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One page and counting – beginnings and narrative construction

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • The submission requirements for Manhattan-based agent Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary

    Management read:

    Please email your cover letter and paste in the first page or so of your material at the bottom

    of the letter (no attachments, please). Let’s repeat that again: first page of your manuscript.

    Not a synopsis. First page. Please.

    Julie Barer, another prominent agent who founded The Book Group, allows authors to submit ten

    pages. These examples are typical of the industry, underlining the point that beginnings are critical

    for authors within the commercial environment. Interestingly, despite this industry focus on

    beginnings, the subject area hasn’t attracted much theoretical attention. Key texts in the field

    include Edward Said’s Beginnings (1975) and A.D. Nuttall’s Openings (1992) as well as edited

    collections such as Brian Richardson’s Narrative Dynamics (2002) and Narrative Beginnings

    (2008). However in the larger field of novels and narratology relatively little attention has been

    paid to something that is determining much of our literary industry. As narratologist James Phelan

    states (2007): ‘Previous narrative theory, for the most part, has emphasized the textual rather than

    the readerly side of narrative beginnings’ (15/6). This paper will explore beginnings from both a

    critical and writerly perspective, arguing they are important to consider, not only for commercial

    reasons but because, as in Said’s words, ‘[b]eginnings … inspire anticipation. A beginning ‘is

    already a project under way’. That is, beginnings set up the stories we can tell. After this

    exploration, I will analyse early and later drafts of the first paragraph of my novel-in-progress

    ‘Freefall’ to see how these discussions have influenced my craft.

    already a project under way’. That is, beginnings set up the stories we can tell. After this

    exploration, I will analyse early and later drafts of the first paragraph of my novel-in-progress

    ‘Freefall’ to see how these discussions have influenced my craft.

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Cosgrove, S. E. "One page and counting – beginnings and narrative construction." 21st Annual Australasian Association of Writing Programs Conference (AAWP 2016). Canberra: The Australasian Association Of Writing Programs, 2016. 1-9.

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 9

Place Of Publication


  • Canberra

Abstract


  • The submission requirements for Manhattan-based agent Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary

    Management read:

    Please email your cover letter and paste in the first page or so of your material at the bottom

    of the letter (no attachments, please). Let’s repeat that again: first page of your manuscript.

    Not a synopsis. First page. Please.

    Julie Barer, another prominent agent who founded The Book Group, allows authors to submit ten

    pages. These examples are typical of the industry, underlining the point that beginnings are critical

    for authors within the commercial environment. Interestingly, despite this industry focus on

    beginnings, the subject area hasn’t attracted much theoretical attention. Key texts in the field

    include Edward Said’s Beginnings (1975) and A.D. Nuttall’s Openings (1992) as well as edited

    collections such as Brian Richardson’s Narrative Dynamics (2002) and Narrative Beginnings

    (2008). However in the larger field of novels and narratology relatively little attention has been

    paid to something that is determining much of our literary industry. As narratologist James Phelan

    states (2007): ‘Previous narrative theory, for the most part, has emphasized the textual rather than

    the readerly side of narrative beginnings’ (15/6). This paper will explore beginnings from both a

    critical and writerly perspective, arguing they are important to consider, not only for commercial

    reasons but because, as in Said’s words, ‘[b]eginnings … inspire anticipation. A beginning ‘is

    already a project under way’. That is, beginnings set up the stories we can tell. After this

    exploration, I will analyse early and later drafts of the first paragraph of my novel-in-progress

    ‘Freefall’ to see how these discussions have influenced my craft.

    already a project under way’. That is, beginnings set up the stories we can tell. After this

    exploration, I will analyse early and later drafts of the first paragraph of my novel-in-progress

    ‘Freefall’ to see how these discussions have influenced my craft.

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Cosgrove, S. E. "One page and counting – beginnings and narrative construction." 21st Annual Australasian Association of Writing Programs Conference (AAWP 2016). Canberra: The Australasian Association Of Writing Programs, 2016. 1-9.

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 9

Place Of Publication


  • Canberra