Welcome to Lawson Writer's Academy!

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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.

  • Sept/Oct, 2016: Five-Week First Draft

    Instructor:  Koreen Myers

    Sept. 26 - Oct. 31; Fee: $75

     "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 channeling internal motivation, setting realistic goals, 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 opening chapters, creating conflict and the inciting incident.
    • Week 3--Writing time (develop from first plot point to the mid-plot point). Focus will be on attacking writer's block, creating effective turning points and avoiding saggy middles.
    • Week 4--Writing time (develop from mid point to the climax). Focus will be on balancing elements, pacing and enhancing themes.
    • Week 5--Writing time (develop from the climax to the grande finale). Focus will be on creating a satisfying climax and a strong ending. We'll celebrate our successes and plan for next month's goals. 

    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 storyline, leaving out subplots and lavish details. This goal is to get the basic story on paper.

    "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 education 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.

    View more information and enroll
  • Oct, 2016: Diving Deep into Deep Point of View

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    Oct. 3 - 31; Fee: $75

    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.

    View more information and enroll
  • Oct, 2016: The BrainMap: Create Intricate Plots and Unforgettable Characters

    Instructor: Shirley Jump, NYT Bestseller

    October 3 - 30;  Fee: $75


    Editors love books that are character driven and have layered plots. Learn how to create novels with plots created by the characters themselves, using Shirley Jump’s Brainmap Technique, giving a stronger, more powerful--and more emotional story.

    If you're stuck in your writing, needing inspiration or just want to learn more about developing characters and developing a multi-layered plot, you'll get the boost you need with this interactive class with New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump!

    In this class, students will build a book, one element at a time, and learn how to employ this technique with their own work. Homework will be assigned, and feedback given, to help students utilize these new techniques to create richer characters and stronger plots.

    Shirley Jump 

    New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump has written more than 50 novels for Berkley, Harlequin, Entangled, and Kensington books. A frequent speaker both in the United States and abroad, Shirley's diverse career has spanned two decades. She has won numerous awards, and she's been nominated multiple times for the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice award. The first book in her series with Berkley, The Sweetheart Bargain, recently received a Top Pic from Romantic Times. 

    Check out the BUZZ about Shirley Jump's novels:

    "Sweet is the word for this anthology from four top Kensington writers...Jump's office romance gives the collection a kick, with fiery writing." -- Publishers Weekly 

    4 1/2 Stars, "With Jump's trademark comedic touch, readers are treated to a well-crafted story about what it means to come home to face yourself and your past. The main characters are sympathetic and intelligent, and the narrative is constantly smooth and compelling." -- Romantic Times Book Reviews 

    View more information and enroll
  • Oct, 2016: Disasters & Doctors; Wars & Warriors – Writing Thrillers and Other Dangerous Novels

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    October 1 - 30:  Fee: $60

    Disasters & Doctors; Wars & Warriors – Writing Thrillers and Other Dangerous Novels 

    Whether it’s a romantic suspense, thriller or crime novel writing books with a dangerous edge have their own pros and pitfalls. Julie Rowe, author of the military thriller Biological Response Team series, will explore with participants the following topics:

    1. Basic elements of a dangerous novel – what makes them different from other genres for good or ill.
    2. Finding your focus – narrowing down your subgenre of dangerous novel to give you a solid base on which to build your novel.
    3. Who’s driving this run-away train? Plot driven, character driven or event driven – Options for how you develop your novel.
    4. Character archetypes – the good, the bad and the ugly and why you need all three.
    5. How did we get here? Using setting to its fullest.
    6. Wars, disasters and other bad luck – using traumatic events to supercharge the thrill.
    7. Research – how real does your novel need to be?
    8. Writing an outline that works…for you.
    9. Sing loud and proud – turning up the volume on your writing voice.
    10. Writing that first page – where to start your story.
    11. BONUS: Outline and first five page critique – for all participants.


    Julie Rowe

    Full-time author and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she still resides (despite a wildfire forcing the entire city to evacuate on May 3, 2016). Julie’s debut novel, Icebound, was released by Carina Press on Nov 14, 2011. Ten novels and eight anthologies have followed. Her most recent titles are the MEN OF ACTION boxed set and VIRAL JUSTICE book #3 of the Biological Response Team series. Julie’s articles have appeared in magazines, such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today's Parent magazine and Canadian Living.

    Julie facilitates communication workshops at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, and has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and Canada. She’s also a strong supporter of life long learning and moderates a free announcement loop for the promotion of online classes, workshops and webinars.

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


    View more information and enroll
  • Oct, 2016: How to Write Dialogue with a Psychological Punch

    October 3 - 30;  Fee:  $60

    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
  • Oct, 2016: Queries That Sell, and More!

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

    Dates: Oct. 3 - 30;  Fee: $50

    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, RITA winner, 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
  • Oct, 2016: Sticky Newsletters
    Instructor:  R.L. Syme
    Oct. 3 - 30;  Fee:  $50
    Sticky Newsletters
    bzz-bzz Newsletters bzz-bzz - 
    That tends to be the white noise around the author water cooler these days. Everyone wants to know how to make newsletters work for them.
      -- What makes a good one?
      -- How do you start one?
      -- What is the purpose of having one? 
    bzz Newsletter bzz
    In Sticky Author Newsletters, we will answer all these questions and address the newsletter buzz, and more. A newsletter is the most important marketing tool you'll have. Making people open it and read it is the most important job of a good newsletter.
    Make it stick. We want newsletters to be sticky (i.e. to get the content to be memorable, engaging, clickable, worth investment of a reader's time) and we want them to stick--to stay. And to grow. 
    Together, we will:
    * explore different email newsletter providers and what their benefits are (so you can choose one)
    * examine successful author newsletters... how they're constructed, what they're doing that works
    * delve into the theory of "stickiness" and discover how to apply that theory to author newsletters
    * discover tips to build and grow a newsletter platform
    * crucify some newsletter and marketing myths
    * create a strategy for success for your personal platform
    Sticky Newsletters is great for newly published or soon-to-be-published authors and for multi-published authors with a platform who are looking to grow. Included in the fee is an optional evaluation of your current newsletter (if you have one). 
    Learn how to make newsletters and mailing lists fan-driven, engagement-oriented, and time-productive. In other words, worth your while and worth your fans' time. In other, other words: FUN and MEMORABLE.
    R.L. Syme, MATL, is a former communications specialist with an emphasis in social media who has written newsletters for organizations and authors for more than ten years. She holds degrees in literature, writing, and leadership, and has consulted and taught nationally on Communication Strategies, Leadership and Self-Leadership, Organizational Communication, Independent Publishing, and New Media.
    She is currently working on the fifth book in her best-selling Highland Renegades series, and the third in a best-selling continuity boxed set of contemporary romance with four other authors, set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her online at: http://rlsyme.com

    View more information and enroll
  • Oct, 2016: Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts

    Instructor:  Margie Lawson

    Dates:  October 1 - 30;  Fee: $75

    Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts

    This workshop teaches writers the importance of including visceral responses when emotions run high, and how to write them fresh. Topics include:

    -- The full range of visceral responses

    -- Writing fresh

    -- Placement in scene

    -- Motivation Reaction Units

    -- Using the Four Levels of Powering Up Emotion

    -- How to crescendo emotion

    -- Stimulus/response patterns

    -- Overwriting and underwriting

    -- Cliché twists and cliche play

    -- How to hook your reader viscerally.

    Multiple teaching points will be provided. Examples of visceral responses will be dissected and analyzed. 

    View more information and enroll
  • Nov, 2016: The Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis

    Instructor: Suzanne Purvis

    Nov. 1 - 30:  Fee:  $75

    The Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis

    You’re in need of a synopsis. I can hear the moans and groans echo through cyberspace.

    But do not fear.

    This class is here to help you . . .

     * give your synopsis the attention it deserves.

    * learn what to include and what to avoid in a synopsis. 

    * create a synopsis showcasing your best writing. 

    * add the intriguing emotional twists of your novel to the synopsis.

    * fill your synopsis with your unique writer’s voice.

    * give clarity, succinctness, and pizazz to your synopsis.

    The goal of this class through lessons, assignments, and plenty of feedback is for you to come away with a sizzling, scintillating synopsis. A synopsis that will get the attention of an agent, editor, contest judge and prove you’re a professional and talented story teller.

    No more moaning.

    Sign up. 

    Learn how to create a stellar synopsis.     

    The BUZZ from The Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis Grads:

    Suzanne helped me break down the synopsis into easily digestible parts, which prevents the overwhelm that so often accompanies writing one. Even just reading the forum responses and watching how she tightens language to achieve maximum impact, has been a godsend. I've waited for this course from Margie's site for over a year, and it was well worth the wait.

    Great support, advice re tightening, adding voice and power and emotion. No one likes writing synopses but this class made it not only manageable but fun.
    The lessons gave us a step by step blueprint, and the amazing help and personalized instruction made a seeming impossible task doable.
    Writing a synopsis can feel overwhelming, but this class transforms a daunting class into a step-by-step highlight of the plot and character growth.
    Awesome class. Suzanne is an excellent teacher and guide, very patient, very supportive and always spot-on with her suggestions.
    I now have two kick-A synopses (a longer and a shorter one) which make me super-happy.

    Suzanne Purvis is a transplanted Canadian living in the Deep South, where she traded “eh” for “y’all.” An author of long, short, and flash fiction for both children and adults, she has won several awards including those sponsored by the University of Toronto, RWA, Bethlehem Writer’s Roundtable, and Women Who Write. You can find her work in print anthologies, magazines, ezines, and ebooks. 

    Suzanne also teaches Revision Bootcamp

    The Buzz from her Revision Bootcamp students:

    "Being part of a group like this helps to keep me focused and motivated. Suzanne structured the class in such a way that I was accountable for making and meeting my goals. Plus, the level of support from her and my classmates was great!"

    "I loved the camaraderie between the writers, the positive support Suzanne provided, and the feeling that I was part of an encouraging community."

    "A great supportive environment to share your weekly goals and achievements, a place to spark ideas and discover new resources, a forum for giving and receiving feedback on problem areas in your WIP. Suzanne provides excellent tips and links to other resources, and superb critiques, advice and support for everyone in class."
    "I've loved this class. I think this is the most I've got out of a online class, ever!"

    Suzanne is teaching REVISION BOOTCAMP again in September.

    Visit Suzanne at:



    Facebook, Amazon Author’s Central


    View more information and enroll
  • Nov, 2016: Navigating the Tightrope between Historical Fact and Historical Fiction

    Instructor:  Anne MateerAnne Mateer, head shot

    November 1 - 30;  Fee: $50

    Course Description

    Navigating the Tightrope between Historical Fact and Historical Fiction
    Writing historical fiction can be tricky. It involves both imagination and fact, two things which don’t always play well together. Our creativity can wreak havoc on fact, confusing (or infuriating!) our readers. Or our facts can overwhelm our imagined story, giving readers the feel they are reading for school rather than escape. 
    Good historical fiction walks a tightrope between these two extremes. Whether in setting or characters, in clothing or lifestyle or modes of transportation, the historical novel must convey a sense of history while at the same time giving the reader an enjoyable and plausible story in which to get lost. 
    In this class, we will discuss the precarious dance between fact and fiction, including: 
    • The continuum of possibilities between fictional fact and fully fiction.
    • Understanding the big picture of your historical setting.
    • Discovering daily life realities from the time period that can enhance and fuel your story.
    • Adding customs or culture from your time period to augment both the historical feel and the plot.
    • Using both real and imagined characters.
    • How vocabulary contributes to the reader’s historical experience.
    • The art of putting all the pieces together to craft an accessible and believable work of historical fiction. 
    Come join us as we research, discuss, and write stories that carry our readers to ages past. 
    (This class was formerly titled Creating That Historical Feel)

    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
  • Nov, 2016: Power Up Your Setting

    Instructor:  Rhay Christou, MFA

    Nov. 1 - 30;  Fee:  $70

    Strong setting is one of the most underutilized tools in the writer’s toolbox. It's more than just the varied landscape of where a story takes place. Strong setting does double and even triple duty to bring the world, the characters, and even the story to life.

    In Power Up Your Setting, we’ll look deeper than just a list of adjectives and descriptors to describe place. We'll dive into the three layers of setting developmental to take our setting from a place on the page to an active part of the story.

    In this course we’ll:

      • Explore the layers and sub layers of setting
      • Discover where, how, and when to use active setting to set the stage and anchor readers
      • Explore weaving setting through a scene
      • Make your setting mean more by developing emotional connections
      • Chose and use specific details to give meaning to story and develop character
      • Carry through details to empower setting
      • Develop story mood and promise
      • Use setting details to deepen character and emotional state of mind
      • Weave together tension and setting for an unbeatable combination
      • Explore the fine art of subtext and how setting can strengthen subtext
      • Use setting to advance plot

    Power Up Your Setting is packed with lectures, assignments, and opportunities to discuss, share, and explore. This hands-on course will help you take your story's setting from mundane place-inclusion to an integral part that can't be skipped.

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

    I teach three other courses online for Lawson Writer's Academy:

    1. Create Compelling Characters

    2. From Blah to Beats: Giving Your Chapter a Heart

    3. Diving Deep Into Deep POV

    4. Diving Deep Into Developmental Edits

    View more information and enroll
  • Sept, 2016: Story Structure Safari

    Lisa Miller, Head shotInstructor:  Lisa Miller

    September 1 - 30;  Fee: $90

    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
  • Sept. 2016: Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

    Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

    September 1 - October 30;   Fee: $140

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How to tackle a first read:

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

    How to tackle  the second read:

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

    Third read focuses on:

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

    And so much more!

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

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

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

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


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  • Sept, 2016: Revision Boot Camp or Revision Retreat: You Decide

    Instructor: Suzanne Purvis

    Sept. 1 - Sept 30;  Fee: $50

    Revision Boot Camp or Revision Retreat: You Decide

    You’ve got that first draft done or almost done. Or maybe you’re on your 2nd, 3rd, or LAST revision and you’re working toward the finish line.

    You’re ready for REVISION BOOTCAMP.

    Sign up. 

    Get your marching orders.

    Working with other recruits attack your revisions. 

    Or. . .

     Maybe you’re looking for a REVISION RETREAT.

    Sign up and escape.

    Be inspired to increase your creativity and productivity.

    Engage with other creative souls and watch your revision dreams soar.


    You decide.Revision Boot Camp or Revision Retreat. 


    Whichever you choose, be ready for daily support, accountability, check-ins, revision lessons, plenty of camaraderie, inspiration, and productivity. No more writer’s solitary confinement.

    Set GOALS. For the month, the week, the day. And then. . .


    Novel, short stories, query, synopsis. Your choice. Your goals.

    And you can. . .

    Visit our virtual Coffee Shop to share accomplishments.

    Sit down with a virtual latte. Share your gold star accomplishments, including daily goals achieved, contest entries, contest wins, agent submissions and signings, publications, etc. Join your classmates for a cup o joe and cheer each other’s big and small wins which can spur your own goals and ideas. 

     Visit our Martini Mind Bar to brainstorm.

    Order a virtual martini. Throw out your questions to your bar mates and brainstorm. Hop onto a stool, share a drink, and help out a writer in need. Creativity feeds creativity.

    Visit our Wine Bar to . . .  well . . . whine.

    Having a bad day? Not meeting your goals? Your mother-in-law showed up and she’s eating into your revision time?

    Sit down, relax, order a chardonnay and whine. Rants are welcome too. No judgment. Grab a glass of merlot and commiserate.

     Visit our Critique Cafe to get help.

    Do you have a description that you fear may be too flowery?

    Have some dialogue you want to run by someone else’s ear?

    Are you re-writing and re-writing and re-writing the same page? Maybe the first page? To help you move on, pop in, order a virtual sandwich, and post a piece of your work for a critique from me and your fellow classmates.

    As a critique buddy, come on in and offer a fresh set of eyes. Just remember the Critiquing Golden Rule: critique how you’d like to be critiqued, fair and honest and kind.

    So what are you waiting for. Sign up.

    Become inspired to focus on your writing and revision.

    To commit. To prioritize. To accomplish more.  

    Thirty days filled with writing support, camaraderie, and learning, all to ensure your writing and revision goals become a reality.

    Suzanne Purvisis a transplanted Canadian living in the Deep South, where she traded “eh” for “y’all.” An author of long, short, and flash fiction for both children and adults, she has won several awards including those sponsored by the University of Toronto, RWA, Bethlehem Writer’s Roundtable, and Women Who Write. You can find her work in print anthologies, magazines, ezines, and ebooks. Visit her at www.suzannepurvis.com , www.suzannepurvis.blogspot.comFacebook, Amazon Author’s Central.


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