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"Jump Start Your Novel" ONLINE with Sara Kocek

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Online Class

9/11/2019 From 06:30 PM CST to 09:30 PM CST

Registration for this class has closed.

$49 for members (sign in for member pricing)

Give your novel the start it needs to reach the end.

Now more than ever, a strong opening is vital for a novel’s success. A manuscript has mere seconds in an agent’s hands, and in order to stand out from the hundreds of other submissions, the opening pages need to be polished and diamond-sharp. This class will cover tips and tricks for crafting a compelling opening chapter, including common pitfalls to avoid.

If you have an idea for a novel floating around in your head, but you don’t know where to start, this class is for you, too. We'll tackle how to develop your concept, flesh out your characters, and establish your setting. From plotting an outline to polishing an opening page, the class will cover everything a writer needs to kick-start a manuscript with compelling tension and a vivid, distinct, voice, including:

  • How to create a flexible outline that grows with a novel
  • Simple methods for organizing a work in progress
  • The six elements of a strong beginning
  • How NOT to open a first chapter
  • How to set—and raise—the stakes of a novel


  • You're starting a novel.
  • You want to hone your opening pages.
  • You have an idea for a novel but aren't sure where to start.


Sara Kocek is the author of Promise Me Something (Albert Whitman, 2013) and the founder of Yellow Bird Editors, an Austin-based collective of independent editors and writing coaches. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University, where she taught fiction and poetry to undergraduates and worked as a full-time editorial intern at Random House and Penguin. Prior to pursuing her MFA, Sara graduated with a B.A. in English from Yale University, where she worked as Writing Fellow, tutoring undergraduate and graduate students in academic and creative writing.





$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page and Online Classes page.

Registration will close on Wednesday, September 11, at 5 p.m. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.


Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit