Wow! Where do I start? I'm still trying to organize it all in my head, so I guess the best place to start is with the name and purpose of the event I attended over the weekend.
I was fortunate enough to attend the 2017 Writer's Police Academy sponsored by Sisters in Crime, an organization that promotes crime writers and writing. It was started by the great Sara Paretsky and others around the time she began her famous V.I. Warshawski series of private investigator novels. However, although it is named Sisters in Crime, there are many male writers and would-be writers who hold membership in the organization and benefit from their memberships. I am a member, too.
So … long story short, through Sisters in Crime, I was introduced to the Writer's Police Academy. I was excited. This event was a way to get the real picture from those who do the work day after day. This still could have turned out to be not worth my time; it could have been poorly done and only a passing nod at a real conference. I was convinced – and hoped - that it would be worthwhile. For one, Sisters in Crime's involvement. For another, the list of classes, including hands-on instruction, that was offered. Third, those presenting the sessions either are or were retired officers and professionals. The last reason? These presenters wanted writers to get it right. Get the facts to make their stories more realistic. As presenter Lee Lofland said: To make believable make-believe.
I love that phrase.
I don't know if any of you out there still have the idea that TV, movies, books, etc., are real life, but let me assure you from my own experience: They are not. The “reality” paranormal shows disavowed me of that notion fast. Reality to television, etc., is determined by drama, ratings and, to some extent, viewers.
If you are a writer, published or unpublished, of any kind and are considering writing about police or I would say even if you are just interested in the police side of crime, this is a great conference. Quality from the outset. Worth the money from the outset. Don't get me wrong, it's not cheap. Like anything of great quality, it comes with a price.
Sisters in Crime sponsors the event. They also have other sponsors involved, including writers. At the Saturday night banquet, there is a silent auction, a huge raffle of books and other items, and a live auction of some pretty cool things. Tami Hoag, a pretty big name in mystery writing, auctioned off having a character named after you in her work in progress. Think that wasn't popular? Think again. Hoag gave away TWO characters to the two highest bidders. And the price for being a character in her book ran four figures. Very generous and very cool.
Thursday night featured a speaker talking on TV writing and pitching scripts. Unfortunately, I didn't attend that one. I was beat from driving to Green Bay, the host city. And that seemed to be the least pertinent session to me at this stage in my writing. That may come to bite me in the butt somewhere down the road, but I knew I wasn't going to get any breaks over the next two and a half days and I wanted to be fresh and ready.
I was looking at two kinds of classes: Regular school style classes and high-intensity training. These are the same classes police recruits get at an actual training academy. Wow.
Coming up: Classes, gunfire not gun play, speakers and a mind-spinning amount of information.