Openings with Jarred McGinnis

A practical, example-driven session focusing on the importance of capturing a reader’s attention from the first sentence, led by the author Jarred McGinnis.

When submitting your short story to a publication or your novel to an agent, you have the tiniest sliver of their attention in which to stand out amongst the thousands of other entries. We will look at examples to understand how in the first few sentences the masters create their compelling, evocative and concise prose.

You will be invited to submit your first page of a novel or short story (max. 300 words) to help tailor the workshop to you.

What will you do on the course?
We will have an example-led discussion understand how great writers are able to do plot, character, scene in a short space to draw the reader in. We will use your submitted first page in practical exercises during the session to make it publication-ready.

Who is it for?
This course is suitable for short story writers and novelists at any skill and experience level who have a first page that they are keen to sharpen and perfect.

Discounted rates
London Writers Network members receive a 10% discount on Spread the Word’s paid programme of activities, and access to two free specially programmed London Writers Network events a year. You can find out more about the London Writers Network scheme here. If you are a London Writers Network member please login to receive your discount.

To see if you are eligible for a concessionary rate, please take a look at our concessions policy.

If you’d like to read our terms and conditions before booking, you can do so here or you can view them at the bottom of every page of our website.

Jarred McGinnis


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Jarred McGinnis is the co-founder of The Special Relationship, which was chosen for the British Council’s International Literature Showcase. He was the creative director for ‘Moby-Dick Unabridged‘, a four-day immersive multimedia reading of Herman Melville’s ‘Moby-Dick’ at the Southbank Centre, involving hundreds of participants. His short fiction has been commissioned for BBC Radio 4 and appeared in respected journals in the UK, Canada, USA and Ireland. He is an Associate Writer for Spread the Word, a mentor for the Word Factory, a fellow of the London Library’s T S Eliot Emerging Writer Programme and a Writer-in-Residence for First Story. He also has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, but mostly he inspires the able-bodied by using public transport and taking his daughters to the playground.