The First Two Pages: “Patterns” by Edwin Hill

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.

This week concludes a series of essays featuring contributors to Paranoia Blues: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Paul Simon, edited by Josh Pachter, published by Down & Out Books, and feautring short stories by a wide range of writers, including E.A. Aymar, Martin Edwards, Edwin Hill, Racquel V. Reyes, and Gabriel Valjan. Over the past few weeks, we’ve hosted Frank Zafiro with an essay on his story “A Hazy Shade of Winter”; Tom Mead on “The Only Living Boy in New York”; and Cheryl A. Head on “Loves Me Like a Rock.” And this week, I’m honored to welcome Edwin Hill on his story “Patterns”—which, as you’ll learn below, wasn’t the song his story was initially inspired by! But that’s ultimately part of the behind-the-scenes on this story—the process by which an idea goes from first draft to published story and the many changes along the way.

Edwin Hill is both a fine friend and a great writer, one who’s earned some much-deserved attention for his work, including nominations for both the Edgar and the Agatha Awards, starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, and a cool spotlight as one of “Six Crime Writers to Watch” in Mystery Scene magazine. Edwin is the author of three novels in the Hester Thursby series—Little Comfort, The Missing Ones, and Watch Her—and the standalone thriller The Secrets We Share.

Find out more about Edwin and his writing at his website—and enjoy the glimpse below at his new short story 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.