Welcome to Lawson Writer's Academy!
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.
1. Create an account-- If you already have an LWA account, log in below.
2. Log In.
3. Register for online class by clicking the title of one of the courses below. Information for the class will open and you'll be able to click on the PayPal link to enroll in the course.
Questions? Contact Margie Lawson.
How do they do that?
You have less than five pages to hook a reader. Probably less, if your reader is an agent. A compelling beginning can adhere readers to your writing and your voice as well as your story.
Sound impossible? It’s not.
Join Laura and bring your first five pages for:
- Interactive tips on what is great and could be improved in YOUR pages
- Feedback from other class participants: Can you hook them?
- Examples of what is 'hooky' and what are near misses
- And much more!
There will be lessons, but this will be an interactive course as well. You’ll post your first five pages, and besides getting my feedback, the class will be encouraged to give feedback as well. We’ll work on those first pages until they shine!
Laura Drake, RITA winner, decided to write a novel. Three years later she completed it, and decided what she really wanted was to hold a book in her hand with her name on the cover. Three novels, 417 queries, and twelve years later, Laura achieved her dream. She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot (May 2013), Nothing Sweeter (Jan 2014 and Sweet on You (Aug 2014). The Sweet Spot, won the RITA for Best First Book in 2014.
Her 'biker-chick' novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin's Superromance line (Aug 2013) and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town. The Reasons to Stay (Aug 2014), Twice in a Blue Moon (July 2015) and Against the Odds, (June 2016).
In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan, and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She's a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.
Instructor: Lisa Norman
February 1 - 28; Fee: $75
is the owner of Heart Ally Books, an independent publishing company. She also owns a website design company specializing in creating
websites for authors, Deleyna's Dynamic Designs. For over 25 years, she has worked with both indie
and traditionally published writers on everything from writing through
publication and marketing. She has taught students from 10 to 80, both
in person, locally, and online. Her customers range all over the US,
Canada, and as far away as Australia. Mostly she coaches people
one-on-one, and she loves public speaking. She's most proud of her
children, adores her husband, and seems to be constantly surrounded by
Lisa is the author of a series of nonfiction ebooks, Publishing Gold: Step-by-Step Guides for Success In Your Writing Career. She also writes under the pen name of Deleyna Marr.
Connect at deleyna.com
Instructor: Lori PatrickFebruary 1 - 28; Fee: $85Editing MagicLimited to 10 students. Each will submit a writing sample and will receive a multi-pass edit on an approximately 1500-word (or less) section.
Lectures, open discussion, and forum responses support learning as each student works directly, one on one, on their own manuscript excerpt in an interactive partnership with the teacher/editor.Working with a professional editor can be a daunting and rewarding experience. But editing is expensive. How do you know if your work is ready to submit to an editor? How do you know if you and a specific editor are a good match? What can you do before an edit to maximize the return on your investment? In this four-week class, each student will work through a sample edit with the Grammarwitch, professional editor Lori Brown Patrick. Learn from Lori's comments over a series of passes through your writing and from watching her work with other students.
A professional editor is a vital part of the writing process. In this course, you'll see how working with an editor can improve your productivity and confidence and take your writing to the next level. Learn what to watch for in your writing. Learn how both developmental and copy editing work together to strengthen a piece of writing.You'll see your own work improve and see what the same process does for your fellow students.
What people say about working with Lori:
"... getting a misspelled word past her is like trying to throw a pork chop past a wolf." — Dale Cramer, Author
"Lori is like a warm, snuggly blanket of safety on a cold winter’s night." — Lisa Norman, Heart Ally Books
"... her command of her profession, attention to detail, and admirable work ethic combine to create the best kind of collaborator. " — Elizabeth Perry Spalding, 21 Skye Design"...a godsend in building my new business, giving me confidence in a no-nonsense, reliable, and honest copyediting resource for my book projects." — John H. Clark IV, Old Stone Press"...best of all, she’s lots of FUN!"— Nancy Heinonen, Crescent Hill BooksLori Patrick has made her living as a professional editor since 2001.
Lori has good literary instincts and an excellent ear, a solid grounding in grammar and punctuation, a strong sense of syntax, and a deep feeling for the rhythm of writing. She's one of those hopeless nerds who likes reading the dictionary. She is a passionate believer in the serial comma. She knows the rules and when she doesn’t, she looks them up. Sometimes she uses sentence fragments or begins sentences with And–or both. She has even been known to end a sentence with a preposition because sometimes, a preposition is the best thing to end a sentence with. But the most important thing for clients to understand is her bone-deep conviction that your book is your creation, not hers. She is absolutely adamant about preserving the author’s voice and intent.
Writing is important. Lori believes that good writing can change a life—or change the world. She also believes that every writer needs a good editor—even great writers. Even editors need editors. Because good editing makes good writing better. One red-penciled word at a time.
Instructor: Suzanne Purvis
Feb. 1 - 28; 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.
Learn how to create a stellar synopsis.
The BUZZ from The Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis Grads:
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:
Suzanne is teaching REVISION BOOTCAMP again in March.
Visit Suzanne at:
Instructor: Rhay Christou
Feb. 1 - 28; Fee: $75
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'll need to dive into the skin of your character.
In Create 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
- 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
· 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,
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 by Spencer Hill.
Instructor: Koreen Myers
Feb. 1 - March 8; Fee: $75
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." ~ Maya Angelou
According to the New York times, over 80% of people want to write a book. Sadly, only a fraction of those surveyed will every get the words down on paper. Will you let another day, another month, another year go by without writing your story?
Stop the excuses. This is your month.
In this course we will create a community of writers who, like you, want to write a novel. The fast-paced class is perfect for first-time writers as well as those who need a little extra motivation to develop a first draft.
- Week 1—Focus will be on channeling internal motivation, setting realistic goals, and story mapping (basic character maps and plot point outline).
- Week 2--Writing time (develop the opening through the first plot point). Focus will be on opening chapters, creating conflict and the inciting incident.
- Week 3--Writing time (develop from first plot point to the mid-plot point). Focus will be on attacking writer's block, creating effective turning points and avoiding saggy middles.
- Week 4--Writing time (develop from mid point to the climax). Focus will be on balancing elements, pacing and enhancing themes.
- Week 5--Writing time (develop from the climax to the grande finale). Focus will be on creating a satisfying climax and a strong ending. We'll celebrate our successes and plan for next month's goals.
Throughout the entire month, you will receive inspirational messages, online community support and forums where you can find tips and ideas.
This class will be fast, but manageable. We will work on the main storyline, leaving out subplots and lavish details. This goal is to get the basic story on paper.
"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison
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 education 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.
January 3 - 31; Fee: $60
TA DA, HOW TO PUT FUNNY ON THE PAGE
Slam your elbow on a table top and you’ll get up close and strip-down, naked personal with the location of your funny bone. Unfortunately, you’ll also discover there’s nothing funny about that instrument of torture.
It’s a sensitive little sucker.
The funny bone takes joy in creating not laughter but pain.
Unless…you’re a comedian.
Comedians aren’t like average humans. When they slam their funny bone on a table top, the sensation causes them to laugh so loud and so hard earthquakes are reported five states over. True story. No…really…it is.
In fact, slamming your elbow on a table top is the test comedian-wannabes have to take to get accepted into Make Me Laugh University. If they bang their elbow and laugh, they’re invited into the coolest of schools. Hit the spot and wince, and the parody professors will laugh them off the university’s sacred grounds.
If that happens, if they fail to be admitted in Make Me Laugh University, these wannabes might as well become plumbers, because showing off their butt-crack is the closest they’ll ever come to making someone laugh. Or…is it?
Of course, I lie. Not a big one. Just a little gray lie. So don’t go calling the funny police on me for breaking the whole truth-in-advertising stuff. Why? Because I’ve got great news. And you’re going to want to know what I know.
Here it is. What I know to be the truth, the absolute truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me funny bone.
Even if your funny bone is broken, and it doesn’t make you laugh when it’s been unfortunately activated - you can still get into the cool major. You can still walk the sacred halls of Make Me Laugh University. You’ll just have to work at it a little harder than those with a sense of humor in their funny bone.
As a personal reject of Make Me Laugh University, I’ve spent hours and hours and years and years (yes- years) and studied master comedians like Steve Martin, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer and Ellen DeGeneres, plus many more, just to get funnier and to create this class. A class designed to teach other humor rejects, like someone like you, how to put humor on the page.
My purpose in life, since being laughed off the college campus of Make Me Laugh University, that was not a fun experience, is to make sure no one else ever suffers the humiliation of being thought of as blah, boring, a danger to one’s self, or – gasp - a danger to other’s ability to laugh.
Ta Da. Here’s what you’re going to learn:
1. The best way to study humor – no…the answer is not naked and with a glass of wine.
2. How to find your own comedian mentor – Get One For Free – as long as you can stalk without being caught. Get caught, and you might be thrown into comedian-wannabe jail. Mums the word.
3. The universal rule of being funny – break it, and you might go to funny bone jail which is located next door to comedian wannabe jail.
4. How to find funny in the world around you – if you have to suffer through the family gathering, you might as well get some material from Aunt Poopy Mouth or Uncle Give Me Another Cold One.
5. The 3 secret ingredients to great storytelling – OMG, I’m just dying to let you in on these secrets. (Biting lip hard. Ouch. Keeping secrets is dangerous to one’s mouth.)
6. The key ingredient that makes people laugh? There’s actually several ingredients that go into making people laugh, but there’s a key one. K.E.Y. Kind of like liquor is the key ingredient in Jell-O shots. (NO. Jell-O is not the key ingredient in Jell-O shots.)
7. The 7 humor media in which you can sell the funny you put on the page. Face it, our good looks are going to fade, and we’re going to need a back-up cash supply.
8. The 11 Funny Filters – These filters are the gold mine of laughter. Sort of like mouth filters are the gold mine of keeping our day jobs. Does it surprise you to know I don’t have a day job?
9. The 3 joke-writing methods using the funny filters. Hint... Psyche. You didn’t really think I was going to give you a hint here? Do you not know me at all?
10. The 5 ingredients of writing a premise for a comedy screenplay. Instead of a five-ingredient meal recipe (like tequila, lime, salt, triple-sec, ice), you’re going to get a five ingredient premise recipe. Chuckle.
Who should take this class:
1. Romantic Comedy authors. That’s a no brainer.
2. But this course is for more than just comedy writers. It’s for you.
3. Knowing how to add comedy to whatever you’re writing - be it a thriller, a wedding speech, an obituary - will make your writing stronger. Humor enhances story characters. Humor enhances your storyline. Humor makes your look skinnier in tight jeans.
4. Attention all authors: Humor gives much needed tension release to your readers at just the right moment. Learn how to put it on the page.
5. Humor helps you with every day relationships – like your relationship with your editor or agent or the cop who pulled you over for driving with the top down. Tiny explanation: When I bought the convertible, the dealer said it was legal to drive with my top down. How was I to know he meant the car’s top and not my tube top? Be specific people.
6. Humor makes you stand out in the memory of others. In a good way.
7. If you want to learn to be funnier, and how to take that funnier and put it on the page, this class is for YOU.
8. And, last but not forgotten, if you flunked out of Make Me Laugh University – this class is also for you.
What are you waiting for? Sign up.
Instructor: Shirley Jump, NYT Bestseller
January 3 - 16; Fee: $45
Two-Week Intensive on Show, Not Tell
How many times have you heard this…and not quite known how to do it? Or gotten this comment back in a critique? This most basic of writing concepts can also be one of the most difficult to master in the beginning. Join New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump in this intensive hands-on two week class as she leads an interactive workshop that gives you easy, manageable tips that will have you bringing your fiction to life right away. You’ll be working with your own manuscript, learning how to take passages and make them more powerful and emotional.
Students will learn:
- The basics of show, not tell
- The “key” words that are telling
- How to rework a scene to be more powerful
- How to incorporate details and the five senses
- How to rewrite telling into showing.
Homework will be given, and feedback will be provided to help students grasp this concept and employ it in their writing.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump has written more than 50 novels for Berkley, Harlequin, Entangled, and Kensington books. A frequent speaker both in the United States and abroad, Shirley's diverse career has spanned two decades. She has won numerous awards, and she's been nominated multiple times for the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice award. The first book in her series with Berkley, The Sweetheart Bargain, recently received a Top Pic from Romantic Times.
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 constantly smooth and compelling." -- Romantic Times Book Reviews
January 3 - 31; Fee: $90
Note from Margie:
I invited Becky Rawnsley to teach my 'Big Three' courses.
I know Becky learned my deep editing techniques well. I know she applies them well. I know she can teach them well too.
Her deep editing expertise and her easy-going style prove she's channeling me well. I'm impressed.
I'm proud that she's teaching these courses I developed.
Dive in. You'll learn, learn, learn. And you'll have a good time too.
Learn how to write body language and dialogue cues. No more cliched, trite, and overused facial expressions and dialogue cues.
Writers will learn how to write more than basic facial expressions, more than basic body language, more than basic dialogue cues, and write them so well, I'd rate them NYT!
Writers will learn how to write fresh:
- Body Language Basics: facial messages, lips, eyes, chin, full facial expression, flicker-face, gestures, posture, hierarchical zones . . .
- Body Language Clusters
- Avoidance and Deception Cues
- Vibes – beyond spidy senses and hair-raising
- Margie's Six Categories of Dialogue Cues
- Body Language and Dialogue Cues for POV and Non-POV characters
- Body Language and Dialogue Cues with Rhetorical Devices
- Body Language and Dialogue Cues that include stimulus and response
Each teaching point will be illustrated with examples from bestselling authors, their excerpts dissected and analyzed.
Students may be active in class and post assignments. I'll deep edit assignments, and make them available for class members to read and learn.
Students may also lurk and learn. No worries.
Concerned you're too busy to keep up?
All LWA classrooms are open 24/7. April classes will be open through May 15. You can click in and download, read, learn.
Becky Rawnsley is a physical therapist from the UK. She started writing as a hobby some twenty years ago, but realized if she was ever going to get off the slush-pile and onto the shelves, she needed help. Hunting for answers, she stumbled across Margie’s website and struck writing-gold.
Becky is now a multi-Margie, multi-LWA and Immersion grad, and has discovered a passion for deepening her understanding of writing craft. Her work now regularly finals in contests. She is keen to share the magic of Margie’s ECE and Deep Editing courses to help fellow writers bring their work to the next level—and beyond!
Instructor: Rhay Christou
January 3 - 31; Fee: $90
Diving Deep into Deep Point of View
With information coming at us from all sides, at all times of the day, the world has become a here and now kind of place. No wonder authors, agents, editors and readers want to feel that same kind of immediacy with stories. They scream for deep point of view. And I mean deep!!
In this course we will:
· Understand point of view and the best point of view for your story.
Recognize and fix point of view issues such as; slips and author intrusion.
Learn how word choices impact deep point of view.
Use descriptions that keep it deep.
Use authentic settings that resonate with characters and readers.
Use dialog that rings true for characters.
Learn where to dive in the deepest and where and when to stay in the shallows.
Learn how to crack deep point of view in third and first person.
Learn quick fixes for deep point of view that can transform your manuscript.
And so much more!
With a plethora of examples, assignments, and Rhay’s--Let’s think about this--we’ll explore, discover, and unlock the mysteries of deep point of view.
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, where I live.
I teach two other courses online for Lawson Writer's Academy: Create Compelling Characters and From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Heart.
Instructor: Julie Rowe
January 2 - 31; Fee: $60
Love Your Voice
Every writer wants a fabulous voice. For most popular authors that achievement seems effortless. But for the rest of us, it’s often hard to tell what makes our voice special...and how to capitalize on our natural strengths.
Includes a critique of the first three chapters of your book (up to 50 pages)!
This workshop examines the seven key elements that make up an author’s unique voice:
1. Emotion -- How much? What kind? How do you show it?
2. Core Story / Theme -- The gut-level core idea that inspired your novel in the first place.
3. Setting & Description – Where you set your story and how you chose to describe the environment is a critical element of Voice.
4. Pacing -- An art of its own and a crucial factor in any writer’s Voice.
5. Conflict -- What do the characters want and why can’t they have it. Deep, difficult conflict brings your Voice to life.
6. Characterization – Who you choose to write about and how you develop them is a pivot point of your Voice.
7. Mechanics -- It’s not just understanding the rules of writing, it’s how you chose to use and when you decide to break them.
Participants will see specific examples of how all these elements work in the distinctive voices of various authors. Writing exercises will follow the discussion of each ingredient. These exercises will give participants the tools to refine, polish, and -- depending on the kind of writing they want to pursue -- possibly even change their Voice.
About the instructor: Julie Rowe
Full-time author, freelance writer, and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s debut novel, Icebound, was released by Carina Press on Nov 14, 2011. Ten novels and eight anthologies have followed. Her most recent titles are the MEN OF ACTION boxed set and VIRAL JUSTICE book #3 of the Biological Response Team series.
Julie’s articles and short stories have appeared in numerous magazines, such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today's Parent magazine and Canadian Living. Julie facilitates business writing and communication workshops at Keyano College in her home city, and has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and Canada. She’s also a strong supporter of life long learning and moderates a free announcement loop for the promotion of online classes, workshops and webinars.