Tuesday, July 22, 2014

PSWA Panel on Weapons for Writers

Unfortunately, I didn't get a photograph of this panel. The participants were:

John Schembra, Rich Wickliffe, Dave Freeland, Mark Bouton and Ron Corbin. Mike Black moderated.

Mike began the panel by pointing out that Americans have a fascination for guns.

When one of the retired officers was in the LAPD, everyone carried a .38 special.
Detectives changed to Glocks.

These are the weapons that were described:  Smith and Wesson Semi-Automatic with 10 to 18 rounds.

Smith and Weston 357 Magnum

Shot Gun

45 Caliber pistols

FBI carried Glocks

Glocks are light and often carried by female officers

Officer learn to count the round.

Problems with movie and TV depictions:

A 2 oz. bullet doesn't fly through the walls.

Chambering rounds when there should have already been one in the chamber.

Poor weapon handling.

It only takes 2 seconds to empty an AR 15.

On the show 24, cellphones always has bars and a charged battery.

Guns still kick. There's a heavy drag on the first round.

Tailor the weapon to the character you are writing about.

When writing about a character in a different era be sure he/she carries the right weaon.

Not every police officer knows about every type of gun.

Police officers guns are inspected on a regular basis.

There is no safety on a revolver.

Mafia hits use 22s, the bullet bounces around inside someone.

This was an excellent panel--full of great information for writers.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Explanation of the Many Investigative Organizations of the Department of Defense

Mike Angley, a retired UAF Colonel and career Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigation (the USAF version of NCIS of TV and Mark Harmon fame). He is the author of the Child Finder trilogy. http://www.mikeangley.com/

He gave a great presentation on all the various investigative organizations within the Department of Defense--what they do and what they don't do. 

They respond to all felonies, murders, rape, etc. under their jurisidiction and do some counter intelligence.

Their are special operatives such as Navy Seals, Green Berets, and civilian special agents who can arrest both military and civilians.

They have concealed carry authority.

NCIS is all civilian.

None of them have a mortuary or crime lab. The Army runs the crime lab for all services.

(This means there is no Abbie or Duckie.)

They all do have forensic agents.

They all work together much better than they used to.

Of course there was a lot more--but if you want to know things like this, you should attend the Public Safety Writers Conference--all the experts attend.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Friday, July 18, 2014

Using Dialogue

This was one of the panels at the PSWA conference.

Moderator: Mike Black

Participants: Frank Hickey, Thonie Hevron, Ilene Schneider, Janet Greger, Barbara Hodges

Set the tone in dialogue

Eavesdrop to see how people talk

Try to put as much of the story into dialogue as possible.Give your characters tics and tells.

Use a light touch with dialects

Read the dialogue out loud

Must move the plot forward or reveal character

Leave out the mundane things we say.

(They talked about setting too, but I didn't take any notes on it. Have no idea why, possibly because someone was talking to me about something.)


P.S. There also was a panel on point-of-view which I've discussed several times on this blog.

Another topic was working with an editor and here's a few tips from that one:

Everyone needs an editor. 

Belong to a critique group and use a content editor.

An editor can make you a better writer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tips for Writing Your Novel

After earning degrees in sociology and law, Mark Bouton joined the FBI and nabbed killer, kidnappers, and bank robbers across America for 30 years. Now he writes mystery and suspense novels and is willing to share his expertise with fellow members of PSWA,

Here are a few of his tips about writing your novel.

Characters: Need to know more than the physical description, also important are their upbringing, needs and goals, education, habits, gestures, ticks, personality, how they dress, posture, and their moral character.

Begin you novel with conflict. Show tensions, action, disbelief, wonder, fear. Remember a plot may be man against nature, man against evil, and/or man against himself.

Grab the reader with fascinating sentence, idea, question, situation. Make the reader wonder what will happen next.

Dialogue is an excellent way to show character--and remember, the dialogue may include lies.

Scenes are the building blocks of the novel--followed by the sequel or reaction to the scene.

Voice is each writer's individual style of writing.

Setting should set the stage for the action.

Be sparing in minor character's description.

Narration used to give important information.

(Great tips, Mark. And of course there was much, much more.)

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday a.m. Wrap-up of the PSWA Conference

As usual, the day began with the Jeoprady contest.

The first panel was about Interrogation and Interview.

What's the difference? During an interview, the person being interviewed can leave, during an interrogation, the person can not.

Pete Klismet moderated and the panelists were George Cramer, John Schembra, Joe Haggerty, Frank Hickey and Dave Cropp. What a great bunch with vast experiene and knowledge which they are willing to share.

The last panel was about writing a series.  Marilyn Olsen asked some great questions as the moderator, and the panelist were Sharon Moore, Barbara Hodges, Ilene Schneider, Virgil Alexander and me. I thought we did a good job of answering the questions.

We had the final round of jeoprady followed by the last of the book sales--lots of books were purchased, by the way.

Next was our awards luncheon (and believe me, all the meals were great). Michelle Perin handed out the awards to the thrilled winners who were in attendance. The others will receive the news and their certificates later.

And now I'm looking forward to next year!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saturday at the PSWA Conference

We began with CSI Jeoprady--so fun.

Next came writing articles in today's competitive market--geared toward trade magazines (mainly those on the Net.) Participants were Doug Wyllie, Tim Dees, Kathy Ryan, Dave Freeland, Michelle Perin and Rayne E. Golay.

Weapons for Writers was about all different kinds of weapons law enforcement used in the past, and preferred weapons of today. One fun segement was when the panelists discussed mistake TV, movie and writers make. Participants were: John Schembra, Rich Wickliffe, Dave Freeland, Mark Bouton and Ron Corbin. Mike Black was the moderator and had a lot to offer too.

Dave Cropp gave an outstanding presentation on Working Narcotics Undercover.

We learned about the Medical Side of Wounds and Forensics. Thonie Hevron did a great job moderating the panel of experts: Gloria Casale, Steve Scarborough, Janet Greger, Sam Bradley, and Rayne E. Golay. This covered lots of topics from poisons to gun shot wounds.

The last panel of the day was about firefighting and arson investigation. Terrific information was imparted by Michelle Perin, Rich Wickliffe, Robert Haig, and Sam Bradley.

We ended the day with another round of CSI Jeopardy.

(Later blogs will go into more details about these topics.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday at PSWA

Anyone who follows me on Facebook has seen photos of the various events. 

Though I am no longer the program chair, I could hardly wait to get up to the conference center. After visiting with Madeline Gornell while waiting for our breakfast, and then having Joe Haggerty and Ilene Schneider join us for breakfast, the day started great. (I had crab cakes Benedict and they were wonderful.)

We are slightly down in numbers due to illnesses and other unexpected events, but it hasn't mattered--those who are here are learning lots and having a great time.

AJ Farrar is looking great and doing is job as Master of Ceremonies. Our Queen, Marilyn Olson, is wearing a couple of crowns as she's also representing Oak Tree Press. 

All through out the conference we'll be having rounds of CSI Jeopardy, with the first round beginning the day. Contestants are:  Pete Klisment, Joe Haggerty, ThonieHevron, Diane Krantz. And so far, it has been a hoot!

We've had panels tackling Point of View, Working with an editor, revision and editing yourself, Setting and Dialogue.

Mark Bouton, retired FBI, spoke on Plotting and Writing Your Book.

And, Michael Angley who is a retired USAF Colonel and career Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He filled us in on all the Defense Criminal Investigative Organizations.