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.

  • November, 2014: Triple Threat Behind Writing A Scene

    Instructor:  Tiffany Lawson Inman

    Dates:  November 3 - 30;  Fee:  $50

    Triple Threat Behind Writing a Scene

    Topics covered: 

    • Writing dramatic dialogue to affect pacing, characterization, relationship, and emotion.
    • Writing active setting to move scenes forward and pull your readers in to your  living story world.
    • Creating quality tension by weaving conflict and action through each breath of the scene.

    Triple Threat Behind Scene Writing includes:

    • Lectures
    • Exercises
    • Assignments
    • Deconstructed examples from multiple genres
    • Hands-on interaction between you, your writing, and the instructor
    • Feedback and edits galore! 

    *This class is not for beginners

    Tiffany Lawson Inman claimed a higher education at Columbia College Chicago. There, she learned to use body and mind together for action scenes, character emotion, and dramatic story development. Tiffany's background in theatre provides her with a unique approach to the craft of writing, and her clients and students greatly benefit. 
    She teaches Action and Fighting, Choreography, Active Setting, Emotional Impact, Scene Writing, and Dialogue for Lawson Writer’s Academy online, presents hands-on-action workshops, and will be offering webinars in  late 2014.
    As a freelance editor, she provides deep story analysis, content editing, line by line, and dramatic fiction editing services. Stay tuned to Twitter @NakedEditor for Tiffany’s upcoming guest blogs around the internet, classes, contests, and lecture packets.

    View more information and enroll
  • November, 2014: Diving Deep into Deep Point of View

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    Nov. 3 - 30; Fee: $50

    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
  • November, 2014: Proofreading like a Best-Selling Author

    Instructor:  Kathy Ide

    November 3 - 27, 2014;  Fee:  $40

    These days, it's easier than ever to get a book published. But if you want people (besides your family and friends) to buy your book, you have to do it well. Really well.

    There are many ways to learn professional writing techniques. Once you've learned them and applied them to your manuscript, you'll be ready to confidently send your manuscript to a subsidy publisher or submit it to an agent or commercial publisher ... right?

    Not quite.

    Before you submit that piece you've worked so hard on, it's important to give it a final proofread. To catch all those annoying typos that slipped in while you were creating your masterpiece. To make sure all the formatting is consistent. That the sentences are punctuated correctly, the grammar is accurate, and the words are spelled right and used right.

    Why make such a big deal out of the little things? Because if there are too many mistakes in a manuscript, the message in that nonfiction book or the story of that novel may get lost or even misunderstood. And readers today have so many options, it's easier than ever to simply stop reading one book and move on to another.

    OK. So how can you make sure your manuscript is as error-free as possible?

    In "Proofreading like a Best-Selling Author," you'll learn:

    • how to catch typos in your manuscript
    • how to ensure consistency throughout a manuscript (or series)
    • what industry-standard reference books the publishers use
    • how to punctuate properly
    • what kinds of words to look up in a dictionary (and which dictionary to use)
    • and more.

    Each lesson has an optional "pretest," with the answers revealed in the following lesson.

    Lessons will be posted on Mondays and Wednesdays, starting November 3.

    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.

    View more information and enroll
  • October, 2014: Madness to Method: Using acting techniques to make each moment Oscar worthy!

    MADNESS to Method: Using acting techniques to invigorate your story and make each moment Oscar worthy!

    Instructor: Tiffany Lawson Inman

    October 6 -  31st  Fee: $50

    From Madness to Method uses the father of all acting techniques, The Method. Writers will learn how to create the most real of real moments. Course exercises push writers to enhance their emotional repertoire.  

    No matter where you are in the writing process – this class will crack open your psyche to reveal dynamic character, motivation, and reaction. Showing you how to activate emotion you never knew you had.

    If we held an Academy Awards for fiction, would yours be a highly acclaimed nominee? Polish those shoes and spray on a tan.  After this workshop every moment in every scene will be worthy of actors like Meryl Streep and your characters will be hitting the red carpet!

    From Madness to Method includes lectures, out-of-your-chair exercises, and examples from multiple genres. There will be hands-on interaction between you, your writing, and the instructor.

    • Access your sense memories to fuel character emotion on the page
    • Turn reality into fiction by awakening your innermost observational skills
    • Thrust your story forward by using every facet of character
    • Increase your character’s emotional authenticity
    • Create memorable moments readers will remember for years
    • Write with your scars

    *This class is not for beginners.

    Tiffany Lawson Inman claimed a higher education at Columbia College Chicago. There, she learned to use body and mind together for action scenes, character emotion, and dramatic story development. Tiffany's background in theatre provides her with a unique approach to the craft of writing, and her clients and students greatly benefit. 
    She teaches Action and Fighting, Choreography, Active Setting, Emotional Impact, Scene Writing, and Dialogue for Lawson Writer’s Academy online, presents hands-on-action workshops, and will be offering webinars in  late 2014.
    As a freelance editor, she provides deep story analysis, content editing, line by line, and dramatic fiction editing services. Stay tuned to Twitter @NakedEditor for Tiffany’s upcoming guest blogs around the internet, classes, contests, and lecture packets.

    View more information and enroll
  • October, 2014: Scene and Sequel—Superpowered Writing Tool!

    Instructor: Kathleen Baldwin

    October 1 - 30; 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
  • October, 2014: 30 Days to a Stronger Novel

    Instructor: Lisa Wells

    October 1 -  30;  Fee: $40


    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.

    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 that Margie Lawson invited her to teach at Lawson Writer's Academy.

    Twitter @lisawells1


    View more information and enroll
  • October, 2014: Taming Twitter, and Facebook too! How YOU can use Twitter to market and promote yourself.

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    Oct. 6 - 31;   Fee: $40

    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

    View more information and enroll
  • October, 2014: Create Compelling Characters

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    Oct. 1st - 31st;  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
  • October, 2014: Creating That Historical Feel

    Instructor:  Anne Mateer

    Oct. 6 - 31;  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
  • September, 2014: Story Structure Safari

    Instructor: Lisa Miller

    Sept. 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.

    View more information and enroll
  • August/October, 2014: Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Course

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    August 18 - October 31:  Fee: $125

    Sorry to disappoint you, but this class is full.

    I will teach Fab 30 again February through  mid-April. 

    Registration for the 2014 courses (January - June) will be open in November.

    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