The First Chapter of Your Novel

with Francesca Lia Block in Culver City
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Culver City
7:30 to 9:30 pm
July 17 to September 4, 2019


How do you write a compelling first chapter? In this eight-week workshop, we will read and discuss the opening chapters of some novels and then students will write and/or rewrite their own, focusing on how to help readers attach to a character, how to create conflict and plot, and how to establish setting, strengthen voice, and incorporate theme. We will explore ways to write an irresistible hook, first line, and first paragraph. Students will leave the class with a strong first chapter and a clear understanding of what makes a chapter work.

The class will take place in Culver City, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 for new students; $380 for returning students.
(Payment plans available to returning students.)

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Francesca Lia Block is the Lifetime Achievement Award-winning author of over thirty acclaimed and widely translated books of fiction, nonfiction, short stories and poetry. She has also written a screenplay for Fox Searchlight and contributed essays, interviews, and reviews to many publications including The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Nylon and Spin. Francesca teaches at Antioch University, Los Angeles and UCLA Extension and recently published a memoir/writing guide The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process.



"In the midst of untangling her own deep-seated vulnerabilities and dreams, the incandescent Francesca Lia Block shares the twelve questions that help shape her words; they will become essential for every writer in search of a light in the literary wilderness." —Jade Chang, author of the New York Times bestseller The Wangs vs. the World

"Francesca Lia Block turns her unique punk-fairie style in a new direction in this fast-paced memoir of hope, disaster, magic, and sheer raw talent, mated with a down-to-earth approach to writing. This double dose of Block, as teacher and writer, is a combination sure to enchant and inform." —Janet Fitch, bestselling author of White Oleander and The Revolution of Marina M.

"The best art begins with the worst pain. In The Thorn Necklace, Francesca Lia Block shepherds us through the process that transforms wounds into words. The transformation's an alchemical one. The prima materia of daily living becomes the base metal of the soul's gold. By turns personal, masterfully intimate, and practical, this book is a must for any writer who aims to get at the heart of all matters: the heart. —Jill Alexander Essbaum, author of the New York Times bestseller Hausfrau

"In this lyrical and haunting meditation on the craft of writing, Block . . .cracks open her psyche and lays it bare in the hopes of inspiring other storytellers-to-be. Wise and inspiring, this is a must-read for artists of all stripes." ―Booklist **starred review**

"The Thorn Necklace is a 'grimoire,' a meditation on turning agony into art, at the same time that it functions as a guide to being creative. Block viscerally shows how she has taken the setbacks of her own life . . . and transformed them into literature that has ultimately inspired and sustained her readers. . . Mesmerizing." ―Los Angeles Review of Books