The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Donna Volkenannt: A Known Felon

         Yesterday evening, Donna spoke at the St. Louis chapter of Sisters in Crime. This is a group of nuns  writers who commit crimes write about crime.

      And Donna killed it. She slayed everyone who was in the audience. Her lively talk was peppered with comments and contributions from the other writers there. I came away with some really tasty body parts tidbits. So, for those who were unable to join us ("Pearl, Minneapolis to Creve Coeur is too far of a commute?  Liza Bean could have chauffered you.") here are some points/ideas that came up:

  • Short stories move the characters from innocence to experience. Novels move the characters from innocence to experience and then to a higher innocence.
  • Short stories can be put to work. Make them a "dress rehearsal" for your novel or for your characters. Try them on. See how they fit...
  • She had her pants hitched up with a black canvas belt. Her long face was a picture frame for her tired-looking eyes. Her (Ooops. Sorry. This is part of what I was working on for the Saturday Writers Mystery/Murder Short Story Contest. The deadline is March 24.)
  • Donna caught a mistake in one of William Peter Blatty's novels. (He's the one who gave us The Exorcist.) Donna reviewed the book, and noted in her review, "I can't figure out how a child was two-years old in one chapter and then in another chapter, a year later, the child is still two-years old." She got an email from the author, thanking her for catching the mistake that was missed by his editor and publisher.  What a great story.
  • Dianna Graveman suggested using story prompts as the story ending, instead of using them as a springboard at the beginning. What a unique idea.
      And my favorite bullet of the evening:

Satisfy the readers' expectations, but not with what they expect.


  1. Sorry I missed it, sounds exciting. Write on, sister.

  2. Whew! For a minute there, I thought Donna was the one with the black canvas belt and the long face. Not at all like she was portrayed on the WANTED poster.

  3. Yikes! I hope the law doesn't come pounding on my door in the middle of the night after reading your headline--even worse I hope my neighbors don't see it and run away when I drive down the street.
    Kidding aside: It was great seeing you on Wednesday, and I'm still eyeing that fudge, waiting for Easter sunday.

  4. Sorry I missed it. Donna is amazing, so thank you for sharing that. And the fudge! You brought the infamous fudge, didn't you?

  5. Great tidbits of wisdom. I especially like the first one.

  6. Hey! Not only did I not see any fudge but where's my tag for that brilliant quote?!

  7. Yeah, I'm sorry I missed it too. Sounds like it was a great talk. mmmm fudge.


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