Saturday’s workshop was tremendously helpful, bound together by enthusiastic writers and excellent guidance from you. We all went home with work to be done, but that’s the whole purpose.

Don Graves, Colorado, Mount Vernon Writing Seminar, 2018

Page’s Mount Vernon seminars are back!
Registration is open.

The Power of the Opening Page

Sunday May 2, 2021
Mount Vernon Canyon Club, Golden, Colorado

How can so much depend on a single page? You’ve written dozens, perhaps hundreds, and you know what lies ahead. “Just wait, dear reader,” you plead, “until you get to the really good stuff!” But readers won’t wait—especially if that reader is an agent or editor. Too many other submissions are piling up, too many other manuscripts where the good stuff begins on page one.

I recently judged the “Best Contemporary Novel” category for a national writing organization. With more than 35 books to read, and a pressing deadline, not only did the opening page need to be strong enough to lure me on, but the first paragraph had to entice me to want to keep reading. Sure, I felt obligated to read more than the first page, but most readers don’t, especially the slush-pile readers who work for those agents and editors.

During this one-day, hands-on seminar, we will look at, read, and discuss the opening pages of the books I judged (most of which were traditionally published, but not all). We will explore what makes us want to keep turning the pages, and what makes us close the cover and move on. We will analyze the important literary elements that appear on that first page: theme, voice, characterization, motif, rising action, setting, and more.

During a second, follow-up seminar, it will be your first pages that we read and analyze, offering constructive feedback based on what we learned in the first seminar. You will discover new ways to empower the opening pages of your own works-in-progress. Save the date for FIRST IMPRESSIONS: ACT TWO, Saturday, May 22nd.. Announcement to follow.

 Appropriate for fiction, memoir, personal essay, and yes, even poets will benefit…


Page Lambert designs and teaches graduate writing courses for the University of Denver’s Master’s Program in Professional Creative Writing.

Writing Services

Page has been teaching writing workshops for 22 years, in over 200 venues in the U.S. and British Columbia. She often teaches across genre because, whether she’s talking about narrative nonfiction, memoir, or fiction, she believes that all good writing starts at the emotional root of the human experience. The content of her workshops can be customized to fit most audiences, but here are a few of her favorite topics (some based on articles she has written for The Writer Magazine, Sojourns, Huff Post, The Roundup, Terralingua, etc.)


  • The Yearning Factor
  • Secrets: Discovering Your Characters Desires
  • Thematic Writing: In Memoir and Fiction
  • How to Keep the Creative Fires Burning
  • Back Story Taking Over the Front Story
  • Give Your Story a Fresh Perspective
  • Exploring Motivation & Point-of-View
  • The Art of the Personal Essay
  • The Business of Writing
  • Memoir Mansion: Truth Dwells in Every Room

Keynote Speaking

Page’s speaking style is intimate, an up-close emotional experience with the audience. Whether speaking about the 12-month trip around the world she took as a teenager, rearing her son and daughter on a small ranch in Wyoming, how her father gave birth to the financial planning industry, the month she spent alone in a remote mountain cabin, or floating down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, she will invite you inside both her joy and sorrow. Here are a few of her favorite speaking topics:


  • Writing to Save the Places We Love
  • The Land and the Eco-system of the Heart
  • The Seductive Nature of Nature
  • Creativity and Retreating from the World
  • The Courageous Art of Being Human
  • Living a Passionate Life
  • The Roots of Leadership
  • The Tipping Points that Inform Our Lives
  • How Creativity Shapes Our Collective Destiny
  • Symbolism and Synchronicity

Past Presentations, Keynotes and workshops include:

Fishtrap: Writing & the West, Wallowa, OR; Women Writing the West, Golden, CO; Platinum Expression, Carbondale, CO; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Stories On Stage, Denver, CO (work performed); A Room of Her Own Foundation, Ghost Ranch, NM; Women Writing the West, Albuquerque, NM; Denver Woman’s Press Club, Denver, CO; American Indian Higher Education Consortium, San Diego, CA; Arapahoe Community College, Littleton, CO; Risk Taking, Fire within Dangerous Minds Conference, Regis University, Denver, Colorado; Feminist Luncheons, Denver, CO; Women & the Environment, Santa Fe, NM; River Writing, Aspen Summer Words, Aspen, CO; Writing from the Imaginative Storm, Taos Writing Salon, NM; Walking Words, Telluride, CO; Writing along the Rim 3-day retreat, Grand Canyon, AZ; Women Writing West, CU Denver; Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Colorado Springs, CO; Writing from the River’s Edge, Green River, UT; Quivira Coalition, Albuquerque, NM; Fall Equinox Writing Retreat, Mt. Vernon, CO; Writing the West Conference, Western State College, Gunnison, CO; Women’s Studies Program, UW Faculty Club, Seattle, WA; Ozark Creative Writers Conference, Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Governor’s Arts Award Banquet, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Adventure Writing Symposium, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Western Writers of America, WY; Rocky Mountain Book Festival, Denver, Colorado; Writer’s in the Sky, Telluride, Colorado; Smithers Arts Council, Smithers, British Columbia; Northwest Book Fest Seattle, Washington; Mountains and Plains Booksellers Conference, Denver, Colorado; Black Hills State University, Spearfish, South Dakota; Northern Arizona University, Museum of Northern Arizona, the Arboretum, Flagstaff, Arizona; the Phoenix Women’s Expo, Phoenix, Arizona; The Reader’s Festival, South Mesa State College, Grand Junction, Colorado.

© 2020 Page Lambert – All Rights Reserved