Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

Secrets from LWA Teachers

Writing Action Scenes That Don’t Cramp Your Style

When it comes time to write an action scene, style matters. Different styles of action require different conditions, such as: Pace Duration Stakes Risks Outcomes All these conditions combine to meet specific reader expectations. The nine of the most common types of action scenes with examples (books and movies) Escape—the characters seek to free themselves […]

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Yearning for Tension: 5 days, 5 ways to unlock your story’s conflict

Raise your hand if you’ve heard tension on every page. If you know you must have conflict and obstacles. Dollars-to-donuts, every hand is waving as high and hard as the girl in the back of the room who knows the answer and never gets picked. But, with little risk of winding up in a donut-induced […]

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Off with Their Heads!

capital letter (n.) late 14c.; see capital (adj.). So called because it is at the "head" of a sentence or word. — Have you noticed that there is a Proliferation of Uppercase letters being tacked on Willy-nilly to all sorts of Words for no logical Reason? As an Editor, I run into this problem a lot. It’s […]

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Don’t Overlook the Big Picture

I’ve been writing historical fiction for a long time, so you’d think by now I would have learned. But when I am at the beginning of a new project my tendency is still to start researching the fun stuff—the nitty-gritty details. After all, those details often bring great inspiration for story as well as fun […]

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The Safari Plotline: Distilling Your Story into a Single Sentence

Lisa Miller teaches us how to create a super-powered single sentence to distill the essence of our story's plot.

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Three Worldbuilding Tips for Realistic Fiction

Every story needs a fleshed-out world—even ones set in a realistic one. Here are three tips to help round out your contemporary world.

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Nail that First Line!

A first line is a promise to the reader, telling them what kind of book this is. What your voice is like. A good first line will pull a reader into a story.

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What If Hitler Had Won? Musing About Alternate History

Alternate history uses the past and twists it to imagine what might have been. Sometimes this can be merely thought-provoking, or it can be the stuff of nightmares.

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Stripping Your Crutch Words to Excavate Your Voice

When we clean out crutch words to polish our stories, that's when our voices can shine through. 

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Welcome to the LWA Coffeehouse

The LWA Coffeehouse is available for all LWA students and visiting writers - free!

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The Power of Similes – Ideas for Writing Fresh

Becky Rawnsley shows the power of using similes to create fresh writing with tips and examples.

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What Size Are Your Sighs?

In real life, a sigh always means something. It carries a psychological message. But writers often plop a plain sigh on the page without sharing that all-critical subtext.

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The Psychology of Storytelling

Life is a string of experiences. Stories are virtual experiences, presented in a string of scenes. Who experiences? The mind does. Hence, writers need to know the psychology of experiencing and apply that to stories. Janus, the Two-faced God We experience two worlds, the internal and external world. We are Janus, the two-faced god, who […]

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Is It REALLY About Finding the Time?

Tonight, I have to go and talk to a local writer’s group about time management for writers. It occurred to me as I printed out my handouts that many writers that I have met—and spoken to on this very topic—return again and again for the same lecture. It’s not because they weren’t paying attention the […]

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How to Begin, or Begin Again: Starting or Restarting Your Writing Journey

I’m blessed to exist as a writer for film and television, as well as novels, comic books, graphic novels, and more. One of the most common questions I get asked is how to write more consistently, or begin writing again after stalling out.  I have good news and bad news: The answer is simple, but […]

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What's in a Name?

How do you feel about naming characters? It’s NOT drudgery. It’s all about finding out your character’s backstory and using that to find the right name. The first thing that authors need to consider is: Names are language. In fact, it is special branch of linguistics called onomastics. Here is just a sample: Neologisms A […]

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To Trope or Not To Trope?

Let’s be honest, y’all. Tropes have a bad reputation among fiction writers. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the word “trope” leveled at something like a weakness. “Oh, but she’s just writing to trope…” we hear, like putting tropes into your work is a bad thing. But let’s look at this from […]

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How Withholding Too Much Information Kills Story Tension

Regardless of the length or genre of a story, creating tension is essential to holding readers' attentions. But what is the best way to add more tension to a story?  Often I see aspiring authors withholding information in an effort to be vague and cryptic, which only serves to frustrate readers instead of engage them. […]

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The Words of Historical Fiction

There are so many moving parts when writing historical fiction. Not only are there the normal things—like character development and story structure—but there is all the historical research needed in order to put the reader firmly in a different time and place. What is often forgotten? The words themselves.  The use of language in historical […]

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4 Things to Understand Before Signing that Literary Agent Agreement

The day has finally arrived! After slogging through manuscripts, enduring the seemingly unending cycle of query and rejection, you did it—your dream agent has tendered an offer of representation. Celebrate! There are plenty of articles and blog posts out there that tell you what kinds of questions to ask your agent to determine if you […]

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