The First Two Pages: “The Best Laid Plans” by Holly West

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.

This year’s Bouchercon is less than a month away—yikes!—but on the nearer horizon is the release of this year’s Bouchercon anthology, Florida Happens: Tales of Mystery, Mayhem, and Suspense from the Sunshine State, edited by Greg Herren, which will be released by Three Rooms Press on September 4.

In the lead-up to both the publication and to Bouchercon itself, I’ve invited several contributors to Florida Happens to offer essays on the first two pages of the stories they contributed. First up this week is Holly West, and over the next three weeks, I’ll also welcome Paul D. Marks, Alex Segura, and Debra Lattanzi Shutika.

I’ve admired Holly West’s as both a writer and as a person for a long, long while, and it was an honor to have my story “Parallel Play” and Holly’s story “Queen of the Dogs,” from the anthology 44 Caliber Funk: Tales of Crime, Soul, and Payback, be finalists together for the Anthony Award for Best Short Story at last year’s Bouchercon. She was also a finalist for the same award the previous year for her terrific story “Don’t Fear the Ripper” from the anthology Protectors 2: Heroes, reprinted in The Big Book of Jack the Ripper.

In addition to being a fine writer of short fiction and of novels—check out her website here for more info on each—Holly is also taking a turn as an editor now, and I seriously can’t wait for the anthology she’s been working on, Murder-A-Go-Go’s: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Go’s, due out next March from Down & Out Books.

Today, she talks about her story for Florida Happens, “The Best Laid Plans.”

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay here to read off-line.

West Best Laid

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4 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: “The Best Laid Plans” by Holly West

  1. Pingback: The First Two Pages: “Quarters for the Meter” by Alex Segura – Art Taylor

  2. Pingback: The First Two Pages: “There’s an Alligator in My Purse” by Paul D. Marks – Art Taylor

  3. Holly West

    Thank you very much, Art, for inviting me to write about my “first two pages” of “The Best Laid Plans.” I’m very fond of this story and I’m so proud to be included in the Bouchercon anthology this year.

    1. Art Taylor Post author

      Thanks for contributing, Holly–and sorry I was so slow to give this comment the go-ahead. Just getting back into business after a long week away.

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