Writers know that the best kind of research is hands-on experience. Something that you have actually done is much easier to viscerally and authentically convey to a reader than something you have only read or watched videos about. Almost as good as doing it yourself is being able to talk face-to-face with an expert. Unfortunately, not everything lends itself to easily acquiring hands-on experience and it is a rare author who has an expert for everything on speed dial.
Enter Writers in the Field (WitF) … a unique two-day event providing us with the hands-on experiences and access to helpful experts that allows us to bring these activities and lifestyles vividly and credibly to life in our work. “It’s a one-of-a-kind outdoor, grown-up field trip filled with experts, new information, and tons of inspiration,” explained Kathryn McClatchy, vice-president of WORD (Writers Organizations ‘Round Dallas), who handles promotions and media for WitF.
After two years off because of COVID, the WitF team is overflowing with energy and enthusiasm for 2022. “It feels like we’re a bit out of practice,” McClatchy admits. “But we’re so happy to reconnect with our community of writers and experts. It is also very exciting to have new members of the team bringing fresh life and new skill sets to the event.”
Programming for 2022 reflects of mix of popular favorites and exciting new opportunities. Some of this year’s highlights, old and new, include:
- Becky Burkheart on Horseback Writing (all things equestrian for authors) as well as session on soap making
- Genevieve Dodd of Tea Punk Teas on Historical Moments in Tea
- Dan Greenig on Tech for Writers
- Georgina Holzmeirer on Dowsing Rods
- Detective RJ Hanson on Criminal Investigation: Details and Dummies
- Tex Tompson on forensic lock-smithing, lock picking and breaking and entering
“I always think of Writers in the Field as a buffet of skilled professionals,” said presenter and author RJ Hanson. Digging deeply into his law enforcement/investigation career for the Criminal Investigation class, Hanson says the tagline for his presentation should be “Crime and murder, you’re doing it wrong.” He looks forward to sharing aspects of a few real-word cases with attendees and taking questions to help authors with particular issues they’re having . But Hanson isn’t going to let them go without showing they’ve learned something. “I will hand out a statement from an actual kidnapping case, quiz them on it, and show them the technique I used to prove its veracity.”
Writers in the Field also includes sessions on the craft and business of writing. Among this year’s options are “Publishing Wide” by Adam D. Jones, “Scene and Structure” by Keith Goodnight, “Villain Character Development” by Amanda Arista, “Writing in Vivid Color” by Lisa Bell, and “You Got Science in My Fiction” by Rhonda Eudaly.
While there are a few indoor classrooms on site, most of Writers in the Field (as the name suggests) occurs outdoors. In 2022, the event is returning to its traditional location at the Steampunk November grounds in Mansfield, Texas (on the southern edge of Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area). Camping is available ($25 for the entire weekend, payable at registration) and the weather is supposed to be beautiful (I’m a writer, not a weather god) partly cloudy with highs in low 80s and lows in upper 50s.
If camping is a bit too much “field” in your “Writers in the Field” don’t worry, there are a variety of hotel and AirBnB options nearby.
AT A GLANCE: WRITERS IN THE FIELD
WHAT: Two days of hands-on activities and demonstrations on topics handled (and often mishandled) in fiction.
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, October 8 & 9, 2022.
WHERE: The Steampunk November grounds, 492 Cordes Dr., Mansfield, TX 76084
HOW: Tickets ($65 for all weekend)
WHY: Because it’s awesome (have you not been reading all this?)
INFO: WitF Website