Write Great Openings!

In any genre, any style…

the writer’s first objective is to capture the reader’s attention. Will it be:

  • an action-adventure explosion?
  • a rom-com heart-warming introduction to the lovers?
  • a literary contemplative, subtly tense drawing of character?

No matter what kind of story you’re writing, you only get one chance to make a first impression on your reader. It has to go beyond good, way beyond, to turn that impression into commitment.

Because that’s what we’re asking of our readers. To commit their time and attention to our stories. To devote their hearts to our characters. To invest their excitement to the push, pull, and every twist of our plots. Readers know it’s a big ask. That’s why we have to put the goods on the table on page one, starting with the first sentence.




This 6-week live workshop will be held on Tuesdays, March 2 - April 6, 2021

Enroll now to:

  • Save your seat in this live workshop - space is limited.
  • Commit to your 2021 writing goals now.

This course is for novelists of any genre or style.

It is best if you have a draft of Act I of a work-in-progress and a storyboard or outline of the rest of your novel, if not a full draft, at the beginning of the course. Expect to write a variety of exercises and revise your Act I significantly over the course of the workshop. Your writing will be shared with the class for peer feedback. You will also be reading assigned writings and peer's work along the way. Expect to spend 4-7 hours per week on this course, including the live calls.

This workshop size will be limited so everyone has the time and opportunity to participate fully.

Do you have questions not answered here? Email Alida. [email protected]




Your Instructor

Alida Winternheimer
Alida Winternheimer

Alida Winternheimer is an award-winning author and experienced teacher, editor, and writing coach. Her books include the Story Works Guide to Writing Fiction Series, the Skoghall Mystery Series, and A Stone’s Throw. She’s published numerous short stories, two of which were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Alida is the creator and host of two literary podcasts: Story Works Round Table, conversations about craft; and Story Works Reading Series, a literary journal for your ears.

Every day, Alida helps writers write better through her craft books, the Story Works Fiction online school, free writing tips, and her podcasts. When she's not writing or teaching, you can spot her around Minneapolis on her bike, in her kayak, or being walked by her golden retriever. Find Alida at www.StoryWorksPodcast.com.




Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts on Tuesday February 2 and ends on March 9, 2021. It is held over Zoom from 4 - 6:00 Central. Use a time zone converter to find your local time.
How long do I have access to the course?
For the duration of the course. Treat it as you would a physical classroom experience. You will receive handouts to keep forever. Wisdom never fades.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
I would never want you to be unhappy! Once the course begins, partial or full refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis and issued at the discretion of the instructor. Please discuss any concerns with Alida before asking for a refund. It is the student's responsibility to attend live workshops. Refunds will not be issued for poor attendance, except in extreme circumstances.

Need a scholarship?

Limited pay-what-you-can seats are available in the Story Works Fiction School. Contact Alida to see if one is currently available for this workshop. [email protected]

Get started now!