If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.











October Interview Schedule: 10/3 Ellen Byron, 10/10 Cynthia Kuhn, 10/17 Jacqueline Seewald, 10/24 G. A. McKevett, 10/31 Alan Orloff

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/6 Mary Reed, 10/13 J.J. Hensley,
WWK Satuday Bloggers: 10/20 Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/27 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:


Grace Topping signed a three-book contract with Henery Press for her Laura Bishop Home Staging series. Congratulations, Grace!

KM Rockwood's new short story, "Map to Oblivion," has been included the anthology Shhhh...Murder! edited by Andrew MacRae and published by Darkhouse Books. It was released on Sept. 12.

Warren Bull also has a story in Shhh...Murder! Look for "Elsinore Noir," Warren's short story, in this anthology.

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Thinking About the First Two Pages

By Shari Randall

Short story writer and novelist B.K. Stevens debuted her blog series “The First Two Pages” in 2015. Bonnie asked short story writers and novelists to analyze the openings of their own work, sharing their approach and techniques for tackling some of the writer’s most challenging real estate.

I met Bonnie at Malice. In the way of conferences, we had a couple of quick conversations that I remember for Bonnie’s deep intelligence and wit. We had things in common – we both had two girls of the same ages, and one of my daughters went to Boston College, where Bonnie and her husband studied. I enjoyed her and knew I’d be looking for her at the next conference.

It was not to be. Bonnie passed away, too soon, in 2017.

Writer, editor, professor, and dad extraordinaire Art Taylor took the reins of “The First Two Pages” after Bonnie’s untimely passing, hosting the feature on his blog, continuing to provide a forum for writers to share the techniques, tricks, and thought processes that went into the crafting of their first two pages.

Art invited some writers of stories in the new Chesapeake Crimes anthology, Fur, Feathers, and Felonies to tackle the First Two Pages assignment. My look at the first two pages of my new story, “Pet,” will run tomorrow.

I won’t lie. Writing my “First Two Pages” essay was a challenging assignment. I felt thrown back into freshman English class, thinking about my own writing in a way I haven’t since college. Art asks writers to “focus on the strategy you used in the passage you quote, explaining what you were trying to accomplish.” He also asks writers to address issues like hooking the reader and handling backstory.

To prepare, I scrolled through several blogs in the archives, admiration growing as I read each essay. Admiration grew into a sense of shared purpose. Writing beginnings is hard, especially for a short story. So much has to be done with so few words: introduce characters, setting, conflicts, tone. Seeing how diverse writers, including many friends from the WWK blog, have tackled this assignment and their first two pages was not only like taking a dozen mini master classes, it was reassuring. Writing the first two pages is a challenge for writers at all stages of the writing journey.

Do you have any tips for writing the first two pages of a story?

Link to Art Taylor’s First Two Pages site: http://www.arttaylorwriter.com/category/the-first-two-pages/

10 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I had the pleasure of being one of the very early authors to write for Bonnie about their first two pages. I'm glad I was early as I might have been intimidated by those who followed. Congratulations on your inclusion, Shari, in both the anthology and the blog.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Congratulations on your anthology publication! I did three blogs for Bonnie. I kept them brief and added my photos.

Art Taylor said...

Hi, Shari -- Thanks for the great post here and for the great essay too coming up tomorrow! I've been so glad to continue Bonnie's project and give a forum to so many great writers. :-)
Art

Debra H. Goldstein said...

I was fortunate to call Bonnie a friend and to have blogged for Two Pages for both Art and her - but even if I wasn't or hadn't, I can say I read and would have read this blog religiously because I learn something from each post. It was an excellent idea and I am glad her family saw fit to carry it on through Art.

BTW, good luck to the chapter with the new book....

Shari Randall said...

Hi Jim, I will go look for your contribution to the blog. I'm enjoying going through and finding friends' essays and I'm learning so much, too. It's so cool to see everyone's take on their work.

Hi Margaret, I enjoyed your essay and your photos too!

Shari Randall said...

Hi Art! Many thanks again for the invitation to do the First Two Pages. The blog is a gift to writers who participate and a peek behind the curtain for readers. I'm so glad you've continued Bonnie's work.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Debra, I'd read the blog on and off, usually when a friend posted that they were appearing on the blog, but now I'm going through and soaking up all the wonderful essays. Thank you for the best wishes - the Chessie Chapter does such terrific anthologies (says the lady who's in three ;)

Warren Bull said...

It is the first two pages that determine whether or not a reader/editor/agent will keep reading.

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks, Shari.

I was an early contributor to the first two pages. I don't remember writing the essay part, but I have enjoyed all the posts I have read.

Gloria Alden said...

I met Bonnie several times at Malice. She was a wonderful person. Thanks for writing about the first two pages. At a two day event put on my my Sisters in Crime chapter this weekend, the writer who was our main speaker both days, emphasized how important beginnings were to catch a reader's interest as well as other things, too.