The First Two Pages: Judy Penz Sheluk

Judy Penz Sheluk

When it comes to short fiction, you probably don’t have two pages to capture someone’s attention. You certainly don’t have the luxury of a prologue to hint at the backstory, or an entire chapter to start outlining what’s coming and who’s who. At best you have a few paragraphs. If you can hook the reader with those, you have a fair shot at keeping their attention. Let’s take a look at the opening of my short story, Live Free or Die, which is included in LIVE FREE OR TRI: a collection of three short mystery stories, published January 2016.

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12 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: Judy Penz Sheluk

  1. Susan D

    Viva Zapata… Oh those pitchers of Sangria. I think it’s the only time I went back to the office severely light-headed. But that was back in the days when we actually went out for lunch. With fellow workers. Without arranging the date two weeks in advance. Someone would just say, “Who wants to go out for lunch?” and a half dozen of us would be out the door in a moment.

    My Viva Zapata was downtown. Near King and Yonge.

  2. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Hi Madeline, thanks for commenting. I found this really hard to do — Bonnie made me think. So much of writing is just intuitive. Hope you enjoy the read. Would love your feedback.

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Vicki! This story was great fun to write, as the basic premise was culled from my own days as a naive 21 year old and the green suit line was actually something the guy said to me (along with some of the other lines in the story). It was wonderful to get revenge all these years later!

  4. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Susan. Yes, the Sangria was to die for (no pun intended). And yes, those were the days we’d go to lunch and actually talk to each other instead of texting or showing endless pix on our phones. Imagine bringing a photo album to lunch…who would ever have done that (and got invited back?). I didn’t know there was another Viva Zapata, I only knew the one at Yonge/Eg.

  5. B.K. Stevens Post author

    I apologize for the delays in displaying messages. I recently hired someone to install a new comments system on the blog, in an attempt to address problems with the old system. Now, it seems, there are problems with the new system. I’ll try to get someone to take care of them. In the meantime, thanks for your patience.

  6. Judy Penz Sheluk

    For some reason, the links aren’t working today — the site seems to be down. Here is a direct link to my author page: Sorry for any hassle!

  7. Judy Penz Sheluk

    The is working again — they have added more countries.

    Madeleine, here is the link :

    You put in your Kindle ASIN and then it will give you a link, when people click on the link it shows all the countries the book is available in on Amazon. Sort of cool, and this way, people can get from the country of their choice. For example, I’m in Canada, so I use vs. .com.

  8. Kaye George

    Judy, you did your job as an author! Very nice post, and a good point to make, that short story writers have a very small window to capture the reader’s attention. Thanks, Judy and Bonnie!

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