In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.
Today, Scott Adlerberg writes about the first two pages of his new novel Jack Waters, released last month by Broken River Books. When he submitted his essay, Scott called this exercise of analyzing your own work enjoyable, unusual, and worthwhile: “Approach yourself with detachment, as an object of study,” he said, “and you learn a good bit about what you were trying to do and whether it worked or not.”
The essay is a fine one—a sterling example of Scott’s superior nonfiction work generally, and he contributes essays and blog posts pretty widely, for LitHub, Criminal Element, and Do Some Damage. Whether he’s writing about books or films or the writing process or about himself, his past, or his son (one of my own favorites here), Scott always proves insightful and enlightening—not only because of his keen analytical mind but also because of some warmth and enthusiasm, some generosity of spirit, that seems to animate all his work.
In addition to Jack Waters, Scott’s other books include Jungle Horses and Graveyard Love, and his short stories have appeared in the anthology Protectors 2 and in magazines including All Due Respect, Mystery Tribune, and Thuglit.
Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay here to read off-line.