The First Two Pages: “Never Again” by Elizabeth Zelvin

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.

I’ve long admired Elizabeth Zelvin‘s short stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and elsewhere, so it would already be a pleasure to welcome her here today for a First Two Pages essay on “Never Again,” her new story in the anthology Me Too Short Stories—but it’s a double honor to welcome her as an editor too, since she’s headed up this new collection from the start, as she explains in the post below.

Liz’s short stories have been named finalists three times for the Agatha Award and three for the Derringer as well, and she’s also the author of the Bruce Kohler Mysteries and the Mendoza Family Saga. And Me Too Short Stories isn’t her first time editing either; she also edited Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4.

B.K. Stevens hosted several contributors to Where Crime Never Sleeps at the First Two Pages back in October 2017; I’ll be following suit here and hosting three contributors to Me Too—so stay tuned for essays as well over the next couple of weeks from Eve Fisher and Julia Buckley.

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.


11 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: “Never Again” by Elizabeth Zelvin

  1. Pingback: The First Two Pages: “Subterfuge” by Julia Buckley – Art Taylor

    1. Rona Bell


      What a special talent to shock the reader but at the same to encourage the reading to keep on reading.

      Thank you.

      Rona Bell

  2. Elizabeth Zelvin

    Thanks, everyone. If you have the anthology, check out the dedication to my remarkable mother. I learned to edit at her knee, but when I started writing fiction, I discovered editing fiction is a whole different skill set. I’m so proud to get feedback that not only do the contributors to the anthology think so, but discerning readers who are writers themselves have said it shows. Mom (who whose 117th birthday would be coming up soon) would be proud too—though still baffled as to why I want to write about people killing each other!

  3. V.S. Kemanis

    Thanks for these insights into the writing of your story, Liz. The fine stories in this collection attest to your insight into the subject matter and acumen as an editor.

  4. Elizabeth Zelvin

    Art, thanks for the warm introduction and for having me (and fellow Me Too authors Eve Fisher next week and Julia Buckley the week after) on the blog. We’re very excited about the anthology, and I’m particularly pleased that no one is trying to cram it into a “for women only” niche. I think that’s to a great extent due to the many wonderful guys like you who write and appreciate good short stories!

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