The First Two Pages

Every Tuesday, a mystery writer explains how he or she faced the challenges of those brutally difficult–and vitally important–first two pages.

The First Two Pages: Should Have Played Poker and Comic Relief

Debra H. Goldstein

Why do people giggle in stressful situations? Some say the snicker is a nervous reaction that relieves the tension of the moment. Whether suppressed or a full chuckle, the laugh distracts both the person making the sound and the one hearing it. Different senses are impacted as the tee-hee is heard, the movement of the giggler’s body is felt or observed, and the thoughts and reactions being experienced are disrupted. In a written work, the addition of a scene, character, or even a single line as comic relief serves a similar purpose.

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The First Two Pages of Yeti

Richard Edde

My novel, Yeti, is sort of a sci-fi action thriller set in the remote mountains of Mongolia.  My protagonist is a paleoanthropologist searching for early human fossils.

This novel has some important scientific information especially in the first few chapters as the plot unfolds so the challenge was how to open the book in an interesting and gripping manner in order to hold the reader’s interest and draw him/her into the story.  Of course, this is every writer’s challenge but for this novel it seemed particularly crucial.

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Setting the Hook

Ginny Fite

Ben Cromwell was murdered in the narrow alley between the casino parking garage and the ramp to the stables behind the Charles Town racetrack. Murdered is the nice word for it. Slaughtered is more apt. Eviscerated. Chopped into pieces scattered in a ten-mile radius from the murder scene that had been carelessly scuffed over with dirt, straw, and cedar chips before anyone realized that spot might be critical to an investigation.

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