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.
Each year, the Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine host the Black Orchid Novella Award contest, commemorating Rex Stout’s commitment to the novella as a form and encouraging writers to keep that tradition alive with new novellas written in the traditional style of Nero Wolfe (without using the original characters themselves!), emphasizing deductive skills, and featuring no explicit sex or violence. The First Two Pages has hosted several Black Orchid Novella Award winners in the past, and it’s such a pleasure to welcome the most recent winner, Jacqueline Freimor, on the official publication day of “The Case of the Bogus Cinderellas”—the cover tale of the July/August issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine! And as a preview of her essay below, it’s super interesting to see how what began as a potential novel and then shifted into a short story finally found its best form as a novella—one specifically informed and shaped by the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin partnership. (Read ahead to see.)
Jacqueline is an increasingly distinguished short story writer, with stories over the last three years in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year (in 2021) and The Best American Mystery and Suspense (in 2022 and 2023)—a nice track record building there! In 1995, she won first place in the Unpublished Writers category of the Mystery Writers of America’s Fiftieth Anniversary Short Story Competition, and since then her stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Rock and a Hard Place Magazine, Vautrin, Black Cat Weekly, and Mystery Magazine, in additional to several anthologies. Find out more about Jacqueline’s work at www.jacquelinefreimor.com.
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.Freimor-Cinderellas