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West Texas Writer's Academy

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Course and Instructor Information

Look for 2015 courses and instructors to be announced in late fall 2014. 

At WTWA 2015 you can expect to start the morning with a breakout session of your choice followed by a total of four hours of daily class time with your in-depth instructor!  Spend the late afternoons and evenings writing and editing or chatting with friends.

2014 Week-long, In-depth courses

Screenwriting Tricks for Authors
Alexandra Sokoloff, bestselling suspense author/screenwriter, Thriller Award winner and Anthony Award and Bram Stoker Award  nominee.
Screenwriting is a compressed and dynamic storytelling form and the techniques of film writing are easily adaptable to novel writing. In this workshop you'll learn how to use concepts of film writing such as the Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure, the Storyboard Grid, the Index Card Method of plotting, and key elements of visual storytelling to structure and color your novel for maximum emotional impact, memorable scenes, and riveting pacing.  Based on award-winning author/screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff’s internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks For Authors workbooks and blog.

Advanced Novel Writing Class, Deep Editing: Adding Power to Every Page
Margie Lawson
, Writing Coach for over 20 Published Authors

Writers who learn Margie’s psychologically-based deep editing will add seven new drawers to their writing toolbox. Each drawer will be loaded with power tools that writers need to write fresh, analyze scenes, add power to every page, pick up pace, enhance rhythm and cadence and beats, and hook the reader viscerally.
1) Scene Analysis with the EDITS System
2) Four Levels of Powering Up Emotion: Basic, Complex, Empowered, and Super Empowered
3) Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist
4) Top 25 Rhetorical Devices to Enhance Structure and Style
5) Deep Editing Techniques to Strengthen Your Openings, Turning Points, and Endings…and Everything In Between!
6) Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts
7) Margie’s Killer Five Question Scene Checklist
These power tools have been used by thousands of writers, from newbies to New York Times bestsellers. Learn deep editing, strengthen your writing, and impress agents, editors, readers, and reviewers. Make your WIP carry psychological power that boosts you into a contract, or makes you an NYT bestseller.

Nuts and Bolts: Strengthening Your Story’s Foundation
Jennifer Archer, Multi-published authorRomance Writers of America's Rita award nominee, and selected by the Texas Library Association for their Taysha High School reading list and the Spirit of Texas Reading Program for middle schools.

In this course, students will learn to use the basic “tools” of fiction-writing—characterization, plotting and voice—more effectively, and apply these to their own works-in-progress to build a stronger story. Topics discussed include: character point of view, character motivation, making sure the character is driving the plot, the heroic protagonist, story structure, effective subplots, powerful first lines, conflict setting a scene, wandering or sagging middles, author and character voice, dialogue and perspective. The instructor will draw examples from popular and/or classic novels and movies. This is an interactive class—students will work both individually and as a group.

Crime Writers Police Boot Camp: Experience It - Then Write It
Matthew Sherley, Retired Police Lieutenant and author

Crime writers will experience police training first-hand. This unique opportunity will help writers accurately portray the world of law enforcement in their writing.
Boot Camp will begin each day in the classroom covering such topics as: characterization of individuals involved in law enforcement, interview and interrogation tactics, cold case investigations and the myths of police work. Daily writing assignments are based on the previous day’s instruction.
In the afternoon, students will be in the field. Training sessions will include: the firing range learning about the capabilities of different firearms and what equipment police officers carry; “shoot-don’t shoot” training scenarios; basic crime scene investigation; jail tours;  building searches and K-9 demonstrations. Efforts are underway to arrange for each camper who wishes to participate to ride on patrol with a local on-duty patrol officer.
Crime Writers Police Boot Camp: The days will be long. The work will be interesting. The impact on your writing will be immediate.  

World Building: A guide to developing a series (for returning students only)
Jodi Thomas, New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author

This is an advanced class for writers who are ready to tackle a series.  Jodi will teach a hands-on workshop class in building a world that will carry a story for more than one book. 

Those interested in Jodi’s class should have completed at least one other class at the academy and have written one full manuscript. Starting the first of May Jodi will be sending out e-mails encouraging each student to add a tool a week to their tool box so that when everyone arrives they will be ready to go to work.

As the author of two series, one small town mainstream and the other historical, that are both on the New York Times Bestseller Lists, Jodi feels she can not only show writers the way, but also help them to build a frame that will save them time in writing.