Charles Dickens and Seattle Writing Classes.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…
This opening from Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities
is a classic example of a summary lead, one of the techniques we’ll be learning in my fall class, Revising Your Life
, which will teach you the five best ways of opening a story or book: summary, scenic, anecdotal, inventory and beginning at the end. Summary leads allow you to get to the point of your story quickly and easily. The trick is to make them appealing as well. Writers using summary leads often employ wordplay or humor to liven them up. The lead from A Tale of Two Citie
s does a great job of creating suspense, raising questions and leading a reader to keep going with the story. How could it possibly be the best of times and the worst of times? What does he mean by the age of wisdom and the age of foolishness? How can all of this be reconciled?
The fall Seattle writing classes will also provide key insights into narrative writing, with an emphasis on research, interviewing, first person point of view and how to get your story happily published. The class takes place Wednesday evenings 7-9 p.m. Oct. 11 to Nov. 29 and one Monday Oct. 30. There’s still room in the class; let me know if you’d like to sign up!