Back to Calendar

"Crafting Openings That Hook the Reader" with Nan Cuba

Add to my calendar

St. Edward's University, Moody Hall 204
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

6/3/2017 From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM


$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers

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

Note: Online registration will close at the end of Thursday, June 1. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. Thank you!

Location Note: This class is held in Moody Hall, Room 204. This is a different building from past years' classes at St. Edward's University. You can find a campus map here

A story opening should multi-task. Not only must it capture the reader’s attention; it should suggest the protagonist’s gender, age, class, race or nationality; establish the setting, tone, and point of view; and hint at the plot’s conflict. An opening should perform like a well written query to an editor, telegraphing the kind of story that will follow. Opening with an introspective first-person voice sets up a story that will focus on thoughts and emotions of a person wrestling with an internal problem. Opening with actions between several characters indicates a story about an event and its ramifications. Several characters in conversation would signal an ensuing clash between people’s attitudes and opinions.

During this half-day class for fiction and nonfiction writers, students will read examples with a professional eye, closely analyzing these and other craft techniques used to open classic stories.


About the instructor: 

Nan Cuba is the author of Body and Bread, winner of the PEN Southwest Award in Fiction and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction, and co-editor of Art at our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists. Her work has appeared in Antioch Review, Harvard Review, Columbia, Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row, LIFE, Third Coast, and D Magazine. She has received a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, an artist residency at Fundación Valparaiso in Spain, and was a finalist for theHumanities Texas Award for Individual Achievement. She is the founder and executive director emeritus of Gemini Ink, a nonprofit literary center, and teaches in the MA/MFA Program in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, where she is writer-in-residence. Her website is

REGISTRATION BY MAIL: 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.

NOTE: 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. For policies, please visit our
Classes page.


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


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit