Welcome to Lawson Writer's Academy!Margie Cartooon

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Lawson Writer's Academy offers online classes for writers of all genres. Cyber classrooms offer . . .

 

When you register for a course, the lectures are included. No need to purchase a lecture packet.

 

To Register:

1. Create an account-- If you already have an LWA account, log in below.

2. Log In.

3. Register for online class.

 

Questions? Contact Margie Lawson.

Courses Available:

Click on course name to see full description.

  • July, 2014: Battling the Basics: A Primer of the Essentials of Writing

    Instructor: Sarah Hamer

    Dates: July 1-28  Fee: $50

    A mechanic doesn't pop the hood for the first time and immediately know what's wrong with the car.  A pilot doesn't slide into the cockpit without logging the required hours of training. A master author doesn't magically hit the bestseller lists.

    A master author knows the basics. And there are a lot of basics to master.

    Writing is work. You’ve heard the saying, “You have to learn the rules to break them.” Cliché or not, good writers understand the basics. They know how to write tight. They know how to write strong. They know how to write compelling, powerful stories.

    In this class, dig deep into realistic and driven dialogue.  Discover the impact of a clearly written setting. Explore character, conflict, and story arc. Learn how to use plot, placing, and tension to propel your story forward.

    Writing is work. But writing can also be fun. Join me in Battling the Basics and take the first step toward seeing your name on the bestseller list.

    Bio: Sarah (Sally) Hamer is eternally fascinated by people and how they 'tick' and works hard to incorporate individual idiosyncrasies to create living, breathing characters in her many works of fiction. She writes in many genres - mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, medieval history, non-fiction - and has won awards at both local and national levels, including two Golden Heart finals.

    A teacher of beginning and advanced creative fiction writing and screenwriting at Louisiana State University - S for over ten years, she also is a book coach, with many of her students and critique partners becoming successful, award-winning authors.

     


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  • July, 2014: Story Starters

    Instructor: Koreen Myers

    Dates: July 1-28  Fee: $40

    When writing a novel, many authors don’t know where to start. Does the reader need backstory? How much? Should the action simply begin? Or, should the story open with character/setting description?

     Writers often feel overwhelmed with all of these decisions. Worse, both potential agents and readers jump to conclusions about a story in a few short sentences or paragraphs. The pressure can crush an author’s spirit. Don’t worry, this course will cover the elements of a story’s opening, where to start and mistakes to avoid. Participants will create a controlling premise for their stories (or strengthen what they have), complete several short activities specific to their openings, analyze professional examples, and participate in peer critiques. Each participant will also receive personalized instructor feedback.

     This course will show you…

    ·              Different ways to open your story (you’ll try several and get peer/instructor feedback)

    ·              Which POV to use to create your best opening

    ·              How to introduce your main characters and setting without overwhelming the reader

    ·              Which action should start your story (aka Kick Action)

    ·              How to create urgency

    ·              Ways to cut unnecessary backstory

    ·              Whether to include a prologue or to cut it

    ·              How to avoid vague/confusing openings and other common mistakes

    ·              How to match the atmosphere of your opening (characters, setting and plot) to your story promise

    ·              And more, and more, and more!

     

    Bio: Koreen Myers is an award-winning author who has the ability to bring together the nerd-power of a techie and the emotional empathy of a writer. She has a BA in English/art through Adams State College—Go Grizzlies—and a MA in educational technology through CSU Sacramento. She worked her way through college by taking pictures and writing articles for newspapers and magazines. Since her college days, she’s taught courses in English, writing and technology for students ranging in age from 6th grade to adult. Today she hopes to use her visual media background, her teaching experience and her technology skills to help Margie grads become super-empowered writers.

     


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  • August, 2014: 30 Days to a Stronger Novel

    Instructor: Lisa Wells

    Aug 1 - 30;  Fee: $40

    "CHANGE IS SUCH HARD WORK..." BILLY CRYSTAL

    Change is hard work. But that's what it takes if you're trying to land an agent or a contract and all you get is rejections.


    30 Days to a Stronger Novel is for all frustrated writers who have spent their hard earned money on books and conferences only to realize that their manuscripts are receiving a "Pass" from agents and editors.
    If you've read the how-to books, attended the conferences, have mastered the art of story structure, and know your grammar rules, you're only halfway there. Sure - you have a manuscript that is better than most being sent to agents and editors. But better than most is not getting you published. Why? Because your manuscript is not yet at the WOW level.
    It doesn't matter if your plot points and pinch points are all in the right places. Or if your character arcs are stupendous. Of if your hooks are incredible. None of these things matter if you don't have the knowledge to add in the WOW factor to your manuscript.
    I'm not talking about the big things that are taught so beautifully by Margie Lawson. I'm talking about the little things. The little things that add up to SOLD.
    What is the Wow factor? It is that elusive something that takes a manuscript from solid to sold.
    Solid + the little things = Sold.
    The WOW factor is what agents and editors are saying you don't have when they say your manuscript just didn't grab them the way they'd hoped for.
    Do you want to add the WOW factor to your manuscript? Yes? Then this class is designed for you.
    There are 30 days and 15 WOW assignments. How much time you put into the assignments will have an impact on how great of a change you bring about in your book.
    Here are a few of the lessons in this action packed class:
    • Reader Emotion Scavenger Hunt - if you take this course for no other reason than one - this is the ONE reason to take this class. You've taken classes and read books on how to get across to the reader what emotion your character is feeling, but have you taken a class on manipulating what the reader is feeling?
    • Backstory Funeral
    • The Puzzle Effect
    • Get a MacGuffin - not to be confused with an Egg McMuffin
    • Structure Check-up
    • Spank Your Characters - no, this is not an X-rated assignment.
    • Pick a Scene and Get It High
    • Firsts
    • Lasts
    • Character Trait Sneak Attack - a fantastic approach to revealing character traits to the reader. This is a: DON'T WANT TO MISS IT LESSON.

    Give me 30 Days, and I'll give you a stronger novel.


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  • August, 2014: Creating Reader's Guides for Young Adult and Middle Grade Novels

    Instructor: Koreen Myers

    August 4 -29;   Fee: $40

    For many authors, the hardest part of the publishing world isn't writing a book. The tough part is getting those stories into the hands of readers. Authors who write young adult and middle grade fiction have a perfect place to market their work—schools.

    Entice teachers to use your books over others by making their jobs easier. Ever seen those 'No Fear' guides students use for books in school? Create your own guides. Many teachers use author/publisher-generated questions for discussion and activities.

    However, many authors don't take advantage of this key marketing strategy because the thought of collecting all of that information and organizing it into a guide may sound daunting. What should I include? What do teachers/students need or want? Can my novel compete with 'the classics'?

    No fear. No one is more authorized to create a guide for your novel than you are. In this session, you will learn how to create a simple, easy-to-use guides which can be used to lead discussions, enhance learning, and get your novel in front of readers: adults and teens and middle graders.

    This course will show you...

    · Easy ways to generate discussion questions (for book clubs and for teachers)

    · Activities to entice teens with different learning styles (art, music, science, etc.)

    · Online puzzle generators (for bonus materials)

    · How to calculate your story's readability score (which grade-level to market)

    · Where to find Common Core standards for those grades

    · How to apply 1-2 standards to your novel (easy way to make school administrators happy)

    · How to relate nonfiction articles (big for the new standards)

    · Ways to include supplemental materials (pictures, videos, etc.)

    · Places to market your guides (for teachers and teens)

    · And much much more!

    Koreen Myers is an award-winning writer who has the ability to bring together the nerd-power of a techie and the emotional empathy of a writer. She has a BA in English/art through Adams State College—Go Grizzlies—and a MA in educational technology through CSU Sacramento. She worked her way through college by taking pictures and writing articles for newspapers and magazines. Since her college days, she's taught courses in English, writing and technology for students ranging in age from 6th grade to adult. She uses her visual media background, teaching experience, and  technology skills to help Margie grads become super-empowered writers.


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  • August, 2014: Self-editing Your Manuscript

    Instructor:  Kathy Ide

    Aug 4 - 29;  Fee: $50

    Whether you're submitting to an agent, traditional publisher, or subsidy publisher, every manuscript needs editing, because there's no such thing as a perfect first draft.

    Self-editing will vastly improve your manuscript, which will greatly increase your chances of acceptance by a traditional publisher. If you're planning to self-publish, editing is vital since you probably won't have anyone else to do it for you. Even if you've already had your manuscript accepted by a publisher, the more self-editing you do, the less the publisher's editors will have to do, and that will make your publisher very happy. And if you plan to send your manuscript to a professional editor, self-editing your work as much as possible first will save you money in the long run.

    In this course, Kathy Ide goes through ten stages of self-editing you can take—from the overall picture down to the nitty-gritty details—to make your manuscript stand out.

    • objective edit
    • organizational edit
    • structural edit
    • substantive edit
    • copyedit
    • line edit
    • fine-tune edit
    • objective edit #2
    • final proofread
    • professional edit

    As Ernest Hemingway said in A Moveable Feast, "The only kind of writing is rewriting."

    And to quote Patricia Fuller, "Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear."

    Kathy Ide, author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, has written books, articles, short stories, devotionals, and scripts. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a five-book novel series. Kathy is a full-time freelance editor/proofreader/mentor for new writers, established authors, and book publishers. She speaks at writers' conferences across the country. Kathy is the founder and director of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com). For more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.


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  • August, 2014: Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts

    Instructor:  Margie Lawson

    Dates: August 4 - 30;  Fee: $50

    Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts

    This workshop teaches writers the importance of including visceral responses when emotions run high, and how to write them fresh. Topics include:

    -- The full range of visceral responses

    -- Writing fresh

    -- Placement in scene

    -- Motivation Reaction Units

    -- Using the Four Levels of Powering Up Emotion

    -- How to crescendo emotion

    -- Stimulus/response patterns

    -- Overwriting and underwriting

    -- Cliché twists and cliche play

    -- How to hook your reader viscerally.

    Multiple teaching points will be provided. Examples of visceral responses will be dissected and analyzed. 


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  • August/October, 2014: Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Course

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    August 18 - October 31:  Fee: $125

    (Yes. The fee increased, and it's still a squeal-it's-a-deal bargain.)

    Three Prerequisites, Online Courses or Lecture Packets:

    1. Empowering Characters' Emotions

    2. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More

    3. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist

    Do you want to dig deep into deep editing?

    Do you want to work in an advanced class with all multi-Margie-grads?

    Do you want Margie's Deep Edit Analysis for 30 pages of your WIP?

    If so, this squeal-it's-a-deal class is for you!

    Lectures will be short, compared to Margie's other courses. Emphasis is on applying deep editing to your WIP.

    We'll focus on making each word, line, sentence, paragraph, page, and scene provide a clear, smooth, empowered read.

    Enrollment is limited to 30.

    Join me in Fab 30 and give your writing and writing career a rocket-powered boost!


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  • June 2014: Love Your Voice

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    June 2-27  Fee: $40

    Every writer wants a fabulous voice. This workshop helps identify what makes your voice special, and shows how to capitalize on your natural strengths, with a look at the seven key elements of every author's unique voice. Participants will see specific examples of how each one works, followed by writing exercises that provide them with the tools to refine, polish, and -- depending on the kind of writing they want to pursue -- possibly even change their Voice.

    The elements include:

     

    • Emotion: How much? What kind? How do you show it?
    • Core Story/Theme: The core idea that inspired your novel
    • Setting & Description: Environment is a critical element of Voice
    • Pacing: An art of its own
    • Conflict: What characters want and why they can't have it
    • Characterization: Who you write about and how you develop them
    • Mechanics: The rules of writing and when to break them

     

    Julie Rowe writes contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Carina Press and Entangled Publishing.

    In late 2011 Julie began creating tweets for Carina Press's new releases as a way to show her support to her fellow authors. She continues to post two unique tweets for each book on release day.  

    Julie's writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times magazine, Today's Parent, and Canadian Living. You can reach her at www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor


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  • June 2014: From Blah to Beats--Giving Your Chapters a Pulse

    From blah to beats—Giving Chapters a Pulse

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    June 2 - 30;  Fee: $50

    Hi y'all.

    You know the theory, read the books and have taken the classes. But still get critique group, agent or editor comments that something is off. The chapter doesn't work. The scene doesn't come alive. The conflict is bland. The story is too small. You're still not jumping the hurdle from working hard and getting where you want to go.

    Now is the time to make the theory work for you!

    Giving Chapters a Pulse will drive your focus deep into your and chapters. Short, practical lessons will give you opportunity to:

    ·         Develop chapter focus

    ·         Create specific author goals for each chapter.

    ·         Develop specific character/s' chapter goals.

    ·         Understand the difference between author goals and character goals.

    ·         Develop secondary characters story arch through their actions and their words.

    ·         Develop deep character/s that are motivated to take charge.

    ·         Develop a story voice that is rich and full of life.

    ·         Create dialog that can't be cut.

    ·         Drive your narrative forward with action and conflict that builds tension.

    ·         Create compelling chapter hooks and endings that make the readers want more.

    ·         Leave out the blah and make your chapter a lean and mean beating heart.

    ·         Bring life to the surroundings as integral part of a chapter rather than a background chunk that can be skimmed.

    ·         Weave in relevant back-story and leave out the extra.

    ·         Nix the head hopping and the telling when you should be showing.

    In this four week course, an abundance of learning opportunities will promote discussion and give you plenty of opportunity to learn from each. Submitting work will allow you to put the theory to work and benefit from classmates feedback. And as a multi-Margie grad with a masters in writing from Vermont College, I'll also be digging deep to help you pull out your best work.

    Hope to see you in class,

    Rhay Christou's Bio:

    The two things I love most in the world are teaching and creative writing. With my MFA in writing from Vermont College , I have had the great fortune to combine the two. Since graduating I’ve taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level as well as writing workshop on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece and in the USA.  Currently represented by Pam van Hylckam Vlieg at Forward Literary, and my first novel, I Do Not will be released in May of 2016 by Spencer Hill.  


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  • June 2014: It's All About Character: Using Character Themed Words

    “It’s All About Character: Using Character-Themed Words”  

    Instructor: Elizabeth Essex

     Dates: June 2 - 27, 2014; Fee: $40

    This course will teach writers how to find and use character-themed words specific to their heroes, heroines, and even villains. Every word in your novel should serve two purposes: to move the plot forward and give greater insight into the characters. Using character-themed words will grab your reader’s attention and hold it throughout the novel. Readers remember real characters. Characters that are so fully-developed, they walk off the page and into our hearts.

    Editors, agents and great teachers like Margie Lawson talk about fresh writing, but that term is sometimes difficult to understand. To me, fresh writing means showing the reader the world of the novel through the fresh and unique eyes of each character.

    I will teach you how to get inside the minds of your characters by using “power words,” “scene-themed words,” but more especially “character-driven words.”

     -  Power words give strong images & associations, and drive up tension.

    -  Scene-themed words give vital information about where and when we are in the story.

    -  Character-driven words give insight into the mind & thoughts of our characters.

     

    Each teaching point will be illustrated by stellar writing from a variety of best-selling authors in multiple genres. Delve deep into the fresh waters of Character Driven Writing.

    BIO: 

    Elizabeth Essex is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Reckless Brides series of  historical romances for St. Martin’s Press. When not rereading Jane Austen, mucking about in her garden, or simply messing about with boats, Elizabeth writes, and has done so for over twenty years. She graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classics and Art History, and then earned her MA in Nautical Archaeology from Texas A&M University. While she loved the life of an underwater archaeologist, she has found her true calling writing historical romance full of passion, daring and adventure.

    Elizabeth is a multi-Margie grad, having taken all of Margie’s core classes, either on-line or in workshop, and has survived two Immersion Master Classes. As a result of this painful dedication to craft, her books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and RWA’s prestigious RITA Award, and have made Top-Ten lists from Romantic Times, The Romance Reviews and Affaire de Coeur Magazine, and Desert Isle Keeper status at All About Romance. Her fifth book, A BREATH OF SCANDAL, was awarded Best Historical in the Reader’s Crown 2013.

    She has taught her “It’s All About Character” Class to numerous writing groups, including the Yellow Rose Romance Writers, Dallas Area Romance Writers, and Writer’s Guild of North Texas.


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  • May, 2014: Create Compelling Characters

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    May 5th - 30th;  Fee:  $50

    Create Compelling Characters

    Depending on who you ask, there are 2, 4, 7, 9 or 13 different plots for a writer to use. Regardless of who you believe, with a finite number of what can happen, you'd better a find a way to a make your story stand out among the mass.

    And there is no better to draw your readers in that than by creating compelling characters.

    Panster, plotter, or follow the whisperer, regardless of how you get that first draft, second draft, third draft on the page, at some point you're going to want to step back from plot and dive into the skin of your character.

    In Creating Compelling Characters, we do just that. With hands on behind the scene tips on how to writers explore characters, you'll get to know your characters better than you ever thought possible. With practical exercises exploring the psychic distance between story and reader, we'll explore a multitude of ways to draw your reader in closer to your story and your characters.

    In this course we will

    • ·    Delve deep into the protagonist's and antagonist's
    •      Histories
    •      External goals
    •      Internal goals
    •      Conflicts
    •      Motivating factors of behavior.
    •      Core beliefs and behavior
    •      Defining moments

    ·         Give a reader the reason to care

    ·         Develop character's fatal flaw

    ·         Get to know character's psychological levels

    ·         Develop personalities.

    ·         Discover character voice and infuse our scenes with voice

    ·         Develop specific consist character behavior

    ·         Exercise our abilities to pull close to characters

    ·         Explore secondary characters archetypes and springboard beyond to go beyond stock, forgettable, supporting cast.

    ·         Develop secondary character story arcs and contradictions

    ·         Develop our use of secondary characters to support and highlight primary character.

    ·         Analyze how published authors reveal character on every page of manuscript.

    ·         Revise, reshape and bring out characters, scenes and chapters.

    In this four week course, an abundance of learning opportunities will promote discussion and give you plenty of opportunity to learn from each other. Submitting work will allow you to put the theory to work and benefit from classmates feedback. And as a multi-Margie grad with a masters in writing from Vermont College, I'll also be digging deep to help you pull out your best work.

    Hope to see you in class,

    Rhay Christou's Bio:

    The two things I love most in the world are teaching and creative writing. With my MFA in writing from Vermont College , I have had the great fortune to combine the two. Since graduating I’ve taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level as well as writing workshop on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece and in the USA.  Currently represented by Pam van Hylckam Vlieg at Forward Literary, and my first novel, I Do Not will be released in May of 2016 by Spencer Hill.  

     


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  • May, 2014: A Deep Editing Guide to Make Your Openings Pop

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    May 5 - 30;  Fee: $50

    Two Prerequisites:

    1. Empowering Characters' Emotions

    2. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More

    You can meet the prerequisites with the Lecture Packets for both courses. They're available through Paypal from Margie's web site.

    This class is about openings. All your openings, not just the first opening in your book.

    The opening of your first chapter needs to carry powerful content, and powerful structure and style.

    The opening of every scene and every chapter needs to hook the reader with content and structure and style too.

    This course covers:

    -- what the reader needs in the first few paragraphs

    -- the two promises writers give readers on the first page

    -- strategic use of Margie's deep editing techniques and systems, including:

    -- the EDITS System

    -- power words and backloading

    -- ten cadence-driven rhetorical devices

    -- scene-themed, character-themed, and emotion-themed words

    -- objective constructs

    -- linear load issues

    -- style and structure

    Margie-Grads may know most of Margie's deep editing techniques. In this class they'll learn how to pull them together and make their openings smooth and compelling.

    Margie Lawson—psychotherapist, editor, and international presenter – developed psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques used by new writers to multi-award winning authors. She teaches writers how to add psychological power to create page turners.

    In the last eight years Margie presented over ninety full day Master Classes for writers. She taught her psychologically-anchored deep editing to over six thousand writers across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

    Writers who have studied her material credit her innovative editing approaches with taking their writing several levels higher—to publication, awards, and bestseller lists.

    To learn about Margie’s 4-day Immersion Master Classes at her home near Denver (and in St. Louis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Antonio, Seattle, and on Whidbey Island), full day Master Class presentations, online course schedule, Lecture Packets, and newsletter, visit: www.MargieLawson.com.


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