds an agent or sells a manuscript to a publisher and an author who becomes a best seller? The first fifteen pages. The job, the explicit goal, of those critical first fifteen pages, is to hook agents, editors, and ultimately readers. Those first pages need to grab us, if not by the collar, at least by the sleeve, and say, “I’ve got you. Keep reading.” If your first fifteen pages don’t do that, your manuscript won’t make it past an agent’s slush pile, and your book will never land in the hands of a reader or brighten the screen of their Kindles.
During this weekend retreat, we’ll explore the elements that make the first fifteen pages of a novel, memoir, or a work of nonfiction successful. We’ll look at exemplars from each genre to see how successful authors created blockbuster stories. And we’ll talk about your stories along the way.
This retreat is for the novice with an inkling of a book idea, for writers who have a pile of “thanks but no thanks” rejections sitting in their inbox, and for those who’ve heard crickets from all the queries they’ve sent out.
During the retreat, we’ll use exemplars from a number of genres to show how successful authors build story. While not required, being familiar with the following books will be helpful. We suggest you find cheap, used copies of the books you won’t mind marking up and bring them with you.
The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Middle Grade)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Young Adult)
The Firm by John Grisham (Adult – Thriller)
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (Women’s Fiction)
Life Detonated by Kathleen Murray Moran (Memoir)
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Nonfiction)
Place: Rockvale Writers' Colony, 6994 Giles Hill Road, College Grove, TN
Time and Date: 4:00 p.m. Friday, November 11 to 11:00 a.m. Sunday, November 13, 2022
Cost: $450.00 (tax included) $50 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration. Balance is due by October 14, 2022.
Includes: 2 nights in a private bedroom/bathroom suite, access to RWC common areas, gardens, and hiking trails, 5 meals with wine at dinner, 5 workshops, 2 optional writing exercises, community with other writers.