Monday, October 08, 2007

Workshop recap

On Saturday the chapter held its annual conference. This year's theme was 'Whodunnit? A Writer's Guide to Working a Crime Scene." I found all of the speakers very interesting. First we heard from a Medical Examiner and a Sheriff's Office Deputy with who does Search and Rescue. They did a great job explaining how the search and rescue process would work if someone was missing in the woods. The second speaker was an Oregon State Police detective, who gave lots of info including how an specific police actions and investigation steps if a body is found. The third talk was given by three representatives of the District Attorney's office. They dispelled a lot of myths we get about lawyers roles from watching crime dramas on TV. They also broke down the legal process from start to finish.

That was a super quick overview, but instead of me blabbing on about what I picked up from their talks, lets all share what we learned.

I really enjoyed learning the steps in each of their processes. I think that will help us write accurate portrayals. Even if we don't need the whole process, just to be able to identify, "Sally was trying to sneak into the secondary perimeter." Plus I also loved the slang, particularly "road toads." Teehee! Those words make our writing authentic.

I also enjoyed learning about how much lawyers get involved. My only thoughts on process come from TV shows. I was interested to learn that they get involved even at the search & rescue stage, but that they don't interact during interrogations. Like they said, Law & Order shows lawyers in there making deals and layin' the smack down.

What did you get out of it?


Elisabeth Naughton said...

I agree, LIsa. Great conference.

I loved the slang as well. I though Jennifer Schindell was fabulous - smart, funny, attractive and had a great sense of humor. She'd make a wonderful heroine, actually. And the Sheriff's deputy was so funny - their presentation was great because they fed off each other so well. I also thought the ADA's did a fantastic job of filling in the blanks and the OSP detective added a lot of interesting details.

All in all, I think it was a great conference and from what I'm hearing from attendees, everyone learned a lot.

Paty Jager said...

I thought it was an informational day. All the speakers gave us a good idea of what their jobs were and a glimpse at how to portray those characters in a book. And I agree someone with Jennifer's background would make a good heroine in a book.

After hearing what all a deputy DA does, I think using that profession would also make a great hero or heroine for a book. I had no idea they were so involved from the very beginning of an investigation.

So even though at this point I don't plan on going out and writing a contemporary story - I found some of the things Jennifer said about bodies to be something I could use in my westerns.

Great day!

Lori Barber said...

Lisa - For those of us unable to attend the conference please explain: What's a road toad?


Paty Jager said...

Hi Lori! The Deputy who works in corrections called the officers who patrol, road toads. We learned a lot of slang words used in law enforcement. Some we can't write here!

Lisa Pulliam said...

She would make a great heroine! You're totally right.

Anonymous said...

I think the conference was a totally awesome success for those who presented and those who attended; however, didn't get anything out of it because I sat there with my ears plugged and read the whole time. :)

When I would unplug my ears I'd hear scary, nasty things that criminals do so I'd hurry and plug my ears again. lol

If it wasn't for the fact that I had to do treasurer's duties I wouldn't have come at all. I'm a sissy when it comes to evil people doing evil things and I want to stay in my little bubble.

I admire those people who came and spoke and appreciate them for their strength to be able to work in the situations they do and with the scum they deal with daily.

It takes a special kind of person to endure what those who presented yesterday endure. They make it so I can live in my safe bubble. So, kudos to them!

Alice Sharpe said...

After reading all this, I am even more sorry that I was unable to attend. The damn cold is finally getting better, but too late.

I know I could have used so much of this, but it goes beyond writing books. Writing means understanding life and the times we live in. These people hold keys to that understanding. They are gatekeepers, in a way, people willing to face the unpleasantness of other people to keep the rest of us safe, and to go about it in an orderly way that surpasses the random violence of the predators of the world. While I don't totally understand Piper's determination to stay in a bubble that doesn't really exist, she is right when she gives credit for her ability to stay there to the people who defend her against those who would take that right from her.

Sorry, cop's Mom here.

Anyway, I sure wish I'd been there. Thanks, Lisa, for the summation.

Danita Cahill said...

Lots of great information, I agree. But, I think what I most got out of the day was mini character sketches: a woman who accidentally breaks a cop's finger, a woman tough enough to take fluid out of a dead person's eye for testing, and study the life cycle of flies and maggots to help nail down the time of death, but who is literally scared stiff of spiders...stuff like that. What a contradiction that seemed to me -- Jen was so tough but yet so vulnerable. And oh, so very human. I loved her. And I agree, what a great heroine she would make.

I also loved the slang. Road Toad was good, but so was stump jumper and creek (say crick) dick for the OSP game division officers.

My only dissappointment was personal -- that the deputy didn't mention the Linn County Sheriff's Mounted Posse as a viable source for search and rescue in the wilderness. We are always called out in a scenerio like that. And more than once have packed the deceased person out in a body bag by horseback.

Alice Sharpe said...

LOL, Piper, think I was grumpy enough?


Anonymous said...

Alice-- I didn't think you were grumping at me, but now I wonder... LOL

No big deal. I live in a different world than a lot of people, that's all. :)

I'm sorry you have to live with the fact that your son puts his life on the line for people everyday, but I'm also grateful that he's willing to do it. So, thanks for raising him to be tough enough to take it and loving enough to serve his fellow man by working to keep us all safe and snug. :)

As much as I adore you I'm sure your son it tip-top! Big Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant to say "your son IS tip-top", not IT tip-top. Duh. LOL

Alice Sharpe said...

Piper, LOL, I was just grouching, period!

Alice Sharpe said...

And yeah, I am proud that my son cares enough to stand up and be counted. Many people do in so many different ways, as you know. Every teacher, etc. makes a difference. Oops, I just fell off my soap box. Damn thing is slippery!