It is not often that a writing workshop in English comes along but this May, this is exactly what is happening at the Home for Cooperation. A one-day event welcomes writer, editor and journalist Harrison Blackman who will host a free three-hour workshop on crafting the opening scene of a text. From 10am to 1pm on May 21, writers of all levels are invited to join the Californian writer to unpack the layers of a story’s beginning.

“The opening scene is critical,” say the organisers. “Whether it’s the beginning of a novel, a short story, or a film, the opening needs to grab the audience’s attention and convince them to continue. Not only must the opening scene serve as a ‘hook,’ the beginning has structural narrative responsibilities as well. Like a thesis statement, the opening section has to telegraph several items: the character’s arc or journey, the themes of the work, and hint at the story to come. And yet, it is often necessary to fulfil these elements of story without giving any major plot points away.

“In this three-hour workshop,” they add, “participants will learn how to craft an opening scene in fiction that will set up the character arc, the themes of the work, and grab the audience. We’ll look at several examples from fiction and film to help us understand the demands of writing a hook. By the end of the class, each participant will get the chance to tackle writing their own opening scene. This workshop combines narrative instruction with discussion among participants, through which we hope to facilitate connection and dialogue.”

Harrison’s creative work touches on varied fields, often engaging in genres such as literary mystery and thriller, while his research engages with urban history and the modern history of the Mediterranean. His writing has appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Brooklyn Rail, Literary Hub, The Santa Fe New Mexican, and Ploughshares and he also consults on film and TV projects, including the film A Mouthful of Air (2021), starring Amanda Seyfried.

Crafting the Opening Scene

Creative writing workshop with Harrison Blackman. May 21. Home for Cooperation, Nicosia. 10am-1pm. Free. In English. Limited availability. Bookings via