The First Two Pages: “La Chingona” by Hector Acosta

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.

It’s a true thrill to host Hector Acosta at the First Two Pages this week—talking about his new story “La Chingona” from the anthology The Eviction of Hope. Hector is the author of the novella Hardway from Down & Out Books, he’s an editor at Shotgun Honey, and last year, his story “Turistas,” from Angel Luis Colón’s anthology ¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico, was named a finalist for both the Edgar and the Anthony Awards for Best Short Story—twin honors giving his work some much-deserved extra attention. As anyone knows who’s seen me lately (virtually!) on panels or presentations, “Turistas” was one of my own favorite stories of the year—so smartly plotted, extraordinary on so many levels—and I’m glad whenever possible to recommend Hector as a writer to watch and to follow. Speaking of which, please do follow Hector on Twitter here!

All this is to say I was pleased to hear he had a new story in The Eviction of Hope and honored when he agreed to write the essay below.

Edited by Colin Conway, The Eviction of Hope also features stories by Mark Bergin, Joe Clifford, Paul J. Garth, Carmen Jaramillo, Dana King, James L’Etoile, Gary Phillips, Matt Phillips, Tom Pitts, Travis Richardson, John Shepphird, Holly West, and Frank Zafiro. The Hope of the collection’s title is a low-income housing project slated for sale and destined for renovation and gentrification, and as the book’s marketing material explains:

Each resident knew this fateful day was coming, yet most chose to believe it would never arrive. They ignored the posted signs, the hand-delivered warnings, and even the actual notices.

Many stayed until the bitter end.

These are their stories.

In addition to Hector’s essay below on his story “La Chingona,” James L’Etoile contributed an essay last week to the First Two Pages about his story “Billy’s Plan.” Find that essay here as well, and do pick up the full collection too!

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.


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