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Heartwarming Small-Town Romances and Thrilling Mysteries

I spent the past week at my favorite writer’s conference, West Texas Writers Academy. I may not be a resident of West Texas, but I’m a native Texan and they’ve adopted me as one of them. I’m blessed to be in this situation.

Writers from all over spend four hours a day, five days a week, in intense study of a writing or literary business topic. We eat breakfast together and listen to a speaker who instructs and inspires us to reach for our dreams. We usually spend lunch together, but this year the café was under construction so we all scattered to find something to eat. I missed that lunchtime camaraderie.

I spent the week learning about how bring clarity to my writing. Some writers may think it’s a basic course and in some ways, it is. For me, a return to basics plus new higher-level concepts made it a week well spent. I brushed up on the basics and learned new techniques for writing that I hope will make my books better and better. I recommend it to all levels of writers.

We had a breakfast speaker who taught us about using our Pinterest account to its largest advantage. Another breakfast speaker, Jan Morrill, taught us about internalization to show a character’s conflict. Her book, The Red Kimono, was on the New York Times bestseller list. She’s an Academy alumna.

Three evenings, we have presentations or events. This year we had the woman who built a house with her children using YouTube videos. She wrote a book about it called Rise. Cara Brookins. She didn’t wait to figure things out, but just dove headfirst into them.
One evening each year, the plotting instructor talks about the three-act structure of a movie as we watch it. Seeing how plotting is applied in movies brings the point home.
The most special evening was a program on how to write romance by the New York Times best-selling romance writer Jodi Thomas. It was an amazing evening, accompanied by all kinds of chocolate. Love and chocolate go together, after all. Jodi helps direct the Academy and does an awesome job with it.

I’ve made lots of friends at the Academy that I keep in touch with through the year. Having people to bounce ideas off of is a tremendous benefit. Being part of the Tribe of the Academy is well worth the cost of coming. I can’t wait until next year!

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