For the second year in a row I traveled to Canyon, Texas and West Texas A&M University for the Writer’s Academy. The Academy is unlike a conference because participants choose an author with plenty of experience and name recognition to lead a specific group throughout the week.
It is a week of work beginning with informative lessons for every student at 8 am. Then, at 8:30 everyone takes off to their chosen class. Other classes occur in the afternoon. The groups choose what time to break and what time to return. Our group took a brief lunch and returned to class following the afternoon information class. We left each evening with homework.
Now, for more specific information. I chose to attend the workshop led by Alexandra Sokoloff, best selling New York Times author of thrillers and horror. Alex worked for many years in Hollywood as a screenwriter before turning to writing novels. She led our group in using the 3 Act 8 Sequence format for mapping out/outlining a novel. By the time the week was done each of us had our current work in progress mapped out and ready to write. We had eleven in our class. The experience level was unpublished to multi-published. The genres represented were Christian Romance, Science Fiction, Mainstream Mystery, Fantasy, Police Procedural Thriller, Women’s Fiction, and Paranormal/Time Travel Romance. At the end of the week Alex told us that each of us had potential bestsellers in our hands. Can you imagine how those words energized this tired group?
Alex has two workbooks using the 3 Act 8 Sequence format for writers available at Amazon for $2.99 each. I recommend each of them.
OUR GROUP Consisted of (from L to R): MORGAN HYSINGER, WINONA CROSS, MATT SHERLEY, LINDA TROUT, ALEXANDRA SOKOLOFF, JOLENE NAVARRO, STORM NAVARRO, DEANN ALFORD, SHERI WAIDE, MARILYN TUCKER, AND SHERRILL NILSON.
The Writer’s Academy is the dream and brain child of bestselling romance author, Jodi Thomas and musician/actor/author Tim Lewis. The popularity of this event is becoming well known and is popular.
Other class leaders this year were Margie Lawson teaching Creating Characters. Margie is a writing coach and author. She offers in depth courses in Deep Editing and Creating Characters as well as Immersion classes for small groups. She’s a small package of energy and knowledge. Find out more about Margie at www.margielawson.com
Margie and Me
Tim Lewis led the early morning Secrets of Publication. He has had a successful career but his dream will hit bookshelves in September. His novel, based on the true story of his great uncle, is being buzzed as the book that will hit as a bestseller and is being optioned for foreign rights and movie rights. The title is FOREVER FRIDAY. I guarantee this is a book everyone will want. You can reach Tim at www.timothylewisonline.com
Jennifer Archer led a group seeking knowledge about writing and the business. She has several novels out and is a very popular author in west Texas. She can be reached at www.jenniferarcher.com
Mike Bellah worked with a group wanting to write and publish memoirs. He is published in that genre and is a journalist. Find out more at www.mikebellah.com
Linda Castillo was the keynote speaker at our banquet. She is inspiring and gives hope to others with every word. Amazing woman. Reach her at www.lindacastillo.com
Friday morning began with a question and answer panel featuring Alexandra Sokoloff, Margie Lawson, Jennifer Archer, Jodi Thomas, and Mike Bellah. Very interesting stuff.
It isn’t all work at the Academy. There is movie night, the Panhandle Museum on campus, dinner at the best Mexican restaurant in the world, living in a dorm, spontaneous discussions in the lobby of the dorm, and making friends in the writing world.
I believe any writer can find value at the Academy. I plan to go each year unless family obligations prevent it. It takes place in June each year. Save your money! I ask for the tuition as a Christmas gift each year. The tuition is approximately $500, the dorm is $25 an night ($125), there isn’t much time to go out and spend other money except for food but the dorm suites have kitchens. The Academy provides breakfast. Most of us gathered for lunch in the student union and snacked at night. Our group did go out twice. Canyon is the home of the Palo Duro Canyon which is the second largest canyon in the Unites States. It is breathtaking. This part of the country is where I was raised so it felt like going home to me. Find out more at