The First Two Pages: “Race to Judgment” by Craig Faustus Buck

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.

“Race to Judgment” marks Craig Faustus Buck’s first story for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, but he joins the publication with a long track record as a master of the form, including Anthony Award nominations, Derringer Award nominations, and a Macavity Award win for his terrific story “Honeymoon Sweet” from the Bouchercon anthology Murder on the Beach. On a couple of occasions, Craig and I have been contenders for the same awards, bringing us together on blog tours where we’ve reflected on the craft of writing short fiction. Craig is a gifted storyteller, but he’s also a consummate craftsman, evident in the stories themselves, of course—always thrilling reads!—but further clarified when he talks about the choices he’s made on the page. In his essay here, he gives another glimpse at his careful folding together of character and setting and theme while at the same time keeping the plot moving ever-swiftly forward.

For more on Craig’s work, visit his website here.

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.

Buck Race