The First Two Pages: “Perfect Partner” by Vinnie Hansen

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 week begins a series of essays by contributors to Hook, Line, and Sinker: The Seventh Guppy Anthology, organized by the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime, edited by Emily P.W. Murphy, and published by Wolf’s Echo Press in late January. With a focus on “grifters, con artists, and their marks” and settings ranging from “Tudor England to tomorrow’s headline” (I love that phrase), Hook, Line, and Sinker features fresh fiction by (in order of appearance) C. N. Buchholz, Lida Bushloper, Susan Daly, Steve Shrott, Kait Carson, Judith Carlough, Sandra Benson, Sally Milliken, Wrona Gall, M. R. Dimond, Mary Dutta, Kim Keeline, Shannon Taft, Merrilee Robson, Lisa Anne Rothstein, KM Rockwood, Frances Stratford, Jane Limprecht, Vinnie Hansen, Ann Michelle Harris, A. W. Powers, Kate Fellowes, and M. A. Monnin.

We’ll host three authors from the anthology at the First Two Pages this month—beginning with Vinnie Hansen, who’s a fine short story writer with more than fifty tales to her credit and also a good friend too, I’m happy to say. (Always fun to get another email from Vinnie or catch up with her online in one direction or another!)

In addition to her short fiction, including appearances in previous Guppy anthologies and another recent 2023 publication at Mystery Magazine, Vinnie is also the author of the standalone novels One Gun and Lostart Street and the Carol Sabala Mystery Series. You can find more about Vinnie and her work at her website.

Stay tuned for essays ahead over the next two weeks from Sandra Benson and Kate Fellowes as well! And check out the Wolf’s Echo Press website for links to buy Hook, Line, and Sinker in both ebook and paperback.

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.


11 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: “Perfect Partner” by Vinnie Hansen

  1. Pingback: The First Two Pages: “The Buddy System” by Kate Fellowes – Art Taylor

  2. Kate Fellowes

    It’s always interesting to see where ideas come from . Maybe that’s why that question is asked of writers so frequently. Thanks for sharing this glimpse into your story. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    1. Vinnie Hansen

      I’m making my way through the anthology, but I’m going to skip ahead to your story and Sandra’s in anticipation of your posts here. I look forward to reading your stories and your essays.

  3. Debra H. Goldstein

    I like the breakout of the language as edited – the trade-off made it stronger for me. All told, a very enjoyable story with a great twist! Congrats. (Thanks Art for letting me see a bit more into Vinnie’s thought process — as well as all the other authors you showcase.)

    1. Vinnie Hansen

      Debra, thanks for dropping by, and for all the work you did on the anthology! IMHO, it may be the best Guppy anthology so far. I’ve read several of the stories and think the book is very well edited. I’m also really pleased with the way the authors are pulling together to market Hook, Line, and Sinker.

  4. Sandra Benson

    Interesting dilemma with the formatting, Vinnie. I would also have written it the way you did. I think my instinct would have been to put the texts in italics, but you were using italics for your MC’s thoughts. That would get muddled, so boldface does seem like the next logical step.

    Making the changes that the editor recommended breaks up those paragraphs and sets the text language entirely alone, which puts more focus on it. In your original, the language in the texts was part of the flow of the whole paragraph. Now we have greater attention on the texts themselves. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so; it changes the emphasis a bit but makes the texting exchange feel “outside” of the MC’s own world. Emphasis of the artificiality of this exchange seems good here!

    1. Vinnie Hansen

      Thank you for the feedback, Sandra. I also thought clarity was gained but some of the flow was lost. It’s all about trade-offs. I’m glad that you feel there was a net gain.

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