Margie Lawson

Make your writing soar


Secrets from LWA Teachers

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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What Does Your Book Research Look Like?

Most authors must do some book research to write a believable, compelling story. Historical authors might look up old newspaper articles, visit museums, or collect antique books from secondhand bookstores. Paranormal and fantasy authors may read up on mythology and magic or seek eyewitness‖ accounts of alien, ghost, or paranormal creature sightings. Romance suspense authors […]

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Some Dos and Don'ts for Pitches and Blurbs

You know what a pitch is, you know what a blurb is, you know they’re important. Here are a few helpful dos and don’ts to make writing each of them a little easier. Character names A pitch usually doesn’t have the room to use the fabulous names of your main characters. The character’s role or […]

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“Been There, Done That”

 As I sat in the workshop I had paid hundreds of dollars for, one of my fellow attendees raised his hand and asked the famous instructor how many screenplays they had written. The instructor answered, “Oh, I’ve never written a screenplay…but if I wanted to, I could.” My jaw dropped. I wanted to shout out, […]

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8 Signs You’d Excel at Ghostwriting

Many writers find themselves spooked when considering ghostwriting as a freelancing path. Writers struggle to make informed decisions about ghostwriting because the publishing industry largely keeps the practice hidden. When I took my first ghostwriting job twelve years ago, there were no books or podcasts or courses on ghostwriting. I stumbled through crazy scenarios to […]

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12 Things to do Before You Publish Your Book

No matter your route to publication, traditional publisher or self-publishing, there are a lot of large and small tasks that must be accomplished before you hit publish on a book. This is not a complete list, it’s a quickie cheat sheet to give you an idea of the size, scope, and timelines required to publish […]

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The Stakes Have Never Been Higher

Travel bans, social distancing, lost hugs, work, communication. Hospitals overflow, and, first-liners are overwhelmed and overworked. High fevers. Intubation. Death. If we did not know better, the last couple of years could be the stuff of a big-screen blockbuster. A movie some may not believe. But all too real, we worry. We struggle. We celebrate […]

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The Power of the Monologue

Writing great dialogue is about so much more than the words the characters are speaking. When done right, it manipulates emotions in both the book characters and the readers. As such, learning to write sparkly dialogue is something every author should spend time analyzing. When you do this, you’re going to discover there are techniques […]

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The Bane of Backstory

No character was born the moment the book starts – just like humans, characters have history: joy and sorrow, happiness and sadness, good times and bad times. The sum of our experiences make us what WE are and, ultimately, determine the choices we make.  Characters are exactly the same. Backstory makes characters “breathe” – to […]

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How to Argue with Your Editor

There may come a time—there will come a time. You and your editor have locked horns over some point of grammar or word choice or plot development. She insists that what you are doing is wrong, awkward, unprofessional, or not beneficial. You insist that this is how you want it. Where do you go from here? This […]

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Help!! No One Wants What I Write!

I’m a firm believer in writing what you love, not what you think will sell. For example, I write in two genres that have fallen out of favor with the big New York publishing houses…paranormal romance (PNR) and urban fantasy (UF). And not just any urban fantasy. Mine has the dreaded V-word…vampires. But did I […]

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Using Story Structure to Build a Novel Quarter by Quarter

Writing a novel is like hiking up a mountain with a backpack loaded with rocks. Each rock is an essential part of your story. These include plot, characters, setting and much more. But working with them all together, in relation to the whole story, can become overwhelming. The Quarter Solution After I discovered four-part story […]

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© 2024 Margie Lawson, all rights reserved.

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