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.

  • September, 2014: Mastering the Synopsis

    Instructor:  Jennifer ArcherJennifer Archer, book signing, June, 2014

    Sept. 1 - 26;   Fee: $50


    Mastering the Synopsis

    If you're tired of sending out your book proposal to agents & editors or the media and hearing, "Thanks, but no thanks," then this is the course for you.

    Everyone will receive feedback from the instructor on their synopsis.

    You'll learn:

    -- What a synopsis should be as opposed to what you probably think it is.

    -- The main thing agents & editors look for in a synopsis.

    -- How to write your synopsis in a way that will make agents/editors want to read your book.

    -- How to find your story's hook.

    -- The importance of conveying the tone of your book in your synopsis & how to do so.

    -- How to use turning points to structure the synopsis.

    -- And MORE...

    Jennifer Archer’s novels have been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Rita Award and Romantic Times Bookclub’s Reviewer’s Choice Award.

    In 2013, the Texas Library Association selected her debut young adult novel, Through Her Eyes, for their first Spirit of Texas Reading Program – Middle School, and for the TAYSHAS High School reading list. Her most recent novel, The Shadow Girl, has been optioned for film.  

    Jennifer enjoys teaching creativity and creative writing workshops. She is on the faculty for the Writer's Academy at West Texas A&M University.  She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs. You can visit Jennifer online at jenniferarcher.com.


    View more information and enroll
  • September, 2014: From Homeroom to Last Bell: The Hero’s Journey in YA Fiction

    Instructors: Linda Gerber and Jennifer McAndrews

    September 1 - 30;   Fee:  $50

    What do a jock, a burnout, a geek and a princess have in common? They can each fill a character archetype as found within the YA heroine's journey. Take the journey with us and learn to identify the twelve basic steps of the journey, the routes teens tend to take, and the archetypes met along the way.  Incorporating these steps in your own work will assure that it includes the elements that have marked strong fiction since the first story was told.

    The following books and films will be referenced and analyzed to illustrate the examples of the hero's journey steps in the teen world.

    Films:

    -- Mulan
    -- What a Girl Wants
    -- Mean Girls
    -- Tangled

    Books:

    -- Girl of Fire and Thorns
    -- The Giver
    -- The Maze Runner
    -- Across the Universe
    -- The Fault in Our Stars

    Other books and films may be used to elaborate concepts but they will not be deeply analyzed:

    -- Star Wars (film)
    -- The Wizard of Oz (film)
    -- Divergent (book)
    -- Juno (film)
    -- She's the Man (film)
    -- Hunger Games (film)

    Yes, there will be homework. No, grades will not be entered onto your permanent record.

    Jennifer McAndrews is a 2010 Golden Heart Finalist® in the Young Adult category and a two-time Daphne du Maurier finalist for her work in mystery. She is the author of three novels and a is contributor to the young adult anthology Eternal Spring. She has been involved in scientific and academic publishing for longer than she likes to admit and spent several years as a staff teacher/trainer and in staff support and instruction presenting both new and existing concepts and procedures to her peers. A lifelong resident of New York, Jennifer is a frequent contest judge and coordinator and has presented a number of workshops for local and online writing groups.

    Linda Gerberis the author of ten books, including the best-selling DEATH BY BIKINI MYSTERIES series. Her books have been honored as ALA Popular Paperback picks, Junior Library Guild selections, and Women's Sports Foundation and Literacy Lab recommended reads. Linda has served as the Regional Advisor for the Tokyo chapter of the SCBWI, and teaches writing workshops online and on location. She currently lives and writes and devours sushi in Shibuya, Japan.


    Book and films that may be used to elaborate on concepts but will not be deeply analyzed:

    Divergent (book)

    Juno (film)

    She’s the Man (film)

    Hunger Games (film)


    View more information and enroll
  • September, 2014: Story Structure Safari

    Instructor: Lisa Miller

    Sept. 1 - 30, 2014;  Fee: $50

    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, 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
  • September, 2014: Submissions That Sell!

    Instructor: Laura Drake, 2014 RITA Winner!

    Dates:  Sept. 1 - 26;  Fee: $40

    Submissions That Sell!

    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, 2014 RITA Winner for Best First Novel, doesn't take 'no' for an answer. When she queried her first manuscript, she sent it to 170 agents, and received 170 rejections. After a total of three novels, and 391 queries, the 392nd turned out to be a charm. In June of 2011, she scored an agent -- Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill and Associates.

    In December of that same year, she sold a 3 book deal to Grand Central. The first, The Sweet Spot, was released in May of 2013.  She has since sold her 'biker-chick' romance, Her Road Home, to Harlequin's Superromance line. It was released in early August, 2013.

    In March, 2013, Laura nailed a contract for three more Superromances. In 15 months she sold seven books.

    She's a member of the Orange County Chapter, as well as a former President of RWA's Women's Fiction Chapter.

    Visit Laura's web site

    Visit the Writers in the Storm Blog


    View more information and enroll
  • September, 2014: Getting Serious About Writing a Series

    Learn the musts of writing a series!

    Instructor: Lisa Wells

    September 1- 26;   Fee:  $40

    Getting Serious About Writing a Series

    In this course, you will design your series bible, create the eleven items it must include (listed below), and learn series-writing tips from award-winning authors, including

    Bella Andre

    Romily Bernard

    Laura Bradford

    Allison Brennan

    Diana Cosby

    Vicky Dreiling

    Angie Fox

    Adrienne Giordano

    Diana Groe

    Charlotte Hubbard

    Darynda Jones

    Kieran Kramer

    C.J. Lyons

    Shirley Jump

    Brenda Novak

    Pamela Palmer

    Robin Perini

    Bonnie Ramthun

    Renee Ryan

    Jeanne Stein

    Joan Swan

    1. Story structure. Learn how to shape your story and series for the best fit.

    2. Specification of your story's use of time. Do your books have a clock that ticks backward as well as forward?

    3. Series connection plan. Don't leave the way your books are going to connect to chance. Study and seize a style that will keep readers coming back for more.

    4. Rules. Boundaries. Limitations. Whatever you call them, you must set them before you write your series. If you don't, you risk your books becoming a joke.

    5. A personalized contract. You will need one to keep you on track for deadlines.

    6. Record of how your series will end. Stimulating ideas for the end of your series is important. Even if you're a pantser, you need to know how your series could finish with a boom.

    7. Opening scene - script it until it's perfect.

    8. Plot possibilities. There is a smorgasbord of ways you can develop plot ideas. Your bible should include pages for you to track your ideas for the books as well as the series.

    9. Develop you elevator pitch for your first book.

    10. Develop your elevator pitch for your series.

    11. Develop your series paragraph for your query letter.

    12. Synopsis. If an agent requests a synopsis, and it's almost guaranteed they will, learn how to create one without going insane.

    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 to teach at Lawson Writer's Academy.

    Twitter @lisawells1

    www.lisawellsauthor.com 


    View more information and enroll
  • September, 2014: Virtues and Vices and Plots!

    Instructor:  Sarah Hamer

    Sept. 1 - 26;  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
  • September, 2014: From Blah to Beats: Giving Your Chapters a Pulse

    From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Pulse

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    September 1 - 30;  Fee: $50

    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.  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
  • October, 2014: 30 Days to a Stronger Novel

    Instructor: Lisa Wells

    October 1 -  30;  Fee: $40

    "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
  • October, 2014: Taming Twitter, and Facebook too! How YOU can use Twitter to market and promote yourself.

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    Oct. 6 - 31;   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
  • October, 2014: Create Compelling Characters

    Instructor: Rhay Christou

    Oct. 1st - 31st;  Fee:  $50

    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're going to want to step back from plot and dive into the skin of your character.

    In Creating 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

    ·         Develop specific consist character behavior

    ·         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's Bio:

    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
  • October, 2014: Creating That Historical Feel

    Instructor:  Anne Mateer

    May 5 - 30;  Fee: $50

    Course Description

    Writing historical fiction involves more than dressing your characters in vintage clothing. It requires building an entire historical world which transports your readers to another time and place. Sound daunting? Not really. A little bit of research can go a long way if you know the kinds of things to look for.
    In this four week course, we will explore what makes a novel “historical” and what makes a novel feel historical to a reader. We’ll each choose a time period and place to work with through the course, then we’ll discuss and practice:  
    • Balancing fact and fiction
    • Understanding the “big” history of an era  
    • Discovering the realities of daily life for your characters
    • Enhancing the historical feel with clothing and culture
    • Avoiding anachronistic characters
    • Getting the words right in narrative and dialogue
    • Putting together the final product
    If you are just beginning to delve into writing historical fiction, this class is for you. So grab your time machine and let’s go! 
     

    Anne Mateer is the author of four historical novels with Bethany House publishers. She has had a passion for both history and fiction since she first began reading as a child. Armed with a B.A. in history from Southern Methodist University, she enjoys exploring the lives of characters from bygone eras, both factual and fictional. 



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  • October, 2014: Taking a Book from Good to Sold

    October 6 - 31;  Fee: $50

    Instructor: Shirley Jump

    New York Times Bestselling Author

    USA Today Bestselling Author

    TAKE YOUR BOOK FROM GOOD TO SOLD: Ten Lessons Learned:

    The biggest hurdle to selling is learning how to craft a book that is better than good. Good wins contests. Good gets requests for partials. Good sometimes gets a revision request.

    But learning how to take "good" and turn it into "sellable" is the key to success. New writers may not see those small elements that make a big difference in a book's salability.

    In this course, New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Shirley Jump will share the ten lessons she learned that helped her take a book that had won the Tampa Area Romance Authors First Impressions contest and make it into one that was bought by Silhouette, plus how she turned formerly rejected books into single title sales.

    The workshop will include discussion of the revision process and the various elements authors need to look for before considering their book ready for an editor's eyes. Today's editors don't have time to sit down with a fledgling writer and teach her how to take her novel to that next level. This workshop will fill in that final gap for the writer who is just ten lessons away from a sale.

    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 constently smooth and compelling."-- Romantic Times Book Reviews 


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  • August, 2014: Creating Reader's Guides for Young Adult and Middle Grade Novels

    Instructor: Koreen Myers

    August 4 -29;   Fee: $40

    For many authors, the hardest part of the publishing world isn't writing a book. The tough part is getting those stories into the hands of readers. Authors who write young adult and middle grade fiction have a perfect place to market their work—schools.

    Entice teachers to use your books over others by making their jobs easier. Ever seen those 'No Fear' guides students use for books in school? Create your own guides. Many teachers use author/publisher-generated questions for discussion and activities.

    However, many authors don't take advantage of this key marketing strategy because the thought of collecting all of that information and organizing it into a guide may sound daunting. What should I include? What do teachers/students need or want? Can my novel compete with 'the classics'?

    No fear. No one is more authorized to create a guide for your novel than you are. In this session, you will learn how to create a simple, easy-to-use guides which can be used to lead discussions, enhance learning, and get your novel in front of readers: adults and teens and middle graders.

    This course will show you...

    · Easy ways to generate discussion questions (for book clubs and for teachers)

    · Activities to entice teens with different learning styles (art, music, science, etc.)

    · Online puzzle generators (for bonus materials)

    · How to calculate your story's readability score (which grade-level to market)

    · Where to find Common Core standards for those grades

    · How to apply 1-2 standards to your novel (easy way to make school administrators happy)

    · How to relate nonfiction articles (big for the new standards)

    · Ways to include supplemental materials (pictures, videos, etc.)

    · Places to market your guides (for teachers and teens)

    · And much much more!

    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.


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  • August, 2014: 30 Days to a Stronger Novel

    Instructor: Lisa Wells

    Aug 1 - 30;  Fee: $40

    Sorry to disappoint you, but this class is full.

    Lisa Wells will teach it again in October.

    You can register for the October class.

    Drop by and check out more great courses!

    "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.


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  • August/October, 2014: Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Course

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    August 18 - October 31:  Fee: $125

    Sorry to disappoint you, but this class is full.

    I will teach Fab 30 again February through  mid-April. 

    Registration for the 2014 courses (January - June) will be open in November.

    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!


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  • August, 2014: Self-editing Your Manuscript

    Instructor:  Kathy Ide

    Aug 4 - 29;  Fee: $50

    Whether you're submitting to an agent, traditional publisher, or subsidy publisher, every manuscript needs editing, because there's no such thing as a perfect first draft.

    Self-editing will vastly improve your manuscript, which will greatly increase your chances of acceptance by a traditional publisher. If you're planning to self-publish, editing is vital since you probably won't have anyone else to do it for you. Even if you've already had your manuscript accepted by a publisher, the more self-editing you do, the less the publisher's editors will have to do, and that will make your publisher very happy. And if you plan to send your manuscript to a professional editor, self-editing your work as much as possible first will save you money in the long run.

    In this course, Kathy Ide goes through ten stages of self-editing you can take—from the overall picture down to the nitty-gritty details—to make your manuscript stand out.

    • objective edit
    • organizational edit
    • structural edit
    • substantive edit
    • copyedit
    • line edit
    • fine-tune edit
    • objective edit #2
    • final proofread
    • professional edit

    As Ernest Hemingway said in A Moveable Feast, "The only kind of writing is rewriting."

    And to quote Patricia Fuller, "Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear."

    Kathy Ide, author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, has written books, articles, short stories, devotionals, and scripts. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a five-book novel series. Kathy is a full-time freelance editor/proofreader/mentor for new writers, established authors, and book publishers. She speaks at writers' conferences across the country. Kathy is the founder and director of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Connection (www.ChristianEditor.com). For more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.


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  • August, 2014: Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts

    Instructor:  Margie Lawson

    Dates: August 4 - 30;  Fee: $50

    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. 


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