Welcome to Lawson Writer's Academy!

Jump to Course List

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.

  • July, 2016: Five-Week First Draft

    Instructor:  Koreen Myers

    July 18 - August 21; 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
  • July, 2016 Author Branding

    Instructor: Lana Pattinson

    July 5 - 31; Fee: $50

    Have you ever thought…gosh, that author looks so put together. Everything matches on her website and social media, and she stands out from the crowd. Branding for Authors is a mixture of career planning and marketing. Of defining yourself, and what you offer to your readers. Each week will have a lecture and assignment(s) to complete, with feedback from the instructor and the rest of the class. You’ll finish this class with a clear understanding of your brand, what you stand for, and how you can leverage your messaging to reach your target audience.

     

    WHAT THIS COURSE WILL COVER:

        • What is a brand and why is it important?
        • Defining yourself through branding
        • The 3 phases of brand building
        • Developing your visual brand guidelines
        • Visual tools for branding consistently across multiple social media channels

    *Please note: this course walks you through strategic thinking and offers exercises to define your brand. It does not include tactical specifics (e.g. which social media channels to use or how to refresh your author website).

     

    LANA PATTINSON

    Hi y’all! I’m a Marketing Consultant with expertise in Brand Planning and Social Media. For over 15 years I’ve 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 YA Historical Fantasy. 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
  • July, 2016: Crafting 3D Worlds on 2D Pages

    Instructor: Marcus Smith

    July 5 - 30; Fee: $65

    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 how to bring your writing to life.

    Every participant in the course will 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.

    Let's 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.

    He's a multi-immersioner, with Margie Lawson's seal of approval tattooed down the full length of his arm.

    MK's first Urban Fantasy was released in 2015:  Serena's Fall, where the combat boots are tight and the corset is tighter.

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/authormksmith

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


    View more information and enroll
  • July, 2016: Battling the Basics: The Essentials of Writing

    Instructor: Sarah Hamer

    July 5 - 31;  Fee: $50

    A mechanic doesn't pop the hood for the first time and immediately know what's wrong with the car.  A pilot doesn't slide into the cockpit without logging the required hours of training. A master author doesn't magically hit the bestseller lists.

    A master author knows the basics. And there are a lot of basics to master.

    Writing is work. You’ve heard the saying, “You have to learn the rules to break them.” Cliché or not, good writers understand the basics. They know how to write tight. They know how to write strong. They know how to write compelling, powerful stories.

    In this class, dig deep into realistic and driven dialogue.  Discover the impact of a clearly written setting. Explore character, conflict, and story arc. Learn how to use plot, placing, and tension to propel your story forward.

    Writing is work. But writing can also be fun. Join me in Battling the Basics and take the first step toward seeing your name on the bestseller list.

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

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

     

    View more information and enroll
  • July, 2016: Power Up Your Setting

    Instructor:  Rhay Christou, MFA

    July 5 - 31;  Fee:  $75

    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

    My first novel, I Do Not will be released in 2016.


    View more information and enroll
  • June, 2016: From Blah to Beats: Giving Your Chapters a Pulse

    From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Pulse

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    June 1 - 30;  Fee: $75

    Hi Y'all.

    You know the theory, read the books and have taken the classes. But still get critique group, agent, or editor comments that something is off. The chapter doesn't work. The scene doesn't come alive. The conflict is bland. The story is too small. You're still not jumping the hurdle from working hard and getting where you want to go.

    Now is the time to make the theory work for you!

    Giving Chapters a Pulse will drive your focus deep into your and chapters. Fourteen-plus short, practical lessons will give you opportunity to:

    ·         Develop chapter focus

    ·         Create specific author goals for each chapter.

    ·         Develop specific character/s' chapter goals.

    ·         Understand the difference between author goals and character goals.

    ·         Develop secondary characters story arch through their actions and their words.

    ·         Develop deep character/s that are motivated to take charge.

    ·         Develop a story voice that is rich and full of life.

    ·         Create dialog that can't be cut.

    ·         Drive your narrative forward with action and conflict that builds tension.

    ·         Create compelling chapter hooks and endings that make the readers want more.

    ·         Leave out the blah and make your chapter a lean and mean beating heart.

    ·         Bring life to the surroundings as integral part of a chapter rather than a background chunk that can be skimmed.

    ·         Weave in relevant back-story and leave out the extra.

    ·         Nix the head hopping and the telling when you should be showing.

    In this four week course, an abundance of learning opportunities will promote discussion and give you plenty of opportunity to learn from each. Submitting work will allow you to put the theory to work and benefit from classmates feedback. And as a multi-Margie grad with a masters in writing from Vermont College, I'll also be digging deep to help you pull out your best work.

    Hope to see you in class,

    Rhay Christou:

    The two things I love most in the world are teaching and creative writing. With my MFA in writing from Vermont College , I have had the great fortune to combine the two. Since graduating I’ve taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level as well as writing workshop on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece and in the USA.  

      


    View more information and enroll
  • June, 2016: Writing Compelling Scenes

    Instructor: Shirley Jump

    June 1 - 30:  Fee:  $75

    WRITING COMPELLING SCENES:

    Are your scenes blah instead of blockbuster? Do they lag in the middle, or fall flat at the end? In this month-long intensive online class, you'll learn how to:

    Beef up your scenes

    Add more conflict

    Use every scene to raise the stakes

    Strengthen characterization

    Show instead of tell for maximum bang

    Work with hooks to keep readers turning the pages

    Tighten your pacing

    Create scenes that are unforgettable and powerful

    In this interactive class, you'll learn how to edit your own scenes and take them from okay to amazing. In-depth analysis of scenes that work will be part of the class, as will revision of students' current work. Class will also offer hands-on critiques from the instructor, New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump.

    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
  • June, 2016: How to Write Dialogue with a Psychological Punch

    June 1 - 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

    www.lisawellsauthor.com


    View more information and enroll
  • June, 2016: Pinterest for Authors: Developing your Author Brand via Pinterest

    Instructor: Lana Pattinson

    June 1 - 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
      • 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
  • June, 2016: Virtues, 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
  • May, 2016: Revision Boot Camp or Revision Retreat: You Decide

    Instructor: Suzanne Purvis

    May 16 - June 15;  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. . .

    REVISE. REVISE. REVISE.

    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.

     


    View more information and enroll
  • May, 2016: "No One Gets Me!": Writing Believable YA Characters

    Instructor:  Julie GloverJulie Glover, head shot

    May 2 - 30 ;  Fee: $50

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

    It's so much more!

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


    View more information and enroll
  • May, 2016: Create Compelling Characters

    Rhay ChristouInstructor: Rhay Christou

    May 2 - 31;  Fee:  $75

    Create Compelling Characters

    Depending on who you ask, there are 2, 4, 7, 9 or 13 different plots for a writer to use. Regardless of who you believe, with a finite number of what can happen, you'd better a find a way to a make your story stand out among the mass.

    And there is no better to draw your readers in that than by creating compelling characters.

    Panster, plotter, or follow the whisperer, regardless of how you get that first draft, second draft, third draft on the page, at some point you'll need to dive into the skin of your character.

    In Create Compelling Characters, we do just that. With hands on behind the scene tips on how to writers explore characters, you'll get to know your characters better than you ever thought possible. With practical exercises exploring the psychic distance between story and reader, we'll explore a multitude of ways to draw your reader in closer to your story and your characters.

    In this course we will

    • ·    Delve deep into the protagonist's and antagonist's histories
    •      External goals
    •      Internal goals
    •      Conflicts
    •      Motivating factors of behavior.
    •      Core beliefs and behavior
    •      Defining moments

    ·         Give a reader the reason to care

    ·         Develop character's fatal flaw

    ·         Get to know character's psychological levels

    ·         Develop personalities.

    ·         Discover character voice and infuse our scenes with voice

    ·         Exercise our abilities to pull close to characters

    ·         Explore secondary characters archetypes and springboard beyond to go beyond stock, forgettable, supporting cast.

    ·         Develop secondary character story arcs and contradictions

    ·         Develop our use of secondary characters to support and highlight primary character.

    ·         Analyze how published authors reveal character on every page of manuscript.

    ·         Revise, reshape and bring out characters, scenes and chapters.

    In this four week course, an abundance of learning opportunities will promote discussion and give you plenty of opportunity to learn from each other. Submitting work will allow you to put the theory to work and benefit from classmates feedback. And as a multi-Margie grad with a masters in writing from Vermont College, I'll also be digging deep to help you pull out your best work.

    Hope to see you in class,

    Rhay Christou:

    The two things I love most in the world are teaching and creative writing. With my MFA in writing from Vermont College, I have had the great fortune to combine the two. Since graduating I’ve taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level as well as writing workshop on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece and in the USA.  

    Currently represented by Pam van Hylckam Vlieg at Forward Literary, and my first novel, I DO NOT will be released in May of 2016 by Spencer Hill.  

     


    View more information and enroll
  • May, 2016: A Deep Editing Guide to Make Your Openings Pop

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    May 2 - 28;  Fee: $75

    Two Prerequisites:

    1. Empowering Characters' Emotions

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

    You can meet the prerequisites with the Lecture Packets for both courses. They're available through Paypal from Margie's web site.

    This class is about openings. All your openings, not just the first opening in your book.

    The opening of your first chapter needs to carry powerful content, and powerful structure and style.

    The opening of every scene and every chapter needs to hook the reader with content and structure and style too.

    This course covers:

    -- what the reader needs in the first few paragraphs

    -- the two promises writers give readers on the first page

    -- strategic use of Margie's deep editing techniques and systems, including:

    -- the EDITS System

    -- power words and backloading

    -- ten cadence-driven rhetorical devices

    -- scene-themed, character-themed, and emotion-themed words

    -- objective constructs

    -- linear load issues

    -- style and structure

    Margie-Grads may know most of Margie's deep editing techniques. In this class they'll learn how to pull them together and make their openings smooth and compelling.

    Margie Lawson—psychotherapist, editor, and international presenter – developed psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques used by new writers to multi-award winning authors. She teaches writers how to add psychological power to create page turners.

    In the last eight years Margie presented over ninety full day Master Classes for writers. She taught her psychologically-anchored deep editing to over six thousand writers across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

    Writers who have studied her material credit her innovative editing approaches with taking their writing several levels higher—to publication, awards, and bestseller lists.

    To learn about Margie’s 4-day Immersion Master Classes at her home near Denver (and in St. Louis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Antonio, Seattle, and on Whidbey Island), full day Master Class presentations, online course schedule, Lecture Packets, and newsletter, visit: www.MargieLawson.com.


    View more information and enroll
  • May, 2016: Queries That Sell, and More!

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

    Dates: May 2 - 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.

    Congratulations!

    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
  • May, 2016: 30 Days to a Stronger Novel

    Instructor: Lisa WellsLisa Wells head shot

    May 2 - 31;  Fee: $50

    "CHANGE IS SUCH HARD WORK..." BILLY CRYSTAL

    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

    www.lisawellsauthor.com


    View more information and enroll