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.

  • 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.

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


    Instructor:  Susan McCauley

    October 1 - 30;  Fee: $50

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

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

    You 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 feedback from classmates and instructor.


    I'm 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, exciting journey that led to three fine arts degrees, studying and working across the world. 

    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 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. My stage adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose” was performed in London, 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.

    I’m currently working on my third middle grade novel. My short story "The Nest" was published in an anthology in 2014, and my next short story, "The Cask", will be released in 2015. The film adaptation for "The Cask" is moving into production this fall.

    I'm a writer for Writers Who Love Readers website: www.Readerlicious.com

    I am a panelist for the Horror Writers Association (on topics related to YA and MG horror). My next discussion will be live on the web as part of the WHA's Roundtable on September 13 to discuss putting age appropriate horror in the hands of young readers: http://horror.org/horror-roundtable/

    I also teach Screenwriting Strategies for Fiction Writers for Lawson Writer’s Academy and several writing courses for the University of Houston, Clear Lake.

    View more information and enroll
  • October, 2015: Indie Insider: Smart Indie Publishing

    Instructor:  R. L. Syme

    October 5 - 30;  Fee:  $50

    Ever wished you could sit around with a bunch of successful indie authors, get the inside scoop, and ask your questions? You want to figure out where to go next, how to get yourself started, or maybe what it takes to jump to the "next level."

    Hearing author's experiences in context is important, but being able to formulate strategy based on those experiences is more important.

    Indie Insider will be full of stories from best-selling authors in multiple genres, talking about their ups and their not-so-ups. Then, we will dissect those stories and create strategies that can work for you.

    Indie Insider will cover all the major journey-to-indie basics: books, platforms, business models, marketing, sourcing, tracking, decisions, resources, goals... There will even be a session where you can ask any no-holds-barred questions, talk about what you've heard, and decipher what's myth and what's really possible.

    Each lesson will be loaded with inside information, including an interview with a best-selling indie or hybrid author (from the NYT to the USA to the international markets and digital platforms). Whether they went indie first, or published traditionally... whether they are hybrid or self-published... whether they distribute their own books or use aggregators... This business is big enough that everyone can chop a different path out of the same jungle.

    Author Interviews with:

         -- Lauren Royal

         -- Melinda Curtis

         -- Eliza Knight

         -- Kimberly Kincaid

         -- Cassandra Carr

         -- Ashley York

         -- Krystal Shannan

         -- Ciara Knight

         -- Keira Montclair

         -- Jennifer Delamere

         -- Amy Jarecki

    The goal of the class is to collate the information that's out there, add your unique personality and stage-in-life/career, and synthesize a strategy that makes the most sense for you and your journey. In short, to practice Smart Indie Publishing.

    Join best-selling indie author and certified development coach R.L. Syme for a four-week look at the smartest way for you to be your own publishing boss.

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

    Instructor: Elizabeth Essex

    Dates: Oct. 1 - 30;  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
  • October, 2015: Creating That Historical Feel

    Instructor:  Anne Mateer. B.A.

    October 5 - 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
  • October, 2015: Pinterest for Authors: Developing your Author Brand via Pinterest

    Instructor: Lana Pattinson

    October 5 - 30;  Fee:  $40

    Whether you are new to Pinterest or already have a personal account, we’ll discuss strategies for branding yourself as an author and developing your Author Platform.

    We’ll cover the following topics:

    • Why Pinterest?
      • We’ll find out why Pinterest is an important part of your Author Platform, and why & when it may be a better choice than Facebook or Twitter.
    • The Basics: Setting up your Account
      • Setting up your profile and creating key Boards
    • Pinterest as part of your Social Media plan and how to manage your time
      • What do you want to accomplish / Setting goals
    • Targeting your Audience
      • Let’s look at ways that we can define and appeal to your target audience
    • How to make a great Pin
      • What makes a great Pin
      • Tools and Programs you can use for creating Pinnable images
      • Important information to include when creating your Pins
    • Interacting on Pinterest
      • Purpose and how to use Group Boards
      • Other ways to interact on Pinterest (comments, likes, etc).
    • Nuts & Bolts: How to Pin, Whom to follow
      • How to Pin for maximum effect
      • Selecting the right people to follow
    • Analytics
    • At the end of the course, each participant will receive their choice of a 30 minute phone call or a one page review of your Pinterest account from Lana.
      • Using Pinterest Analytics to review and streamline your social media plan 

    Lana Pattinson

    Hi y’all! I’m a Marketing Consultant with expertise in Brand Planning and Social Media. For over 15 years I worked in the wine & spirits industry, marketing powerhouse brands globally such as The Macallan Scotch Whisky, Jacob’s Creek wines, and Kahlua Coffee Liqueur.

    I’ve lived all over: Ontario, Texas, Las Vegas, New York & Scotland. I have a BS in Business Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

    I write Young Adult Historical Fantasy, and am a Finalist in the 2015 Romance through the Ages Contest. I’m a member of RWA, YARWA, and CHRW.

    Currently, I live in Westchester County, New York with my husband, daughter, and furbaby. Connect with me via my website, LanaPattinson.com, where I blog about Books, Booze & Scotland. You can also find me on Pinterest or Twitter.

    Cheers! Lana

    View more information and enroll
  • October, 2015: Taming Twitter, and Facebook Too!

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    October 5 - 30;   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
  • Nov, 2015: How to Write Dialogue with a Psychological Punch

    November 2 - 30;  Fee:  $50

    Instructor:  Lisa WellsLisa Wells

    How to Write Dialogue with a Psychological Punch

    A proven way to improve any manuscript. 

    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
  • November, 2015: Crafting 3D Worlds on 2D Pages

    Marcus Smith, Head shotInstructor: Marcus Smith

    Dates: November 2 - 30; Fee: $50

    Whether you are writing urban fantasy or science fiction your characters live in, are defined by, and change their world.

     No matter how polished your prose, if the world you build around your characters lacks construction, compelling elements, and critical points of relatability, your audience will fail to connect, marooning your characters and keeping the reader from being hooked.

     This course teaches you how to write with a view of your world, so that every page of every scene comes alive. Whether it is a Denebian Brain Worm, a vampiric gaze, or a witch's spell, your writing will grip your reader and draw them into the fully three dimensional world your story deserves.

    We will cover:

    The nuts and bolts of imagining a rich intriguing world without going crazy!

     How to turn your world into 'frames' and 'lenses' which are slid into your scenes to add depth and texture and emotion.

     Character. Character. Character. How your POV and supporting cast work together to reveal your world in a consistent believable manner, with coverage of fish-out-of-water situations.

     Showing how the needs of your world can be the genesis of your villains to build obstacles that flow naturally from the setting and fuel your inspiration.

     Avoiding the pitfalls that have hit even best selling novelists as their worlds are stretched across a series.      

     Excited? Elated? Enthusiastic?

     Well get ready, because we're going to have a lot of fun together... This course will be taught with both traditional documents, lectures, media clips, interviews with well known authors and some up and comers, as well as podcasts with yours truly and surprise guests who will give you different perspectives on bring your writing to life.

     As a multi-immersioner, with the Margie seal of approval tattooed down the full length of my...arm...

     I've taught ages ranging from middle school through graduate school and everything from making homemade chocolate to Greek philosophy. And I look forward to working with each of you.

     As a participant in the course you will also receive a personal edit of five pages of your work with the possibility to earn more through participation. Details will be part of the first lesson.

     Now if you're ready, lets roll up our sleeves and get to work...we've got a world to build.

    Marcus Smith

    MK Smith, writes urban fantasy with attitude, telling stories filled with quirky imperfect characters trying to survive life, friendship, and each other. Part Choctaw, all storyteller, a neighbor taught him to love fantasy when she gave him his first book. Since then he has flown on dragons, carried baleful magic in faraway lands, fought supernatural powers, and lived the melancholy of the eternal elves. But the Fey are closest to his heart. And he loves telling their stories round the fire or at his keyboard late into the night. And he’ll keep telling those stories until he becomes a story himself.

    MK's first Urban Fantasy, Serena's Fall, where the combat boots are tight and the corset is tighter has just been released.

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/authormksmith

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authormksmith

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

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    November 2 - 30; 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
  • Nov, 2015: Virtues, Vices, and Plots!

    Instructor:  Sarah Hamer

    November 2 - 30;  Fee:  $50

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Instructor:  Julie RoweJulie Rowe

    November 2 - 30;  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
  • Nov, 2015: 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

    November 2 - 30;   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
  • Sept 21 - Dec 15, 2015: Fab 30-GT: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Class

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    Margie Lawson, head shot

    Sept 21 - Dec 15;  Fee:  $225

    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 to deep edit analyze 30 pages of your WIP?

    If so, this 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.

    What's Fab 30-GT?

    It's Fab 30, and more. GT stands for Get Tough.

    Fab 30-GT has some new components.

    -- You'll do more EDITS System highlighting and analysis.

    -- You'll have sample pages to Margie-ize -- and see if your deep edits match mine.

    -- You'll dig deeper into deep edit analyzing your chapters.

    -- You'll work harder.

    -- You'll make your writing stellar, stellar, stellar.

    Enrollment is limited to 30.

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

    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.  


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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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


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