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How to Nail Your First Three Pages

Lesson 1 of 9

Class Introduction

Lisa Cron

How to Nail Your First Three Pages

Lisa Cron

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome to Creative Live. My name is Lisa Cron, and this is Nailing Your First Three Pages, which I know is a topic that can strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned writer, because as writers, we know how critically important those first three pages are in order to hook and then hold the reader. I mean, first three pages, first page, first paragraph, first line. It is a very slim window that we have to reach through and pull the reader into the world of the story, which is why thinking about writing those first three pages, the first iteration, or the first 50 iterations of those first three pages can be beyond terrifying. It can be paralyzing. And I say this from experience, because this is what happens to me every time I start a new book or a blog post, or even an email, although I don't write three-page emails, anymore, anyway. So what happens is, and you know the feeling, it's like you have some notion of what you want to say. You know what your point is. It's kind o...

f been going around in your head, and you think, you know what, it's time to finally get it down onto the page. So you open up your laptop, and there's that big, blank screen, you know, except for the blinking cursor up there in the corner. And you kind of crack your knuckles, and you go, okay, I'm ready. And there're your fingers and they're hovering over the keys. They're hovering over the keys, the keys words being hovering over, because by then, everything you thought you were going to say has become this tangled mess that's running around in a hamster wheel in your head and you have no idea how to get ahold of anything to get anything onto the page. And at that point you look up, and there's that blank page, and there's the cursor, the blinking cursor. And it starts to look like it's mocking you. It's making fun of you. It's laughing at you. It's going hahaha, here I am, come on, big blank page. Come on, hit me with your best shot. Like a big, giant target here, what's wrong. Come on, hit me with your best shot. And at that moment, lest your head explode, you bang out a few sentences. And then you sit back and relax, because let's face it, that is exhausting. But after a few minutes, you start to feel kinda good. It's like yeah, hey, I broke through. I got something onto the page, yay me. I'm gonna clear my schedule and I'm gonna write all day. First I'll sit down, I'll reread what I've written, you know, so I've got some momentum and I can race forward. So you sit down and you reread that paragraph. And that's when you awaken the sleeping monster. And I think you know what I mean, because we all have that sleeping monster, that voice in your head. And it's reading over your shoulder and it says, really, you call that a paragraph? Are you sure? I mean, I don't mean to bring up painful memories or anything, but remember what your ninth grade English teacher said about your writing to the whole class? Are you really sure you wanna prove him right? Oh no, no, no, no, don't cry, don't cry. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings. I really, I care, I have your best interest at heart. I don't wanna hurt you. I mean, listen, if you think that's okay, what do I know? Go ahead. And we all know what happens after that. Delete, delete, delete, delete. I think that voice, that we all have in our head, does more damage to writers and writers' self-confidence than your beta reading group, your mom, and your ninth grade English teacher all rolled up into one.

Class Description

Writers know that the first three pages are the most crucial when it comes to hooking the reader. You have to stoke the reader’s curiosity, making them not just want to know what happens next, but have to. It’s biology! Not only that, but the seeds of everything that will happen in your story are planted in the first few pages. No pressure, right? And to make the task even more daunting, ironically, most of what writers are taught to do in those three pages end up locking the reader out, rather than luring them in.

We’ll debunk myths that may have been leading you astray, zero in on exactly what readers are wired to expect in those first few pages, and how to get it onto the page. And the best news yet: the last thing you want to do when first writing those opening pages is make them “beautiful.” The biggest fear that keeps writers from getting past the first sentence is believing that it has to be “perfect” right out of the starting gate. Not only doesn’t it need to be, it can’t be. Big sigh of relief!

In this session you’ll learn how to:

  • Duct tape the critical inner voice to a chair so you can really write.
  • Create the five essential things your reader is wired to expect on the first three pages.
  • Plant the seeds of what’s to come beginning on the very first page.
  • Avoid the crippling myth of “holding important info back for a big reveal later.”
  • Make your reader have to know what happens next.


Elise Loyacano Perl

I rewatched this recently to help me as I was getting ready to write my first few pages. Very helpful guide in focusing on important aspects of how to hook the reader. Lisa Cron is clear and engaging. I highly recommend all her classes.

Caleb Koh

I love and immensely enjoy Lisa Cron's classes! They are packed with so much insightful information, palpable exhilaration and courageous authenticity. She provides enormous value at a fraction of what she SHOULD charge! This class is no exception. Thank you, Lisa, for all that you do here at creativeLIVE.

Jacquelyn Dohoney

A friend of mine recommended this class to me and I'm so glad she did! Now I know exactly how to reorganize my first chapter!