by Richard Roche
“There is a book in everybody.” How often have we heard that phrase. It might be true but certainly not everybody can get it down on paper. New writers usually want to start with a Blockbuster and end up with a double dose of frustration, a full waste paper basket and a coffee intake that borders on addiction. So where do you start ?. Why is it that in everything else we tend to start at the bottom and try and improve on the way up. This is where we come to two pagers.
One of the best examples of two pagers can be found in women’s magazines. Tales with a twist. You lead the reader right up a garden path and then in the last paragraph you just give the tale a twist that changes the whole story. Bear in mind that magazine short stories are designed as a light read and are there purely to give the reader a little titillation between the pages on how the Super Kids live and how to make a peach omelet.
One of the great advantages of two pagers is that they are a single story. Most Blockbusters have a central theme with a while lot of little stories and episodes built around the plot but in the two pager the story just has to motor straight ahead from beginning to end. Sounds easy, doesn’t it. Try it and you will be surprised at how difficult it is. However if you can not manage the two pager you certainly will not manage the novel.
Another great advantage of the two pager is that it can be about a multitude of themes. Romance, crime, situations. As long as it is written in an interesting fashion, has a beginning to catch the readers fancy, a middle to keep the readers interest and an end to make the reader enjoy it. Same rules for all writing.
For the beginner I would strongly recommend that they go out, get a few women’s magazines and browse the short stories. If you want an example of what I am talking about try ‘Nothing So Sweet’. And remember it is better to get a few two pagers published than to have a full waste basket. Good Luck and next time I will try and let you know a few tips of the trade and what magazine editors want in their two pagers.
© 1999 Richard Roche.
Tell others about this page: