How to Begin: Writing Seminar
Richard Russo said that he revises the first half of his novels "about seventeen times" and the ends of his novels just three of four times. Beginning a new story can feel like you're starting out on a great journey or it can feel like you're peering over the edge of a cliff. We'll talk about what elements make a powerful start, and how to convince yourself to take the leap. Watch Susanna Daniel discuss How To Begin.
Susanna recommends these writing prompts to help you get started.
For inspiration, check out Susanna's list of great beginnings.
Presented in partnership with the Madison Writer's Studio, this series of writing seminars is meant to give writers of all interest and ability levels exercises and prompts to spark creativity and generate ideas.
Author Susanna Daniel’s debut novel, Stiltsville, was awarded the PEN/Bingham prize for best debut work published in 2010, and her second novel, Sea Creatures, was named an Amazon Editors’ Top Pick of the Best Books of August, 2013. Susanna was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she spent much of her childhood at her family’s stilt house in Biscayne Bay. Susanna is a co-founder, with author Michelle Wildgen, of the Madison Writers’ Studio. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was a Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Her writing has been published in Newsweek, Slate, One Story, Epoch, and elsewhere. Susanna lives with her husband and two young sons in Madison, Wisconsin, where during the long winter she dreams of the sun and the sea, and of jumping off the stilt house porch at high tide.
Michelle Wildgen’s fourth novel will be published by Zibby Books in August 2023. Her first novel, You’re Not You, was adapted into a feature film starring Hilary Swank and Emmy Rossum. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review and Modern Love, O Magazine, RealSimple.com, Best Food Writing, and elsewhere. A former executive editor with the award-winning literary journal Tin House, she is a freelance editor and creative writing teacher in Madison, Wis. Her featured novel is Wine People.