Creative Writing Essentials: Writing Stand-Out Opening Scenes

Daniel José Older, New York Times Bestselling Author

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
9 Videos (43m)
    • Introduction

      1:58
    • Getting Started

      1:56
    • The Relationship Between Story & Scene

      3:47
    • Anatomy of a Scene: Character Action

      6:00
    • Anatomy of a Scene: Narrative Movement

      5:42
    • Anatomy of a Scene: Driving Question

      6:34
    • FInal Thoughts

      1:52
    • Reading: First and Final Draft

      14:16
    • Explore More Skillshare Classes

      0:33
67 students are watching this class

About This Class

Ever wonder what makes a great opening scene?

In this 45-minute class, New York Times bestselling author Daniel José Older shows you how to craft a compelling opening scene for your story. Using the first and last drafts of the opening scene for his urban fantasy novel Shadowshaper as a case study, Daniel breaks down the anatomy of a scene and provides clear and useful exercises to help you analyze character, movement, and structure. By the end you’ll have the tools needed to build gripping opening scenes and write cohesive stories! Throughout the class you’ll be learning about:

  • Microcosms and Macrocosms: how scene and stories are deeply connected
  • Character Action: what verb choice reveals about your characters
  • Narrative Movement: how the events in an opening scene set the stage and establish momentum 
  • Driving Question: how the opening scene plants the seeds of your story’s larger question

This class is for storytellers, writers, and anyone who wants to explore the inner workings of strong opening scenes. In the last video, Daniel reads through the rough and final draft of the opening scene of Shadowshaper, which you can download here and read beforehand.

77339c4a

0c052cfc

b0ef3c18

96 of 97 students recommendSee All

Very good information, presented in an interesting format and style. Like a good opening scene in a book, the teacher's introduction grabs you and keeps you interested in the entire class. Nice work. Will watch all future classes from this teacher. Thank you!
this boy is sick daym
this is a very interesting and constructive class. I learned a lot. Thanks!!

1,234

Students

51

Projects

Daniel José Older

New York Times Bestselling Author

Daniel José Older is the New York Times bestselling author of the Middle Grade historical fantasy series Dactyl Hill Squad, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, Star Wars: Last Shot, and the award winning Young Adult series the Shadowshaper Cypher, which won the International Latino Book Award and was shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature, the Andre Norton Award, the Locus, the Mythopoeic Award, and named...

See full profile