Magical. The. Best. Ever. OMG, that was freakin’ A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!
That’s what some attendees of the Writers’ Police Academy have said since we pulled the curtain on the 2014 event. I agree, it was indeed magical and awesome in every sense of those words, and much of that awesomeness is because of you, the attendees and supporters.
To give you a bit of background, planning for a WPA event takes well over 12 months. In fact, I usually start the preliminaries for future events long before the detailed planning for the current one begins.
Our planning committee members typically begin their initial meetings and discussions while at the current event. So, while you’re having fun playing cops and robbers and CSI experts, staff members are hard at work figuring ways to make the next WPA better than the last.
And, we’re watching you…
That’s right, we conduct surveillance on WPA attendees.
If you’re smiling and asking tons of questions during a particular presentation, well, we’ll try to find ways to incorporate similar subject material into a future event, if needed.
I listen to questions and comments. If you want it we’ll find some way to do it (within reason, of course).
Other ways I select workshop topics:
During the year I spend a lot of time answering questions from writers, reading blogs and comments and questions on listserves, etc. I make note of the most often asked questions. I read many, many books, and I pick out the most common mistakes made by writers who think they know about police procedure and forensics.
While reading, I focus on the scenes that scream to me that their creator has never experienced what they’ve written. The text is often dull and flat and in need of life, color, emotion, smells, and sounds. You know, like this year when Captain Shepherd and crew used explosives to blow a door off its hinges. You heard the deputies shouting commands. You felt the tension as they prepared the charge and counted down. You heard the explosion. You saw the splintered door and the deputys’ entry. You heard the gunfire inside the residence. You smelled the smoke and felt the heat.
Now that’s how to conduct research!
Of course, having the best instructors and presenters on the planet is a huge bonus. They’re all writers and readers, which means they already know the subject matter needed to bring your stories to life. And we all love doing what we do…helping writers get it right.
This year, however, the WPA is at a crossroads. We are currently exploring the option(s) of taking our dog and pony show to a new location. For years people have requested that we come to a “town near you.” So I’m open to suggestions. Would you like to see the WPA in your backyard? Do you have a connection with a local police academy or other training facility, and/or an inside connection with law enforcement? Are you near a major airport? A nice hotel? Can you assemble a fantastic team of hard-working volunteers?
If so, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write FUTURE WPA in the subject line.