For my latest column at the Washington Independent Review of Books, I look back at the last year of hosting the First Two Pages, the blog series started by the late B.K. (Bonnie) Stevens. Here’s a glimpse at the essay:
Bonnie herself was a master short-story writer and a fine novelist, and she thought deeply about craft. As much as I admired her work on its own terms, that appreciation was deepened further whenever she talked about her goals for a piece and how she implemented those goals.
I can’t help but think that our friendship with one another deepened because of many shared thoughts about the craft of writing — including, for example, our mutual love of Edgar Allan Poe’s theories about the importance of the single effect in short fiction. For a great introduction to Bonnie’s excellent short fiction, please do check out her collection Her Infinite Variety: Tales of Women and Crime from Maryland-based Wildside Press.
With “The First Two Pages,” Bonnie gave writers an opportunity to reflect on their own aesthetic preferences and choices; gave other writers access to perspectives and strategies that might inspire and enhance their own writing; and gave readers a glance inside the machinery of stories they’d admired.