The First Two Pages: “Scrapping” by Patricia Abbott

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.

Try as I might, I can’t remember the first story I read by Patricia Abbott or our first interactions online—only that I seem to have always been a fan, both of Patti as a writer and Patti as a person.

I do recall the first time we appeared in print together. The Fall 2011 issue of Plots with Guns featured Patti’s story “The Proper Training” and my story “Locked Out.” After that issue appeared, Patti paid me a huge compliment—saying that my story had spurred her to write yet another story, “Eyes Open,” which subsequently appeared at Beat to a Pulp. (I’d link to the specific story but looks like the archive there is still in progress on an update; suffice it to say our two stories had little on the surface to suggest a connection—the beauty of seeing how inspiration can send authors in very different directions.)

Since then Patti has hosted me at her fine blog with a post about my bookshelves, and I hosted her at SleuthSayers for a chat on favorite first novels when our own debut books, Concrete Angel and On the Road with Del & Louise, were both finalists for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, and beyond that it’s been a thrill to see Patti’s star continue to rise with her second novel, Shot in Detroit, earning both an Edgar nomination and an Anthony nomination for Best Paperback Original.

Earlier this month brought her short story collection I Bring Sorrow and Other Stories of Transgression. In addition to boasting one of the best titles ever, the collection has already garnered some rave reviews. Criminal Element praised it as “extraordinary, riveting, and thought-provoking stories that explore the dark side of human behavior,” and Publishers Weekly wrote, “This brilliant collection is sure to boost the author’s reputation as a gifted storyteller.”

Patti’s First Two Pages essay today focuses on one of the pieces from her new collection: “Scrapping.” I hope it’ll prompt you to read the full story—and the full collection as well.

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.

Abbott Scrapping