WPA 2012 – A Rookie’s View

WPA a rookies view
The Writers Police Academy is everything the name says it is. And more. It’s for writers, taught by cops, special agents, emergency personnel, and folks with doctorate degrees. Its purpose is to give writers the opportunity to ask experienced professionals in the law enforcement field questions that may raise the eyebrows of others. Who else are you going to ask if a body bag has a weight limit? The WPA provides a hands-on experience so we writers can get it right. It may be fiction, but it still has to be believable. The WPA is not just fast paced. It’s fast paced! It’s two full days of running on pure adrenaline. It’s being so tired when you finally hit the sack, you can’t sleep because you can’t turn your mind off. I’ve offered some tips on how to prepare, and how to return to your previous life after such an experience. But I’m not sure that’s possible. You’ll never look at blood drops the same.
How to prepare:

• Mega doses of B vitamins. You know, the ones that give you energy?

• Hone your visualization skills. Lee likes to, um, demonstrate directions to various buildings. Mental note for next year – add soundtrack and BAM, viral dance video! At least he uses the terms “left” and/or “right”, none of that north, south, east or west stuff cops like to use. Just tell me to turn left.

• More vitamins.

• Wear comfortable clothes. And shoes. Nothing worse than searching with heels on for a dead body in the woods.

• Coffee

• Bring a notebook, notepad, laptop, bar napkin – anything you can write on. No, there’s not a test afterward, but you will want to take notes on how to uncover that dead body in the woods. You know, just in case you’re ever in need of that information. Interesting conversation starter. Probably wouldn’t recommend it for a first date.

• Some classes are so popular, be prepared to sit on the floor. Wear deodorant.

• More vitamins

• Sleep aide to counter act all the vitamins and coffee. But not a real strong one. The buses leave at 7:30. In the morning. Yawn.

• More coffee

• Watch hours of cop shows on television so you’ll understand why Dave Pauly rolls his eyes when you mention one in class.

How to decompress:

• When you arrive home, walk the dog. Rub the cat (if allowed). Do anything necessary to return to your pre-WPA life.

• Attempt to take a much needed nap. After an hour of new plot twists slamming around inside your head, give up. Write down said plot twists.

• Check Facebook. Send friend requests to everyone you met at the academy. Except the bartender. They’d probably rather forget you.

• Reconnect with wife/husband/partner/kids and actually show interest in what they did while you were gone. While they’re talking, stop wondering if civilians can actually order a body bag from SIRCHE. I mean, seriously? What are you going to do with it?

• Re-watch hours of same cop shows and laugh. Then roll your eyes. Make Dave proud.

WPA instructor Dave Pauly and The Mayberry Deputy (actor David Browning)

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Today’s article was written by Lynn Chandler-Willis. Lynn is the author of the True Crime story, Unholy Covenant (Addicus Books, 2000, re-titled The Preacher’s Son and re-released by St. Martin’s) and the upcoming novel, The Rising (Pelican Book Group, 2013.) She’s the former owner/publisher of a small town newspaper where she came to truly believe fact is stranger than fiction. She was born, raised, and continues to live in North Carolina.
You can visit Lynn at www.lynncwillis.com
6 replies
  1. Mona Krissman King
    Mona Krissman King says:

    Excellent Lynn!! You hit the nail on the head with this one. Made me laugh several times. Great re-cap.. 🙂

  2. Melinda
    Melinda says:

    Great advice, 2012 was my first WPA as well and I had a blast. I had such a great time there that I didn’t even have a problem with the 7:30am buses despite the fact that I am NOT a morning person. It went by so fast and I didn’t want to leave.

    I know Lee probably doesn’t want to hear this, but a week-long WPA would work great for me!

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