Welcome to Lawson Writer's Academy!Margie Cartooon

Jump to Course List


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, 2015: Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

    Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

    April 5 - May 31;   Fee: $90

    Your words shine and each line glisten. But you’re still getting rejections!

    Pansters and plotters, at some point you’re going to have to step back from the words, the lines, and even the paragraphs, and look at the big picture issues.

    Diving deep into developmental edits is an intense fourteen lecture course for those writers who have finished at least one draft of a novel.

    This course is all about seeing your work as an editor, and learning how to analyze what you have on the page, so you can make the big decisions that will take your novel from fine to powerful.

    This two-month course is packed full of tips, ideas, and learning opportunities not only aimed at helping writers make their current work in progress shine, but also teaching writers how to make future novels stronger.

    With a completed draft in hand, writers will work independently or with a partner to hone their big picture editing skills and learn techniques for:

    • Play by genre/category rules and target markets.
    • Look at typical novel structure and where and how your work falls into the norms, and what to do if you’re way off.

    How to tackle a first read:

    • Reconcile the  character on your page with the one in your mind.
    • Discover and develop story themes. 
    • Turn plodding plots into powerful plots. Pick pacing, logic and not missing those missed opportunities.
    • Identify killer beginnings and how to up yours to a beginning that deserves a life sentence.
    • Empower those murky middles.
    • Create kick-A.. endings.

    How to tackle  the second read:

    • Dive into deep point of view.
    • Find and keep voice and style.
    • Take dialog from stilted to rich.
    • Discover how to share a scene versus tell a scene.

    Third read focuses on:

    • Use setting to its best.
    • Use narrative summary and exposition effectively.
    • Polish stories until they shine.

    And so much more!

    Be sure to visit the class and read how to get started before class begins.

    With a plethora of examples, assignments, and Rhay’s--Let’s think about this--we’ll explore, discover, and unlock the mysteries of developmental edits.

    About Rhay Christou: Two of the things I love are teaching and creative writing. With my MFA in writing from Vermont College, I have had the great fortune to combine them. I’ve taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level as well as writing workshops in the USA and on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece, where I live.

    I teach three other courses online for Lawson Writer's Academy:  Create Compelling Characters, From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Heart and Diving into Deep Point of View.


    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2015: Adapting Fiction for Film


    Instructor:  Susan McCauley

    April 1 - 30  

    Fee: $50

    Have you ever wanted to learn how to write a screenplay? Or, better yet, adapt your own novel for the screen?  

    If so, then join screen and fiction writer, Susie McCauley, and learn to adapt your existing work of fiction for the silver screen.

    In this course, we will:

    • Learn screenwriting formatting
    • Learn basic screenwriting terminology
    • Study excerpts from two famous novels and one short story and their accompanying screenplay adaptations
    • Look in depth at Act I, Act II, and Act III of the excerpts to discover how each piece was adapted and how you can apply these techniques to your own work
    • Adapt portions of your own fiction and receive feedback that will help you adapt your novel for the screen

    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 the University of Southern California, I'll dig in to your examples and help make your work shine.


    Susie McCauley’s Bio:

    I love writing. I wrote my first screenplay when I was eight years old, and shot it on a camcorder with my cousins. That was just the beginning of a long, exciting journey . . .

    I have a B.A. in Radio-Television with a minor in Theater from the University of Houston, an M.F.A. in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. in Text & Performance from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and King’s College in London. (I also studied professional acting for two years with Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic ParkIndependence Day) in Los Angeles.)

    While living in Los Angeles, I worked as a writer, actress, producer, and college English instructor. During that time, I wrote the story for and produced a short film, which later won awards at the Houston International Film Festival and the Seabrook Film Festival. In 2002, I moved to London. In London, my stage adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose” was performed as well as scenes from my play The Prisoner: Princess Elizabeth. I returned to the U.S. in 2005. In 2007, I was the line producer of the Emmy Award nominated Civil War short film Now & Forever Yours: Letters to an Old Soldier.  My short story "The Nest" was published in an anthology in 2014, and my next short story, "The Cask", will be released in 2015. I am a writer for Writers Who Love Readers website: www.Readerlicious.com

    I’m currently polishing my second middle grade novel, and I teach writing for the University of Houston Clear Lake and Lawson’s Writer’s Academy.



    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2015: Story Structure Safari

    Instructor:  Lisa Miller

    April 1 - 30;  Fee: $60

    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 Lawson, 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.

    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2015: Creating That Historical Feel

    Instructor:  Anne Mateer

    April 1 - 30;  Fee: $50

    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 to look for.
    In this four week course, we will explore what makes a novel “historical” and what makes a novel feel historical to a reader. We’ll each choose a time period and place to work with through the course, then we’ll discuss and practice:  
    • Balancing fact and fiction
    • Understanding the “big” history of an era  
    • Discovering the realities of daily life for your characters
    • Enhancing the historical feel with clothing and culture
    • Avoiding anachronistic characters
    • Getting the words right in narrative and dialogue
    • Putting together the final product
    If you are just beginning to delve into writing historical fiction, this class is for you. So grab your time machine and let’s go! 

    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. 

    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2015: Love Your Voice

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    April 1 - 30;  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

    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2015: Avoiding Author Meltdown™ : The Debut Author
    Instructor: Susannah Scott
    March 2 – 20:  Fee: $30
    Avoiding Author Meltdown™
            For the aspiring and newly contracted writer.
    Learn what you need to know between getting the “call” and book launch to avoid debut author meltdown! 
    Imagine you could listen in while debut authors have a libation (or two) and discuss:
    • Getting the “call” and the crash to reality
    • Contract Terms
    • How their book sold
    • Top 3 do-over wishes
    • Best advice to newbies (aside from “keep writing” and “write a great book”)
    • Worst meltdown and the fallout
    • Out of pocket expenses and what was worth it/not worth it
    In this class, we’ll use interviews from published debut authors to breakdown the above questions, covering everything from the elation of signing a publishing contract to the subsequent ninety-degree learning curve. We’ll go over personal and professional stakes, identify the 3 triggers to author meltdown, and develop a plan for handling these triggers in the perilous revision and launch phase.
    We’ll put together a debut author emergency response system so when the alarms go off in your head, you’ll know where to find the exit.
    This class consists of  9 lectures that will be posted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for three weeks. There will be a few brief class assignments designed to prepare aspiring and debut authors for what comes next in their writing journey. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and generate a conversation around topics.
    Susannah Scott writes award-winning paranormal romance featuring hunky dragon-shifters who own a swanky Vegas casino: Luck of the Dragon, Stop Dragon My Heart Around, and Dragon Her Back. She's also penned a series of instructional books for authors who are keen to Avoid Author Meltdown.

    Susannah lives on a farm with her family in the Southern Missouri Ozarks and loves connecting with other authors and readers through social media. You can find her on most of the social media platforms, but Twitter is the best spot for a quick response: @Susannah_Scott.

    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2015: Getting Serious About Writing a Series

    Learn the musts of writing a series!

    Instructor: Lisa Wells

    March 2 - 27;   Fee:  $40

    Getting Serious About Writing a Series

    In this course, you will design your series bible, create the eleven items it must include (listed below), and learn series-writing tips from award-winning authors, including

    Bella Andre

    Romily Bernard

    Laura Bradford

    Allison Brennan

    Diana Cosby

    Vicky Dreiling

    Angie Fox

    Adrienne Giordano

    Diana Groe

    Charlotte Hubbard

    Darynda Jones

    Kieran Kramer

    C.J. Lyons

    Shirley Jump

    Brenda Novak

    Pamela Palmer

    Robin Perini

    Bonnie Ramthun

    Renee Ryan

    Jeanne Stein

    Joan Swan

    1. Story structure. Learn how to shape your story and series for the best fit.

    2. Specification of your story's use of time. Do your books have a clock that ticks backward as well as forward?

    3. Series connection plan. Don't leave the way your books are going to connect to chance. Study and seize a style that will keep readers coming back for more.

    4. Rules. Boundaries. Limitations. Whatever you call them, you must set them before you write your series. If you don't, you risk your books becoming a joke.

    5. A personalized contract. You will need one to keep you on track for deadlines.

    6. Record of how your series will end. Stimulating ideas for the end of your series is important. Even if you're a pantser, you need to know how your series could finish with a boom.

    7. Opening scene - script it until it's perfect.

    8. Plot possibilities. There is a smorgasbord of ways you can develop plot ideas. Your bible should include pages for you to track your ideas for the books as well as the series.

    9. Develop you elevator pitch for your first book.

    10. Develop your elevator pitch for your series.

    11. Develop your series paragraph for your query letter.

    12. Synopsis. If an agent requests a synopsis, and it's almost guaranteed they will, learn how to create one without going insane.

    Lisa Wells is a 22-year veteran educator. For the past 16 years, she's enjoyed a rollercoaster journey called: The School Counselor – Dramas, Dreams, and Destinies. Add the theme song to Jaws, and you have the feel for this fun ride.

    Author of DIBS, a sexy romance, nominated as Debut Book That Rocks and Best Book of The Year, Lisa believes writers should never quit studying their craft.  When she decided to write a series and couldn't find affordable material that taught the nuances of writing series vs. stand alone books, she designed her own how-to-class. Self-appointed number one fan of Margie Lawson, she is thrilled to teach at Lawson Writer's Academy.

    Twitter @lisawells1


    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2015: Diving Deep into Deep Point of View

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    March 2 - 27; Fee: $60

    Diving Deep into Deep Point of View

    With information coming at us from all sides, at all times of the day, the world has become a here and now kind of place. No wonder authors, agents, editors and readers want to feel that same kind of immediacy with stories. They scream for deep point of view. And I mean deep!!


    In this course we will:

    ·         Understand point of view and the best point of view for your story.


     Recognize and fix point of view issues such as; slips and author intrusion.


      Learn how word choices impact deep point of view.


     Use descriptions that keep it deep.

           Use authentic settings that resonate with characters and readers.


    Use dialog that rings true for characters.


    Learn where to dive in the deepest and where and when to stay in the shallows.


    Learn how to crack deep point of view in third and first person.


    Learn quick fixes for deep point of view that can transform your manuscript.


    And so much more!


    With a plethora of examples, assignments, and Rhay’s--Let’s think about this--we’ll explore, discover, and unlock the mysteries of deep point of view.


    About Rhay ChristouTwo of the things I love are teaching and creative writing. With my MFA in writing from Vermont College, I have had the great fortune to combine them. I’ve taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level as well as writing workshops in the USA and on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece, where I live.

    I teach two other courses online for Lawson Writer's Academy:  Create Compelling Characters and From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Heart.

    I am 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
  • March, 2015: Scene and Sequel—Superpowered Writing Tool!

    Instructor: Kathleen Baldwin

    March 2 - 27; Fee: $50

    Scene and Sequel—Superpowered Writing Tool!

    FACT: Readers crave powerful emotional experiences.

    Supercharge your readers' emotional experience using Dwight Swain's Scene & Sequel method from Techniques of the Selling Writer. You may have heard about Scene & Sequel. You may have read Swain's book. But do you really grasp how to apply his process?

    Scene & Sequel is like literary nuclear physics. It can be tough to understand. Put away your Hazmat suit. Award-winning, Amazon bestselling author, Kathleen Baldwin will give you a user-friendly version of Swain's power-packed process.

    Class Mug Shot:

    • What is Scene & Sequel? Kathleen distills Scene and Sequel down to its bubbly radioactive essence and makes it easy to understand.
    • Discuss examples of Scene & Sequel at work in familiar books and movies.
    • Learn 3 Deadly Detractors that weaken a scene faster than Kryptonite.
    • See examples of how this technique changes scenes from blah to explosive.
    • Kathleen will give you a Scene & Sequel fill-in-the-blanks super cheat sheet.
    • Apply Scene & Sequel to a scene in your current wip.
    • Get instructor feedback.

    Kathleen Baldwin is an award-winning, Amazon bestselling author. Kensington published several of Kathleen's Regency romantic comedies, including MISTAKEN KISS, which was a Holt Medallion finalist, and garnered 4 ½ star from RT. All of her books have had lengthy sojourns on Amazon's paid Bestsellers lists.

    Her YA fantasy romance, DIARY OF A TEENAGE FAIRY GODMOTHER, is a 2014 Golden Quill Finalist, was chosen Pick of the Day by Fresh Fiction readers.

    Kat's Alternate History YA Romance series, A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS, A Stranje House Novel, won the Marlene in 2012 and sold in a three book deal to Macmillan/Tor Teen, available May 2015.

    You can reach Kat through her website KathleenBaldwin.com or Twitter: twitter.com/KatBaldwin or connect on Facebook: facebook.com/KathleenBaldwinAuthor

    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2015: Battling the Basics: A Primer of the Essentials of Writing

    Instructor: Sarah Hamer

    Dates: March 2 - 27;  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.


    View more information and enroll
  • February, 2015: 50 Ways to Build Your Author Brand

    Instructor:  Julie RoweJulie Rowe

    February 2 - 27;  Fee:  $50

    50 Ways to Build Your Author Brand

    No two authors are the same or have the same brand. In this one month workshop, authors can explore 50 different ways to build their brand, decide which ones they wish to explore further, and create a plan to build their brand, their way.

    Each item on the list includes examples, templates, and instructions as required, and optional homework.

    The first 25 days of the workshop will provide 2 brand-building possibilities per day. The last days of the workshop will focus on creating your plan.

    A sample of some of the potential options:

    1. Determine your goals (6 month, 1 year, 2 yrs, 5 yrs).

    2. Become an expert in your field (turn that expertise into paying writing gigs & workshops).

    3. Create an editorial calendar (examples and resources).

    4. Pitch yourself to local media (press release template).


    Julie Rowe's first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her contemporary and historical medical romances, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, but admits she'll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, "Fiction has to be believable.".

    Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. The third book in her War Girls series, Aiding the Enemy, won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer's Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today's Parent, and Canadian Living.

    Three and half years ago, Julie began creating tweets for each of Carina Presses new releases and sharing them on the Carina Press author loop, urging all authors to support one another. One and a half years ago, Carina Press offered Julie a monthly stipend so she wouldn't stop. Julie now works in concert with Carina Presses social media staff to ensure timely, accurate tweets are posted to the author loop for all new releases and sale books.

    You can reach her at www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor

    View more information and enroll
  • February, 2015: Can We Talk? Crafting Dialogue the Write Way

    Instructor:  Lisa WellsLisa Wells

    February 2 - 27;  Fee:  $50

    Crafting Dialogue the Write Way

    Learn how to craft dialogue that carries power!

    The class includes:

    Dialogue Challenge

    Check your manuscript to see if your dialogue has the11 essential ingredients of great dialogue.

    Dialogue Flaw Search

    Weed out the 13 most common dialogue flaws.

    Dialogue Manipulation

    – Execute 25 techniques to craft dialogue that will emotionally impact (manipulate) the reader.

    Still not sure if this class is for you?

    Here are 4 more reasons:

    1. If you want to learn how to turn predictable dialogue into fresh and exciting dialogue, this class is for you.

    2. If you want to learn how to create a distinct voice for each of your characters, this class is for you.

    3. If you want to learn how to slip in information to the reader without losing their interest, this class is for you.

    4. If you want to learn the art of subtext, this class is for you.

    In other words - this class is for you.

    Lisa Wellsis a 22-year veteran educator. For the past 16 years, she's enjoyed a rollercoaster journey called: The School Counselor – Dramas, Dreams, and Destinies. Add the theme song to Jaws, and you have the feel for this fun ride.

    Author of DIBS, a sexy romance, nominated as Debut Book That Rocks and Best Book of The Year, Lisa believes writers should never quit studying their craft. Her Dialogue class was born out of a treasure trove of information she discovered while studying dialogue from a screenwriter's perspective.

    Represented by Literary Agent, Tish Beaty, Lisa has just signed a contract with Entangled Publishing to be one of their authors for their new What Happens in Vegas series.

    Self-appointed number one fan of Margie Lawson, Lisa has been teaching classes at the Lawson Writer's Academy for several years. When asked what is the best thing she ever did to improve the craft of her own writing, she replied, "Attend Margie's immersion class on the mountain."  

    Twitter @lisawells1


    View more information and enroll
  • February, 2015: It's All About Character: Using Character Themed Words

    Instructor: Elizabeth Essex

    Dates: Feb. 2 - 27, 2014; Fee: $50

    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.

    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.

    View more information and enroll
  • February, 2015: Create Compelling Characters

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    Feb. 2 - 27  Fee:  $60

    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'll need to dive into the skin of your character.

    In Create 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

    ·         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:

    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
  • Jan-April, 2015: Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Course

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    January 19 - April 20:  Fee: $175

    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!

    View more information and enroll