The First Two Pages: “Art Attack” by Heather Weidner

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.

One of the anthologies I picked up at this year’s Malice Domestic was Deadly Southern Charm: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology, featuring a great line-up of authors I admire, many of them friends as well. Here’s the full list of contributors: Frances Aylor, Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, Judy Chalkey, Stacie Giles, Barb Goffman, Libby Hall, Bradley Harper, Sherry Harris, Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, Samatha McGraw, K.L. Murphy, Genille Swope Parente, Deb Rolfe, Rod Sterling, S.A. Warwick, and Heather Weidner. The collection was edited by Mary Burton and Mary Miley in conjunction with the Central Virginia Chapter of Sisters in Crime and published by Wildside Press.

Today, I’m welcoming Heather Weidner to discuss her story “Art Attack”—the first of a series of essays by contributors to the anthology. The excerpt Heather includes in her essay runs a bit more than two pages, as you’ll see, but I find it interesting how the actual first two pages tip toward the next scene. The opening section is focused on exploring the dynamics between a group of characters, layering in the various differences between them, and hinting at how those differences might be the seeds of great conflicts. As the second scene opens, the story then moves quickly toward the story’s central conflict—the discovery of the body and the murder to be solved.

Heather’s previous short stories have appeared in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and in 50 Shades of Cabernet, and her novella “Diggin’ up Dirt” appeared in To Fetch a Thief. She’s also a novelist, with two books in her Delanie Fitzgerald series: Secret Lives and Private Eyes and The Tulip Shirt Murders.

Heather is also very active online, both on blogs and on social media. She blogs regularly at her own website and at Pens, Paws, and Claws, and you can also connect with her at many other places online, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, and more.

Do check out Heather’s other work and connect with her where you can, and in the meantime, enjoy this glimpse at her story “Art Attack.” Stay tuned too for essays by more contributors to Deadly Southern Charm ahead, including Bradley Harper, Mollie Cox Bryan, and Kristin Kisska.

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