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.

  • April, 2014: Story Structure Safari

    Instructor: Lisa Miller

    April 1 - 30, 2014;  Fee: $50

    Beautiful words and exciting scenes aren't enough to propel the reader through a novel. Stories need structure, a plan, a focus from beginning to end.

    Story Structure Safari will guide you through the dense jungle of information about story. Our trek will include excursions into the lands of Story Structure and Transformational Character Arcs and Plot.

    We'll step back and explore the sweeping overview of several popular novels and movies to explain and reinforce the concepts. We'll also take some intimate hikes to zoom in on the work and knowledge of plot and story structure superstars.

    Throughout the class, I'll share information from award-winning authors and writing experts including James Scott Bell, Nancy Pickard, and Larry Brooks. They will discuss how they structure their stories for success. Editor Deborah Halverson, and plot consultant Martha Alderson, The Plot Whisperer, will talk about story structure strategies. Strategies that will strengthen your chance to sell.

    Using a variety of techniques, you'll have opportunities to infuse these ideas into your story, creating a tantalizing experience for the reader.

    Reactions of past students:

    "I only wish I did this course 10 years ago. Heck, even 1 year ago would have made a difference."

    "This has been one of the best classes I've ever taken -- Ever! I am so pleased that I am pretty much ready to finalize my outline and start writing. I struggled with Story concepts but now feel I have a much firmer grasp than I ever have. I've taken Robert McKee's Story workshop and others, but found them very theoretical - which is great, but it wasn't until I was able to practically apply these concepts through the exercises Lisa so carefully prepared that I understood what I needed to in order to plot/write my book."

    "I LOVED the methodology you taught and from the moment that we had divided our novel into quadrants I was hooked. Before Safari, I had been stuck for a couple of months with my story idea but hadn't done anything with it besides research (even though I'd really tried) and in your class I realized it was because it was such a big story (first time I'd truly tackled a full-length novel) that the idea of writing it by the seat of my pants was very overwhelming. It was like dropping someone into a country they're unfamiliar with and then saying, "see you in X town" and then leaving them there. Safari gave me a map and a compass and a GPS device."

    "Your feedback on things was priceless. The information and the timeliness of your responses were fantastic."

    "This class was great in helping me see just where my story wasn't working."

    "Impressed with the calibre of this course, how the material was handled and how it was presented. I could tell that our instructor cared about the craft of writing and hoped to pass on her knowledge - I'm a bit of a course junkie and had been looking for this type of course: nuts and bolts of the how to's, nothing skimmed over."

    Lisa, this class went beyond my expectations. I started it feeling that I really didn't need the class. My story was fine. I felt that I was taking too many classes and not focusing on my writing. I was very wrong. I needed this class TO focus on my writing. This helped me pull together so many weak parts of my story. I could never do outlines for stories. Never really liked them, but this felt so loose and free like writing should be. I am amazed at the time you dedicated to this class and for so little money. I was bragging about this class to anyone who would listen. Most of all, you showed me I can make time to write. It's all about focus and dedication and pushing yourself to be better. Lisa, you are just a marvel. I am humbled by your wisdom, appreciative of your time and encouraged by what you have taught. This was a well spent month. I will miss spending so much time with you. Thank you!

    "Lisa, thank you so much for a class that has gone way beyond anything I expected. This class has been so important for me that almost daily I have shaken my head in wonder and pleasure at the ah-has and the knowledge that I've been getting from it. It has been one of the most exciting classes I've ever done! I have learned that my rather different story of a woman's life does fit a framework and I now have a clear view of where I need to emphasise the developments within the framework so that the reader can understand where they are and the significance of those developments. This includes inserting the right text, mood, hints etc into dialogue, action, description, narrative, the lot. It would have been great to have taken this class a couple of years ago, but then I wouldn't have had the grip on my story that I have now, and this has contributed to my excellent progress in this class.

    Lisa Miller is a 26-year veteran teacher, as well as a certified counselor. She branched out to pursue her long time passion for writing fiction six years ago. A graduate of all things Margie, Lisa created and coordinates the DSDB Alumni Yahoo Loop. Not always finding the writing classes she needs, Lisa scours the internet and how-to books for self-instruction. She  funneled that knowledge into an online course and merged it with her teaching skills in a desire to share what she has discovered with other writers who want to strengthen their stories.


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  • April, 2014: From blah to beats—Giving Chapters a Pulse

    From blah to beats—Giving Chapters a Pulse

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    April 1 - 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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  • April, 2014: Taming Twitter, and Facebook too! How YOU can use Twitter to market and promote yourself.

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    Fee: $40;  April 1 - 30

    Join medical romance author Julie Rowe as she dissects and discusses the effective use of Twitter by authors in today's rapidly changing publishing marketplace. Topics include:

    Set up your Twitter account so you look like a pro.

    Bonus lesson & homework on creating your Facebook author page. Lessons include step-by-step instructions with screen shots of each step.

    Following the right people and attracting the right followers.

    Top Content Twitter Tactics to Reach the Biggest Audience Dos and Don'ts: Content is king, where to find your content.

    What to tweet to sell books without having to ask people to buy

    Top Techie Twitter Tactics to Reach the Biggest Audience: Timing your tweets (and Facebook posts). Scheduling apps and why you need to use them for Twitter and Facebook. Other useful apps, Hashtags

    Twitter parties (and Facebook too!) – Creating a bang for your book without booze, bare chests, or bodice ripping.

    Twitter street teams (and Facebook too!) – Getting the word out on your writing.

    Julie will work with each participant throughout the month, critiquing the look and feel of their Twitter account (and Facebook too!), the content (brainstorming topics to tweet that is relevant to the participants and/or their books, with the goal of creating 14 to 21 unique tweets for each book and more to support the author's brand).

    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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  • 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.  

     


    View more information and enroll
  • May, 2014: Lights! Camera! TENSION!

    Instructor:  Sarah Hamer

    May 5 - 30; Fee: $50

    What keeps us reading?  Is it the characters? (Maybe) Or the plot?  (Probably not)  Or the setting?  (Not!)

    I believe it's the tension.  It's the heart-racing, surprise-around-every-corner, what's-going-to-happen-next tension that keeps me turning that page, because tension belongs:

    ·        In every book

    ·        In every scene

    ·        On every page

    Without it, who cares?  The whole story falls flat.

    In this class, we'll drill deep to find exactly what creates tension in a scene or a character and we'll learn dozens of ways to make sure you'll use Margie's orange highlighter at all the right moments.

    These include:

    Tension through dialogue and subtext

    Tension through goals and conflict

    Tension between characters' agendas

    Tension within the characters

    Tension in the pacing - too much is just as bad as too little

    When we're done, you'll have a whole toolbox full of ways to add tension to your story - so that your reader won't be able to put it down.

    Sarah (Sally) Hameris 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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  • 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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  • May, 2014: Creating That Historical Feel

    Instructor:  Anne Mateer

    May 5 - 30;  Fee: $40

    Course Description

    Writing historical fiction involves more than dressing your characters in vintage clothing. It requires building an entire historical world which transports your readers to another time and place. Sound daunting? Not really. A little bit of research can go a long way if you know the kinds of things you are looking for.
    In this course, we will explore what makes a novel “historical” and what makes a novel feel historical to a reader. From the big picture to the smallest detail, we’ll discuss how to create historical fiction and then we’ll practice doing it. So grab your time machine and come along for the ride!

     

    Anne Mateer is the author of four historical novels with Bethany House publishers. She has had a passion for both history and fiction since she first began reading as a child. Armed with a B.A. in history from Southern Methodist University, she enjoys exploring the lives of characters from bygone eras, both factual and fictional. 



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  • March, 2014: Virtues and Vices and Plots!

    Instructor:  Sarah Hamer

    Dates: March 3 - 28;  Fee:  $50

    Getting your story set up is hard, right? Nailing all those plot points and inciting incidents and black moments in the perfect place is like trying to scratch that hard-to-reach place on your back.

    I can teach you an easier way. I'll teach you how to use your main character's vices and virtues to craft a three-act, eight-sequence outline that gives you a starting block for your story. We'll cover:

    -- character archetypes
    -- character traits
    -- why and how we break our stories into eight equal parts
    -- how to create a character arc that is an integral part of your story

    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. 


    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2014: Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist

    Instructor:  Margie Lawson

    March 3 - 28;  Fee:  $50

    Learn how to write body language and dialogue cues from a kinesics specialist. No more cliched, trite, and overused facial expressions and dialogue cues.

    Writers will learn how to write more than basic facial expressions, more than basic body lanugage, more than basic dialogue cues, and write them so well, I'd rate them NYT!

    Writers will learn how to write fresh:

    • Body Language Basics:  facial messages, lips, eyes, chin, full facial expression, flicker-face, gestures, posture, hierarchical zones . . .
    • Body Language Clusters
    • Avoidance and Deception Cues
    • Vibes – beyond spidey senses and hair-raising
    • Turning Points driven by subtle body language cues
    • Body Language and Dialogue Cues for POV and Non-POV characters
    • Body Language and Dialogue Cues with Rhetorical Devices
    • Specific Emotion-driven full Kinesics Patterns for anxiety, fear, joy, sadness, lust, shock, surprise . . .
    • Body Language and Dialogue Cues that include stimulus and response

    Each teaching point will be illustrated with examples from bestselling authors, their excerpts dissected and analyzed.


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  • February, 2014: Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Course

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    Feb 1 - April 10:  Fee: $100

    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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