The First Two Pages: “Good Morning, Green Leaf Class” by Sarah Cotter

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.

While I’ve been enjoying all the stories I’ve read so far from the new anthology Chesapeake Crimes: Invitation to Murder, one story stands out in several ways—even with just a quick flip through the pages. Sarah Cotter’s “Good Morning, Green Leaf Class” looks different from the other short stories because it’s told as a series of short messages on a group email, all parties copied, different personalities in the mix—and different priorities and agendas as well. But it’s not only the structure that makes the story stand out; “Good Morning, Green Leaf Class” is high quality start to finish, keeping that wide ensemble of personalities and voices distinct, broadening the readers understanding of history and backstory in subtle ways, and nudging the plot ever forward—a crime from the past, clues dropped, a solution ahead.

Another reason this story stands out? It’s Sarah Cotter’s debut publication—and with a start like this, I’m already looking forward to what she comes up with next. And as you can see from the bio, she’s already working on a full-length novel too!

Do check out Jane Limprecht’s essay from last week on her story “Make New Friends, But Keep the Old” and stay tuned for Brit Alan next week, wrapping up this series on stories from Invitation to Murder.

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.

Sarah-Cotter-Good-Morning

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