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.
I’m taking host’s prerogative today to write a First Two Pages essay on my own most-recent story—the title novella of my new collection The Adventure of the Castle Thief and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions. In the essay below, I compare the first two pages of the original draft (from 2017? seriously?) with the final revision—hopefully an improvement along the way. (I’m a tinkerer, as I admit.) The new collection is available now from Crippen & Landru and through Bookshop, Indiebound, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble—or please do support your own favorite indie bookstore! You can also buy signed copies of the book through Scrawl Books in Reston, Virginia.
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.Castle-Thief-First-Two-Pages
The “final” version is so much better, a good reminder that even the masters revise and revise some more. One of my favorite writing quotes is from John Irving: Half my life is an act of revision.