Page One Project

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"Call me Ishmael." "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." "It was a dark and stormy night. . ." Beginning at the beginning is one of the biggest challenges in writing. Here's an assignment that asks writers to draft the first page of a novel, and using vivid imagery and sensory detail, describe the setting, introduce the characters, and establish the central conflict.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Check out the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest and consider using it to introduce this activity
  • Gather several first pages of novels class members are familiar with to serve as models

  • Requirements are detailed

  • No examples are provided
  • Specific expectations are to be provided "at a later date"
  • No rubric is included