Tutorials for today's writer

Unputdownable First Chapter

Master Instructor

Jodi Henley

Start: JUNE 1, 2021

at 09:00 AM Eastern Time

End: JUNE 30, 2021

at 11:59 PM Eastern Time

  • Classroom opens 24 hrs before
    workshop begins
  • Classroom remains open for 20
    days after end of workshop

I signed up for Jodi's workshop on transformational arcs because of specific comments from two acquiring editors. Jodi took the time to understand my situation, the editorial feedback, and my novella, including what I could (and should) realistically accomplish in that length piece. I didn't expect to receive such detailed one-on-one feedback.

Kristine Bria


All Levels



Registration Fee



May 31 ~ 11:59 PM
Eastern Time

Jodi Henley is a developmental editor based in the Seattle area, Jodi specializes in character-driven fiction, and is well-known for her ability to turn theory into practical, usable bites. A big fan of the transformational character arc, emotional structure and backstory, Jodi spends her days utilizing the information in her workshops. Jodi believes that there is no one size fits all approach to learning, and has dedicated her workshops to helping people learn in a way that works for them.

Description of Workshop:

Your cover is gorgeous. You have a great blurb. You’re getting Facebook ad clicks.

But you’re not selling books.

Readers often say the cover grabs them first, then they read the blurb, then they read a sample. That leaves one weak link in the buying process: The first chapter did not hook them into the story.

Editors and agents often stop reading after the first chapter, even if the first few pages are fabulous.

Why does that happen?

The story took too long to get moving, the readers didn't engage with the character, it was confusing, there was too much information, there wasn't enough information, they weren't hooked enough to continue ... and so on. There are a lot of reasons to put a story down. It's your job to force your reader to keep turning pages.

Professional content editor Jodi Henley can pinpoint issues quickly and give you specifics to improve your opening and create strong support for the rest of your story. There's a saying in the publishing business that "the opening sells the first book and the ending sells the next book." You may have an explosive story deeper in, but the reader will never know if they put the book down or aren't hooked by the sample.

Take advantage of this special offer to have the first chapter (25 page limit) of your story reviewed by an editor who works with bestselling authors every day and knows what she's doing. Grab your readers from the start and don't let them put down your book.


What is required to be prepared for this class?

Fiction and Narrative nonfiction welcome. Please NOTE the following:

A) Bring a Word document or PDF of your chapter (***limit 25 pages***) and in proper manuscript format: Double spaced, 1" borders all around, 12 pt font (normally Courier or Times New Roman). No fancy fonts. You don't have to stop in the middle of a sentence. Find a good place to stop after the end of a sentence within those twenty-five pages. Additional pages are appreciated, but will not be critiqued.

B) Only upload one chapter or 25 pages if you have shorter chapters. 

C) Once you enter the classroom (the classroom opens 24 hours before the workshop starts), look at the top left side of the page. You'll find the place to load your homework where only you and Jodi will be able to access the pages.

Jodi would appreciate it if you'd also bring your ending (the last chapter or your thoughts on what you want to use as your ending) and a 1-2 page synopsis or free form ramble of what your story is about. Because she's a developmental editor, she likes to make sure everything works together to produce a cohesive flow. 

Note: The classroom and lecture halls for this workshop will remain open an additional 20 days after the workshop ends. You'll have plenty of time to go back to review and/or download material.


Will there be homework and feedback?


Additional Information:

You may enter this workshop at any point during the month it is available.

You can submit your 25-page chapter and supporting material until the last day. The classroom will remain open for 20 additional days after the workshop ends to allow you additional time to review any comments posted by students and Jodi, plus download any material. This will also allow Jodi time to complete the pages and return them to the students. 


Are you ready to take your writing to the next level?
Great! Click the button to register before the class fills up