Margie Lawson

Make your writing soar

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Secrets from LWA Teachers

Motivation—the WHY of the story

By translating human motivations into character motivations, we can create believable, non-cardboard characters that readers love.

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Deconstructing a Bestseller

Whether you’re writing science fiction, fantasy, mystery or romance, deconstructing the newest bestsellers in your genre is a tried-and-true strategy.

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The Time Margie Told Me I Sucked

Early on, you want to know what a coach, critique group, or editor thinks of your writing, but maybe not too much right away. Maybe in snippets, punctuated in between with doses of chocolate.

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Prose Statistics — An Objective View on Writing Quality

Did you ever wonder how much you should polish your prose? How many fresh lines you should write and how many rhetorical devices and power words you should use?

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So You Want To Write A Screenplay

If you want to learn how to write a screenplay, Wally and Betty are here to clear up some of the questions you may have in advance.

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Limited Point of View: Why it will make you a better  writer

The average attention span of readers is decreasing (just 8 seconds online, according to research by San Jose University), which is why it’s so important for authors to engage them the moment they step onto the page, so as to speak. Point of View (POV) is one of the techniques we can use to immerse […]

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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. —etymonline.com 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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