Welcome to Lawson Writer's Academy!

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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:

August, 2017: Queries That Sell, and More!

Instructor: Laura Drake, RITA Winner!Laura Drake, Head shot

Dates: August 1 - 31;  Fee: $60

Queries That Sell, and More!

Put Your Query in a Power Suit!

Your writing is amazing. You've edited your manuscript until the reflection alone will blind.


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, 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 is complete at 4 novels, all  set in the same small town of Widow's Grove. 

Laura has long wanted to make a foray into another genre she loves, and in January, 2016, self-published her Women's Fiction, Days Made of Glass, also set in the world of professional bull riding.

Laura finally realized her 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.

Visit Laura's web site

The party is on Facebook - Visit her there!

Visit the Writers in the Storm Blog

Twitter: PBRWriter

August, 2017: Ta Da, How to Put Funny on the Page
August 1 - 31; Fee: $60


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.

August, 2017: Five-Week First Draft

Instructor:  Koreen Myers

August 1 - September 5;  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.


Course Outline:

  • 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.

August, 2017: Editing Magic: Work With a Professional Editor
Instructor:  Lori Patrick
August 1 - 31;  Fee: $85
Editing Magic

Limited 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 Books

Lori 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.

August, 2017: Intensive On Show, Not Tell

Instructor: Shirley Jump, NYT Bestseller

August 15 - 29;  Fee: $40


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.

Shirley Jump 

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 

Sept. 2017: Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

Diving Deep into Developmental Edits

September 1 - October 30;   Fee: $140

Your words shine and each line glisten. But you’re still getting rejections!

Pansters and plotters, at some point you’re going to have to step back from the words, the lines, and even the paragraphs, and look at the big picture issues.

Diving deep into developmental edits is an intense fourteen lecture course for those writers who have finished at least one draft of a novel.

This course is all about seeing your work as an editor, and learning how to analyze what you have on the page, so you can make the big decisions that will take your novel from fine to powerful.

This two-month course is packed full of tips, ideas, and learning opportunities not only aimed at helping writers make their current work in progress shine, but also teaching writers how to make future novels stronger.

With a completed draft in hand, writers will work independently or with a partner to hone their big picture editing skills and learn techniques for:

  • Play by genre/category rules and target markets.
  • Look at typical novel structure and where and how your work falls into the norms, and what to do if you’re way off.

How to tackle a first read:

  • Reconcile the  character on your page with the one in your mind.
  • Discover and develop story themes. 
  • Turn plodding plots into powerful plots. Pick pacing, logic and not missing those missed opportunities.
  • Identify killer beginnings and how to up yours to a beginning that deserves a life sentence.
  • Empower those murky middles.
  • Create kick-A.. endings.

How to tackle  the second read:

  • Dive into deep point of view.
  • Find and keep voice and style.
  • Take dialog from stilted to rich.
  • Discover how to share a scene versus tell a scene.

Third read focuses on:

  • Use setting to its best.
  • Use narrative summary and exposition effectively.
  • Polish stories until they shine.

And so much more!

Be sure to visit the class and read how to get started before class begins.

With a plethora of examples, assignments, and Rhay’s--Let’s think about this--we’ll explore, discover, and unlock the mysteries of developmental edits.

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, in Greece, where I live.

I teach three other courses online for Lawson Writer's Academy:  Create Compelling Characters, From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Heart and Diving into Deep Point of View.


Sept, 2017: Story Structure Safari

Lisa Miller, Head shotInstructor:  Lisa Miller

September 1 - 30;  Fee: $90

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 Lawson, 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.

Sept, 2017: Writing Compelling Scenes

Instructor: Shirley Jump

September 1 - 30 :  Fee:  $80


Are your scenes blah instead of blockbuster? Do they lag in the middle, or fall flat at the end? In this month-long intensive online class, you'll learn how to:

Beef up your scenes

Add more conflict

Use every scene to raise the stakes

Strengthen characterization

Show instead of tell for maximum bang

Work with hooks to keep readers turning the pages

Tighten your pacing

Create scenes that are unforgettable and powerful

In this interactive class, you'll learn how to edit your own scenes and take them from okay to amazing. In-depth analysis of scenes that work will be part of the class, as will revision of students' current work. Class will also offer hands-on critiques from the instructor, New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump.

Shirley Jump 

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.

Shirley 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 

Sept, 2017: The Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis

Instructor: Suzanne Purvis

Sept. 1 - 30;       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.

Sign up. 

Learn how to create a stellar synopsis.     

The BUZZ from The Sizzling, Scintillating Synopsis Grads:

Suzanne helped me break down the synopsis into easily digestible parts, which prevents the overwhelm that so often accompanies writing one. Even just reading the forum responses and watching how she tightens language to achieve maximum impact, has been a godsend. I've waited for this course from Margie's site for over a year, and it was well worth the wait.

Great support, advice re tightening, adding voice and power and emotion. No one likes writing synopses but this class made it not only manageable but fun.
The lessons gave us a step by step blueprint, and the amazing help and personalized instruction made a seeming impossible task doable.
Writing a synopsis can feel overwhelming, but this class transforms a daunting class into a step-by-step highlight of the plot and character growth.
Awesome class. Suzanne is an excellent teacher and guide, very patient, very supportive and always spot-on with her suggestions.
I now have two kick-A synopses (a longer and a shorter one) which make me super-happy.

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:

"Being part of a group like this helps to keep me focused and motivated. Suzanne structured the class in such a way that I was accountable for making and meeting my goals. Plus, the level of support from her and my classmates was great!"

"I loved the camaraderie between the writers, the positive support Suzanne provided, and the feeling that I was part of an encouraging community."

"A great supportive environment to share your weekly goals and achievements, a place to spark ideas and discover new resources, a forum for giving and receiving feedback on problem areas in your WIP. Suzanne provides excellent tips and links to other resources, and superb critiques, advice and support for everyone in class."
"I've loved this class. I think this is the most I've got out of a online class, ever!"

Suzanne is teaching REVISION BOOTCAMP again in February.

Visit Suzanne at:



Facebook, Amazon Author’s Central

Sept, 2017: Empowering Characters' Emotions

Instructor:  Becky Rawnsley, teaching Margie Lawson's course

September 1 - 30;   Fee: $80

Note from Margie:  

I invited Becky Rawnsley to teach my Big Three courses:

-- Empowering Characters' Emotions

-- Deep Editing, Rhetorical Devices, and Beyond

-- Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist

I bet my unexpected invitation gave her a visceral response.

Becky learned my deep editing techniques well.  She applies them well.  She teaches them well too. 

She taught all three courses earlier this year.  Her deep editing expertise and her easy-going style impressed me.

I'm proud that she's teaching these courses I developed. 

Dive in. You'll learn, learn, learn.

Empowering Characters' Emotions

-- The First Course in Margie's Big Three Writing Craft Courses

Want to add a psychological punch to your writing and editing?

Want to turn your WIP into a page-turner by powering up emotion?

The 300+ pages of lectures will cover the following topics - and more. Each lecture is loaded with examples and teaching points.  Yummy reading.

• Backstory Management

• The EDITS System

• Emotional Authenticity

• Emotional Hits 

• Deep Editing Techniques

• Four Levels of Powering Up Emotion

• Cliché-busting and Writing Fresh

• Rhythm and Cadence and Beats

• Overview:  Ten Rhetorical Devices for Fiction Writers

• Overview:  Body Language and Dialogue Cues

You may be active in class and post assignments. Your assignments will be deep edited and posted in the classroom.

You may lurk and learn. No worries.

Concerned you're too busy to keep up? All LWA classrooms are open 24/7.  The May classes will be open through June 15th. You can download, read, and learn any time.

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 Big Three courses to help fellow writers bring their work to the next level—and beyond!



Sept, 2017: Write Better Faster
Instructor:  R.L. Syme

Sept. 1 - 30;  Fee: $75

Everyone wants to be more productive—write faster, release more books—but most people don’t know where to start. Let me give you a hint: start with this class.

Your brain is like a lock box, and everyone’s box has a different code. Copycat productivity techniques are hit and miss—depending on how similar your personality is to the writer. But by using brain science, you can learn the specific code to unlock your brain.

We’ll focus on how to write more books in a year, how to write those books faster, and how to make those books better, all customized just for how your brain works.

You will leave the class with a unique, individualized set of strategies and tactics that will help you do your best work, be your most productive, and accomplish your writing goals. In short: write more, better.

R.L. Syme (w/a Becca Boyd) is the USA Today bestselling romance author of the Line of Fire series and the Highland Renegades. With a Masters degree in leadership and years of consulting and working in organizational communications, she is also a trained and certified Strengthsfinder coach. Becca lives in the Rocky Mountains and you can find her website at http://rlsyme.com 

July, 2017: Two-Week Intensive on Deep Conflict
Instructor:  Rhay Christou, MFA
July 5 - 18 ;  Fee:  $60
Two-Week Intensive on Deep Conflict:  

Conflict. Conflict. Conflict.

Having heard it again and again, we  know conflict creates tension, and tension must be on every page.

So, we’ve written stories filled with murders, thefts, lost hope, arguments, sword fights, gun battles, chase scenes. You name it, we’ve thrown all kinds of conflict into our stories, and we’ve polished up those pages. We sent packages off to agents and editors and indi publishing and we’ve sat back and waited for the bang on the door, the contracts, the advances, the New York Times Best Sellers list. 

And we’ve gotten, thank you for your submission, but I just didn’t feel this story enough. Didn’t feel there was enough conflict.


How can that happen?  We have murders and arguments and gun fights. We have conflict. 

Don’t we?

Not necessarily. Murders and arguments and jewel thefts on exotic islands may be aspects of conflict, but aren’t the roots of conflict. 

Welcome to the intensive Deep Conflict course that’s going to get you diving deep into conflicts in all levels of your book.

In these two weeks we’ll tackle:

  • Understanding what conflict is and isn’t
  • Delving into the foundations of conflict
  • Implementing tips for structuring conflict for maximum impact
  • Using and expanding conflict in all Acts
  • Creating conflict in dialogue, setting, and scenes
  • Weaving tips and tricks and tools for conflict throughout story

Full of practical tips and interactive lectures, students will have plenty of opportunities to practice theory by submitting work and getting feedback from fellow writers and me.

So come on and let’s get our conflict on.

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 three other courses online for Lawson Writer's Academy:  Create Compelling Characters, From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Heart, Power Up Your Setting,  and Diving into Deep Point of View.

July, 2017: Two Week Intensive on Staking the Stakes

Rhay ChristouInstructor:  Rhay Christou, MFA

Two Week Intensive on Staking the Stakes

July 17 - 30;  Fee:  $60 USD

Who cares about your story?

You’ve put your heart, soul and every drop of blood into your characters, and the story they have to tell. You’ve created a compelling plot where characters run a gauntlet of obstacles. You’ve edited, deep edited, made sure every single word sing.

And you’re still getting critique partners, beta readers saying, “but I don’t get it” Worse, you’re getting those form rejections or those just-didn’t-care-enough responses.

Don’t panic. All writers experience this at one time or another, and there is answer.

Likely you need to figure out the most important question of your scenes, chapters, story. You need to ask yourself why should the reader care about this person and her problem. You need to figure what makes the stakes of this novel personal and powerful.

The two-week intensive Stake the Stakes workshop will help you discover ways to get your readers caring on page one and keep them caring to the very end.  

Full easy to read lectures, hands on assignments, and plenty of opportunities for class and instructor interaction, Stake the Stakes will  take a languishing story from plodding to powerful.


--  Define stakes

--  Realize size doesn’t matter

--  Discover the difference between stakes that matter and a gauntlet of problems

--  Take stakes from functional to fantastic

--  Develop ways for stakes to impact the protagonist

--  Create and sustain caring, caring, caring

--  Use connections to keep readers engaged

--  Dial up the stakes, tighten the tension

--  Change up the middle to rev up the pace

--  Write knockout endings that make the journey worth taking

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 several other courses online for Lawson Writer's Academy:  Create Compelling Characters, From Blah to Beats: Giving Chapters a Heart, Power Up Your Setting,  and Diving into Deep Point of View.

July, 2017: Battling the Basics: The Essentials of Writing

Instructor: Sarah Hamer

July 5 - 31;  Fee: $60

A mechanic doesn't pop the hood for the first time and immediately know what's wrong with the car.  A pilot doesn't slide into the cockpit without logging the required hours of training. A master author doesn't magically hit the bestseller lists.

A master author knows the basics. And there are a lot of basics to master.

Writing is work. You’ve heard the saying, “You have to learn the rules to break them.” Cliché or not, good writers understand the basics. They know how to write tight. They know how to write strong. They know how to write compelling, powerful stories.

In this class, dig deep into realistic and driven dialogue.  Discover the impact of a clearly written setting. Explore character, conflict, and story arc. Learn how to use plot, placing, and tension to propel your story forward.

Writing is work. But writing can also be fun. Join me in Battling the Basics and take the first step toward seeing your name on the bestseller list.

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.


© 2017 Margie Lawson

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