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.

  • 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: Crafting 3D Worlds on 2D Pages

    Marcus Smith, headshotInstructor: Marcus Smith

    November 1 - 30;  Fee: $75

    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
  • Nov, 2016: Battling the Basics: The Essentials of Writing

    Instructor: Sarah Hamer

    Nov. 1 - 30;  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
  • 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
  • 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 - Jan, 2016-17: Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Class

    FAB 30 IS FULL!

    Lots of other smart Lawson Writer's Academy classes. 

    Check them out!

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    Nov. 1 - Jan 31:  Fee: $200

    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
  • Oct, 2016: Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts

    Instructor:  Margie Lawson

    Dates:  October 3 - 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