Today is Inauguration Day in the United States.
In other news, the Alley Cats have a lot to share, so much so we are bursting with info here on the alley. We'd like you to join us in sharing your news, too. Two commenters will win a prize!
And here we are--all different places in the writing process. A total spectrum.
So, you see, we understand and feel wherever you are in the writing process, because we are there, too. Ready to walk alongside with you. Teach. Listen. Be an example. Cheer every single step.
This week, Amy wrote a piece on Writers Boot Camp-Lip Service. In it she talks about missed opportunities in our stories. Also, Ashley wrote a piece on The Story Within Your Story, which talks about morals. Scroll down to read these exciting posts.
Speaking of being an example, have I a treat for you. I've notice Tina Radcliffe's FB posts and had no idea that a regular Jane, like us could do what she's done. And for free. What she is about to share with you is well worth a cup of coffee and chance to sit. After reading her words, I was ready to seek out my local place and go where I had never gone before.
Here is Tina:
One of the Best Writing Resources is Right in Your Backyard.
Your local citizens police academy.
And it’s free!Five-sensing refers to digging deep into the five traditionally recognized methods of perception: taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing. How can you walk a mile in your character’s shoes if you don’t even have a clue what shoes he or she is wearing?
My medical background is of no help when I am trying to write a romantic suspense or even a sweet or inspirational romance with fire and/or law enforcement characters. I’m not a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer). My understanding of how cops, FBI agents, firefighters or members of an elite secret intelligence organization functions, is limited by my perception and experience.
Fortunately, there is an amazing amount of resources out there to enhance your perception. These resources allow you to step into the world you have created and steep in the taste, sight, touch, smell and sounds of the LEO’s world.
One of the best resources is right in your backyard. Your local citizens police academy. And it’s free!
At the Phoenix Police Department Citizens Police Academy, I observed a Taser demonstration, toured the crime lab, fired a Glock 49 (standard issue) at night, got up close and personal with the K-9 dogs, and participated in a use of force training- live video scenario-where I had to make split-second decisions on whether to draw my weapon. The most memorable part of this six-week course from a writer and citizen standpoint was a dialog with the victim of an officer-involved shooting, and the opportunity to hear and see photos of that officer’s incident.
Currently, I’m taking a 12-week course with Glendale, Arizona Police Department where I will get hands-on experience with the tools and equipment they use. This will include firearms training, a ride-along, and an inside look at SWAT, K-9 and crime scene investigations. This course will also delve into gangs and the role of the police chaplains.
These classes are part lecture, and part hands-on, and not only provide the sensory details for our stories, but trust me, ideas for GMC start hitting at a fast and furious rate. Have a notebook ready!
The ultimate sensory experience, however, is obtained with Writers Police Academy, where you live fire and police scenarios for hours on end at an action-packed conference. The conference sites have changed, and I need to remind anyone interested to keep your eye on the web page as it fills up fast as does the lottery opportunities for special classes.
From the WPA website: “The Writers’ Police Academy offers an exciting and heart-pounding interactive and educational hands-on experience for writers to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement, firefighting, EMS, and forensics.”
Here’s a taste of what I experienced at the WPA I attended in 2015. My first day, I arrived at 5 pm and did a ride-along with a female officer from seven p.m. until midnight. It included a mental health stop, that included transport to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, a one-on-one opportunity to learn more about the officer-worn camera and weapons, meeting the K-9 officer and his dog (this was not a class scenario, it was two officers, myself and another student), which included a live demonstration of the canine at work. I also observed a full DUI stop.
My next days at WPA were just as action packed and included classes with the medical examiner, FBI agents, the local SWAT team, and Firefighting 101. How valuable are these classes? Valuable enough that even the special guest speakers, and New York Times best-sellers, Allison Brennan and Karin Slaughter participated. Students Margaret Daley, Terri Blackstock, Debby Giusti and Terri Reed, who have written dozens of best-sellers, were also my fellow classmates.
If citizen’s police academy or a conference is not in your schedule right now, don’t forget the many online opportunities with the RWA Kiss of Death-Mystery and Suspense Chapter. They provide online Coffin classes held via a Yahoo Group online.
Currently, I’m taking Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers with Instructor: Lee Lofland. Lee is the mastermind behind WPA and blogs at The Graveyard Shift.
Here are some upcoming classes that I’ve earmarked:
April: Going Undercover With Police Special Operations Instructor: Scott Silveri
August: Elements of the Cozy Mystery Instructor: Lisa Rameriz
September: Plot Layering for Romantic Suspense Novels Instructor: Terri Reed
Have I missed any resources you’d like to share? Have you participated in any local citizen’s academy classes? Have I made you think about signing up for this opportunity?
Tina has a two-pack giveaway to share with one commenter.
A copy of her latest release, Rocky Mountain Cowboy,
and Lynette Eason’s Classified Christmas Mission.
Love Inspired author Tina Radcliffe is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. Tina is also a short story writer and has sold over twenty short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. She currently resides in Arizona where she is working on her first romantic suspense. Find her at www.tinaradcliffe.com
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