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.

  • August, 2015: Queries That Sell, and More!

    Instructor: Laura Drake, RITA Winner!Laura Drake, Head shot

    Dates:  August 3 - 28;  Fee: $40

    Queries That Sell, and More!

    Put Your Query in a Power Suit!

    Your writing is amazing. You've edited your manuscript until the reflection alone will blind.


    But without an equally shiny submission package, those agents/editors will never know about you, and that you could have been their next great author.

    This course will teach you everything you need to know to make a knowledgeable, professional submission that will impress.

    We will cover:

    Finding and researching Editors/Agents.

    Writing queries and critiquing them in class – you'll leave with a query as shiny as your manuscript!

    Reviewing your query, including formatting and what to include. This course does not cover your synopsis.

    Tracking your submissions and staying organized.

    Agent/Editor etiquette.

    Afraid? Apprehensive? Anxious? 

    I have tips to help you to blast through!

    As a Master Margie Grad, I'll be checking your submission for backloading, cadence, and power words too.

    Laura Drake decided to write a novel. Three years later she completed it, and decided what she really wanted was to hold a book in her hand with her name on the cover. Three novels, 417 queries, and twelve years later, Laura achieved her dream. She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot (May 2013), Nothing Sweeter(Jan 2014 and Sweet on You(Aug 2014). The Sweet Spot, won the RITA for Best First Book in 2014.

    Her 'biker-chick' novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin's Superromance line (Aug 2013) and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town. The Reasons to Stay (Aug 2014), Twice in a Blue Moon (July 2015).

    Laura has long wanted to make a foray into another genre she loves, and her agent is currently shopping a Women's Fiction novel, also set in the world of professional bull riding.

    In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan, and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She's a wife, grandmother and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

    Visit Laura's web site

    Visit the Writers in the Storm Blog

    Twitter: PBRWriter

    View more information and enroll
  • August, 2015: Scene and Sequel—Superpowered Writing Tool!

    Instructor: Kathleen Baldwin

    Photo: Immersion Sisters: Julie Glover and Christina Delay at Kathleen's booksigning. 

    Kat Baldwin, Booksigning

    August 3 - 28;  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
  • August, 2015: Getting Serious About Writing a Series

    Lisa Wells, head shotLearn the musts of writing a series!

    Instructor: Lisa Wells

    August 3 - 28;   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
  • August, 2015: Creating That Historical Feel

    Instructor:  Anne MateerAnne Mateer, head shot

    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
  • September, 2015: "No One Gets Me!": Writing Believable YA Characters

    Instructor:  Julie GloverJulie Glover, head shot

    September 1 - 30;  Fee: $40

    What makes a novel young adult? Is it just the age of the protagonist?

    It's so much more!

    This course will demystify the teen world and help you write believable characters—one your readers can relate to and root for. Learn the keys to crafting a novel solidly in YA, which goes far beyond the age of your main character.

    In this four-week course, we'll explore:

    · YA Themes. What major issues do teens deal with, and how do they affect your story, regardless of subgenre? What social-emotional challenges must they resolve?

    · YA Worldview. How do teens see the world and their role in it? What makes their perspective distinctive, and how do you write that?

    · YA Voice. How do teens express themselves? How can you add punch to your narrative, internal dialogue, body language, and external dialogue to master teen speak?

    · Writing YA Fresh. How do you avoid making your characters into stereotypes? What makes your teens simultaneously unique and relatable?

    We'll look at examples from fabulous teen fiction that nail these concepts, helping you see what it looks like on the page. Samples will come from several subgenres (author sampling: Darynda Jones—paranormal, Kathleen Baldwin—historical, Patty Blount—contemporary, Romily Bernard—thriller), and principles can be applied to whatever kind of YA you write.

    Assignments will provide an opportunity to practice and receive feedback on your manuscript.

    Julie Gloverwrites teen fiction, adores snarky characters, and continues to advocate for the interrobang(‽). She's also an RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in the young adult category for her contemporary novel, Sharing Hunter, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency.

    Julie has a master's degree in counseling and lives in Friendswood, Texas, a bedroom community outside Houston, with one hottie husband and two teenage sons—who think no one gets them either.

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

    Lisa Miller, Head shotInstructor:  Lisa Miller

    September 1 - 30;  Fee: $75

    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
  • September, 2015: Create Compelling Characters

    Rhay ChristouInstructor: Rhay Christou

    Sept. 1 - 30;  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
  • September, 2015: 30 Days to a Stronger Novel

    Instructor: Lisa WellsLisa Wells head shot

    Sept. 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
  • September, 2015: Screenwriting Strategies for Fiction Writers

    Susie McCauley, Head shotInstructor: Susie McCauley

    September 1 - 30;  Fee: $50

    Do you want to learn how to apply screenwriting structure and universal character archetypes to make your fiction compelling? Make sure your plot points are in the right places? And that the acts don’t run too long?

    If so, then join screen and fiction writer, Susie McCauley, and learn to apply structure techniques and character archetypes based on Christopher Vogler’s international bestseller The Writer’s Journey. We will also examine plot and character ideas from Robert McKee, Carl Jung, Aristotle, and more.

    In this course, we will:

    •  Look at how to use the three act structure to strengthen your story
    •  Look in depth at Act I, Act II, and Act III of story and discover the important elements required to drive the story forward
    • Define important moments within the three act structure
    • Look deeply at your story in terms of the three act structure (or help you plan your story if you haven’t yet started writing)
    • Examine character archetypes and the roles they play in story
    • Look deeply at your characters and find ways to enrich them through the psychological power of universal archetypes
    • Discover how your plot and characters work together to create a compelling story

    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:  

    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 and 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. My next short story, "The Cask", will be released in 2015, and is currently being made into a short film. I am a contributing writer for Writers Who Love Readers website: www.Readerlicious.com. You can also visit me on the web at www.sbmccauley.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
  • September, 2015: Love Your Voice

    Julie Rowe, Head shotInstructor: Julie Rowe

    September 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
  • July, 2015: From Blah to Beats: Giving Your Chapters a Pulse

    From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Pulse

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    July 6 - 31;  Fee: $60

    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. Fourteen-plus 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:

    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
  • July, 2015: Five-Week First Draft

    Instructor:  Koreen Myers
    July 6 - August 9 (five weeks)     Fee: $55

    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." ~ Maya Angelou

    According to the New York times, over 80% of people want to write a book. Sadly, only a fraction of those surveyed will every get the words down on paper. Will you let another day, another month, another year go by without writing your story?

    Stop the excuses. This is your month.

    In this course we will create a community of writers who, like you, want to write a novel. The fast-paced class is perfect for first-time writers as well as those who need a little extra motivation to develop a first draft.

    Course Outline:

    Week 1—Focus will be on setting realistic goals, time management strategies, and story mapping (basic character maps and plot point outline).

    Week 2--Writing time (develop the opening through the first plot point). Focus will be on first draft tricks (like story scribbles) and quieting the inner critic.

    Week 3--Writing time (develop from first plot point to the mid-plot point). Focus will be on attacking writer's block and avoiding saggy middles.

    Week 4--Writing time (develop from mid point to the climax). Focus will be on balancing conflict (action vs. moral) and enhancing themes.

    Week 5--Writing time (develop from the climax to the grande finale). Focus will be on strong endings and how to satisfy readers. We'll celebrate our successes and plan for next month's goals. Participants who reach their goals will receive certificates and the satisfaction of knowing--I did it!!!

    Throughout the entire month, you will receive inspirational messages, online community support and forums where you can find tips and ideas.

    This class will be fast, but manageable. We will work on the main story line, leaving out subplots and lavish details. This goal is to get the basic story on paper, so the real work--editing--can take place.

    "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

    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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  • July, 2015: Battling the Basics: A Primer of the Essentials of Writing

    Instructor: Sarah Hamer

    July 6 - 31;  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.

    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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  • Immersion Central

    Immersion Central

    A powerful gathering place for Immersion Master Class Grads!

    Click in and check it out!

    If you're an Immersion grad, email Margie and she'll add you to the list.

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