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.
Most often at the First Two Pages, I’m hosting veteran writers sharing insights not only with readers but also with aspiring authors—”how to” tips for new writers struggling to open their own tales. But it’s been a great joy as well to feature newer authors here, offering fresh perspectives about how to make your fiction stand out—something that James A. Hearn specifically discusses in his essay on “Trip Among the Bluebonnets,” his first professional sale as a short story writer. The story was featured in the anthology The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods, edited by Michael Bracken.
As you’ll see from James’s essay, this is also his debut PI tale—having been a writer across other genres as well: science fiction, fantasy, and horror, for example. But for this story being his professional debut, he’s already forging a clear path ahead, with several publications already under his belt or slated for the near future: “A Beretta, Burritos and Bears” in Guns + Tacos (Down & Out Books, 2019), “Tunnel Visions,” forthcoming in Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem (WordFire Press, 2020), and “The Hard Luck Case,” forthcoming in Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir (Down & Out Books, 2020).
This is the second essay in a series featuring contributors to The Eyes of Texas. Last week, Mark Troy kicked things off with a piece on his story “Shaft on Wheels,” and the next two weeks will feature Trey Barker and Bev Vincent—stay tuned!
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.Hearn-Bluebonnets