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.
The First Two Pages blog series has several informal missions, including spotlighting craft lessons about how to open stories and novels and also spotlighting the authors themselves, who are usually looking for ways to market their latest stories or novels—never an essay task. With the latter goal in mind, I generally try to give precedence to writers who haven’t appeared as part of the series before—an opportunity to spotlight as many writers as possible and usually with as broad a range as possible too, both veteran writers and new writers in the mix. Featuring new essays by the same authors with each new book would limit the chance to celebrate other writers, other voices, other perspectives. But there are exceptions to that rule, and one of those exceptions is named Nick Kolakowski.
This is Nick’s third appearance at the First Two Pages since I’ve been curating the series, and I’m glad to have him back each time because I always learn something from his essays. Nick’s not afraid to test out new approaches, scrap what doesn’t work, start over if necessary, go against conventional wisdom, try and try again—and his reflections on both process and final product are always thoughtful and insightful.
Today Nick talks about his latest book, Rattlesnake Rodeo, released just last week by Down and Out Books; the new novel is a sequel to Boise Longpig Hunting Club. In his past appearances at The First Two Pages, Nick has also talked about his novel Maxine Unleashes Doomsday and his story “A Nice Pair of Guns,” originally published in ThugLit. You can find out more about Nick and his work at 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.Kolakowski-Rattlesnake-Rodeov2