This past Saturday I attended a Writer’s Workshop at the Book Exchange in Marietta, Georgia led by Susan Crawford, Author/Publisher. There was a great group of women writers there and it was a delight to meet them and discuss different aspects of story-telling. Crawford really inspired us and gave a wonderful outline with the right tools to structure our writing and developing our characters. The opening topic was “Experiencing vs. Showing/Telling”. We talked about the balance of the two and it was quite interesting to talk about when it is okay to tell rather than show.
Crawford was open to questions we had and her insight was much appreciated. She led us in three writing exercises that we were able to read out loud to the group and one of them was about, “Opening Line.” This was probably my favorite exercise because as readers and writers we know the “Opening Line” needs to grab us. I’d like to share my opening line with you. This particular line is from a scene of one of stories I’m working on. I wanted to see how it would work with this exercise and it turned out great!
The opening line below is from a story that takes place in North Georgia: Untitled
“As she entered the hiking trail alongside highway 515, she heard an approaching car heading straight for her.”
Writing that as an opening line was interesting- the line grabs you and you want to know what happens next.
I want to encourage you to try this exercise and see what you come up with. It doesn’t have to be from a story you’re already writing. Try to make something up off the top of your head. I know I will be practicing this exercise often and next time, I won’t be using a line from my story.
I learned several valuable lessons at this workshop and now I fully understand the importance of workshops for any writer. For example, meeting with other writers to discuss the different aspects of story-telling, and the encouragement from these events motivates oneself to keep writing.
These are some other topics we discussed that was a refresher for me: Reading your work out loud really does help, a deeper understanding of how to experience what is inside your character’s head, and an in-depth look at point of view. Most of all the discussions among fellow writers about the right prose to describe senses, emotion, the setting and so on…
The class lasted two hours and afterwards Crawford critiqued one writers work. Alas, I had not brought my manuscript for this aspect of the workshop but next time…I would love to hear Crawford’s thoughts on my story.
Thank you, Book Exchange for hosting this workshop and for your gracious hospitality.
Stephanie M. Hopkins
More about Susan Crawford:
Susan grew up in Miami, Florida. She later moved to New York City and then to Boston before settling in Atlanta to raise three amazing daughters and to teach in various adult education settings. A member of The Atlanta Writers Club and The Village Writers, Susan works for the Department of Technical and Adult Education and is a member of her local planning commission. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and a trio of rescue cats, where she enjoys reading books, writing books, rainy days, and spending time with the people she loves.
Interview with Susan Crawford at VoyageATL HERE
Book Exchange Website
Book Exchange Facebook Page
Other Layered Pages posts about the Book Exchange: