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.
In the New York Times review of Midnight Hour: A Chilling Anthology of Crime Fiction from 20 Authors of Color, Sarah Weinman spotlighted two stories: E.A. Aymar’s “The Search for Eric Garcia” and Faye Snowden’s “Chefs.” I was pleased to host Ed at the First Two Pages last week, talking about his story, and this week, Faye offers some glimpses at how her story came together, including a look at the original draft of the opening paragraph and some background on how and why the story was rejected by other publishers (persistence pays off, both in terms of craft and submissions).
While Faye admits in her essay below to being primarily a novelist, she’s got a keen sense of what it takes to write a short story, and an earlier story—”One Bullet. One Votes” from the anthology Low Down Dirty Vote—was selected for the 2021 Best American Mystery and Suspense, edited by Alafair Burke and Steph Cha. Faye’s novels include Spiral of Guilt, The Savior, Fatal Justice, and A Killing Fire—the latter the first in a planned four-book series, with A Killing Rain scheduled for release this June. You can find out more about Faye at her website here.
Edited by Abby L. Vandiver, Midnight Hour also includes stories by Frankie Y. Bailey, Marla Bradeen, Callie Browning, V.M. Burns, Christopher Chambers, H-C Chan, Jennifer Chow, Tracy Clark, Rhonda Crowder, Tina Kashian, Richie Narvaez, Stella Oni, Gigi Pandian, Delia C. Pitts, Raquel V. Reyes, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Elizabeth Wilkerson, and Abby L. Vandiver herself.
And stay tuned for more essays ahead by Abby L. Vandiver and David Heska Wanbli Weiden!
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.Snowden-First-Two-Pages