The First Two Pages: City of Woe by Christopher Ryan

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.

Last year’s Deadly Ink introduced me to a lot of great writers, and I’ve been fortunate to host several of them at The First Two Pages already: Teel James Glenn, Carol Gyzander, and James McCrone.  Today, Christopher Ryan offers another essay—and a very special one, examining both the first version and the final version of the opening pages to his novel City of Woe.

Not only is Christopher a fine novelist but he’s also accomplished in several other directions: journalist, screenwriter, actor, director, producer, and teacher. He’s written YA fiction and comics as well, and he works with Alex Simmons on the podcast Tell the Damn Story. I was very grateful to be a guest on that podcast recently—a fun conversation Chris and I had in the hallway at Deadly Ink!

For more information on his work, check out his website here—and enjoy the essay below!

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.

Ryan City of Woe