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Effective opening pages

Returned home from two weeks in Tuscany to the huge thrill of seeing my essay on Art Taylor’s blog, The First Two Pages!


One of America’s leading short-story writers, Art Taylor has reaped a host of awards: an Edgar in 2019; an Anthony in 2015, Agatha awards in 2014, 2015 and 2017; Macavity awards in 2014 and 2017; and three Derringer awards. He’s also a book critic, and associate professor of English at George Mason University in Virginia.


Art took over B.K. Stevens’ outstanding weekly blog, The First Two Pages, after her death in August 2017. The blog features craft essays by writers, analyzing the opening pages of their published stories and novels.


For the past two weeks, Art has posted essays on stories that are included in the Mesdames of Mayhem’s new anthology, In the Spirit of 13. Lisa de Nikolits’ essay on “In a Land of Fear and Denial” ran on Sept. 27.


My thoughts on the opening pages of “The Fur Coat Conundrum,” ran this past Tuesday, Oct. 4. The story was inspired by my adventures at newspapers across Canada.


And M.H. Callway’s essay on “Amdur’s Ghost” will appear on Oct. 11.


As Art notes in his Guidelines for writers preparing posts for The First Two Pages, effective opening pages are what make busy literary agents and acquisition editors keep reading submissions.



Art Taylor is a leading American short-story writer.



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