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.

  • June, 2015: Five-Week First Draft

    Instructor:  Koreen Myers
    June 1-July 5 (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.

    View more information and enroll
  • June, 2015: 30 Days to a Stronger Novel

    Instructor: Lisa Wells

    June 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
  • June, 2015: Diving Deep into Deep Point of View

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    June 1 - 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
  • June, 2015: Screenwriting Strategies for Fiction Writers

    Instructor: Susie McCauley

    May 4 - 29;  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
  • June, 2015: Virtues and Vices and Plots!

    Instructor:  Sarah Hamer

    June 1 - 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
  • June, 2015: Taming Twitter, and Facebook Too!

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    June 1 - 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
  • May, 2015: Indie Insider: Smart Indie Publishing

    Instructor:  R. L. Syme

    May 4 - 29;  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

         -- Eliza Knight

         -- Kimberly Kincaid

         -- Cassandra Carr

         -- 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
  • May, 2015: Lights! Camera! TENSION!

    Instructor:  Sarah Hamer

    May 4 - 29;  Fee: $50

    What keeps us reading?  Is it the characters? (Maybe) Or the plot?  (Probably not)  Or the setting?  (Not!)

    I believe it's the tension.  It's the heart-racing, surprise-around-every-corner, what's-going-to-happen-next tension that keeps me turning that page, because tension belongs:

    ·        In every book

    ·        In every scene

    ·        On every page

    Without it, who cares?  The whole story falls flat.

    In this class, we'll drill deep to find exactly what creates tension in a scene or a character and we'll learn dozens of ways to make sure you'll use Margie's orange highlighter at all the right moments.

    These include:

    Tension through dialogue and subtext

    Tension through goals and conflict

    Tension between characters' agendas

    Tension within the characters

    Tension in the pacing - too much is just as bad as too little

    When we're done, you'll have a whole toolbox full of ways to add tension to your story - so that your reader won't be able to put it down.

    Sarah (Sally) Hameris 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
  • May, 2015: It's All About Character: Using Character Themed Words

    Instructor: Elizabeth Essex

    Dates: May, 2015; 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
  • 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
  • April, 2015: Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

    Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

    April 5 - May 31;   Fee: $90

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How to tackle a first read:

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

    How to tackle  the second read:

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

    Third read focuses on:

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

    And so much more!

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

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

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

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


    View more information and enroll
  • Jan-April, 2015: Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Course

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    January 19 - April 20:  Fee: $175

    Three Prerequisites, Online Courses or Lecture Packets:

    1. Empowering Characters' Emotions

    2. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More

    3. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist

    Do you want to dig deep into deep editing?

    Do you want to work in an advanced class with all multi-Margie-grads?

    Do you want Margie's Deep Edit Analysis for 30 pages of your WIP?

    If so, this squeal-it's-a-deal class is for you!

    Lectures will be short, compared to Margie's other courses. Emphasis is on applying deep editing to your WIP.

    We'll focus on making each word, line, sentence, paragraph, page, and scene provide a clear, smooth, empowered read.

    Enrollment is limited to 30.

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

    View more information and enroll