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"Anatomy of a Scene: Opening Pages" ONLINE with Antonio Ruiz-Camacho

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2/27/2021 From 9:00 AM CST to 4:00 PM CST


$99 for Members
$159 for Non-Members

All registrants will have access to the class recording for one week. 

"Today, first sentences and first paragraphs of any writing are increasingly important for arousing the restless reader," wrote Francine Prose in "Reading Like a Writer."

In this class, we'll discuss the importance of openings in fiction, dissecting some of the most indelible first pages of fiction ever published and discussing strategies to write compelling first lines and sections that will capture the reader's attention.

With the use of published examples of memorable first lines and paragraphs, we will understand how the best openings in fiction manage to excite the reader's curiosity, introduce a setting and lend resonance to the story.
Students will have the opportunity to read in advance craft materials on the importance of first lines and examples of memorable openings in both short and long fiction. They will also have the opportunity to submit a writing sample for class discussion.

The Workshop

Deadline to submit a scene for consideration is Friday, February 19 at 5 pm CST.

Every registrant will have the chance to submit a scene for the workshop in the afternoon portion of the class. The instructor will choose 10 submissions to workshop in the afternoon. The class will receive the chosen scenes ahead of time so that everyone is on the same page. Everyone who registers will be allowed to ‘view’ and participate in the workshop, although they might not have their own work critiqued (again, only 10 will be chosen).

Submission Guidelines:
All submissions should be double-spaced, in 12 pt font, Times New Roman, and 3 pages max. Please follow standard margin guidelines and submit as a Word document.


  • You're writing fiction. 

  • You often struggle to find your footing in a story.

  • You have trouble figuring out the right opening for your work. 

  • You want to learn more about what makes a good opening. 


Antonio Ruiz-Camacho’s debut collection Barefoot Dogs (Scribner) won the Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction, was a Kirkus Reviews and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2015. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Texas Monthly, and elsewhere. Born and raised in Toluca, Mexico, he moved to the US at the age of 31 and began to write in English at 35. He earned his M.F.A. from UT Austin’s New Writers Project and was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.




$99 members (sign in for member pricing)

$159 nonmembers

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

Online registration will close at 5 p.m. CST on Friday, February 26. 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. If you prefer this option, please email with a copy of the form as well. We are working out of our office at this time. 

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 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 email WLT Program Director Sam Babiak at if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.



Once you register for the class, you'll receive an email with detailed instructions. You should expect 2-2.5 hours of direct teaching and 30 minutes of Q&A (for three hours total). If you need to leave the class early or can't attend the class on that date, all registrants will have access to the recording for one week after the class date. No microphone or camera required, just an Internet connection capable of streaming video. All online classes are hosted on Zoom. To learn more about how Zoom works, click HERE.

A couple of days before the class, you will receive an email with login information. Plan to log in to the online platform several hours before the class so that you can update your computer's Flash or any other settings required to access the platform. (Updates usually take only a few minutes, but you don't want to wait until the beginning of class.) Questions? Email us at


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


This project is supported in part by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. For more information, go to