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:

Instructor: Shirley Jump, NYT Bestseller

June 5 - 30;  Fee: $75

THE BRAINMAP: CREATE INTRICATE PLOTS AND UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS

Editors love books that are character driven and have layered plots. Learn how to create novels with plots created by the characters themselves, using Shirley Jump’s Brainmap Technique, giving a stronger, more powerful--and more emotional story.

If you're stuck in your writing, needing inspiration or just want to learn more about developing characters and developing a multi-layered plot, you'll get the boost you need with this interactive class with New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump!

In this class, students will build a book, one element at a time, and learn how to employ this technique with their own work. Homework will be assigned, and feedback given, to help students utilize these new techniques to create richer characters and stronger plots.

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 


Margie Lawson's course taught by Becky Rawnsley

June 5 - 30;  Fee:  $75

Note from Margie:

I invited Becky Rawnsley to teach my 'Big Three' courses. I bet my unexpected invitation to teach my courses gave her a visceral response.

I know Becky learned my deep editing techniques well. I know she applies them well. I know she can teach them well too. 

The way she's teaching Empowering Characters' Emotions this month (April), 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:  Lisa Norman

June 5 - 30;  Fee:  $75

How to Write a Novel (in Evernote)

Can you write on a train? On a beach? On a plane?

Paper notes get lost too easily. Hard drives crash.

Modern writing software is the answer, but software can be complicated and force you to work its way.

Enter Evernote: free, online note-taking software that stores your writing safely in the cloud.

Evernote can organize research, outlines, character questionnaires, and more. Imagine having all your writing and your research available to you at any given moment.

Learn strategies to empower your writing, including:

  • hyperlinking notes
  • tag structure
  • editing
  • formatting your final product for publication

This class is designed for both beginning and experienced writers. If you know how you write best, then you'll learn how to make Evernote work for you. If you're still exploring writing techniques, we'll be covering many of the popular methods for creating a book-length work and illustrating how they can be used with Evernote.

If you are completely new and wondering how to write a novel, this class will cover the basic strategies, techniques, and tools that work effectively for novelists.

Lisa Norman is the owner of Heart Ally Books, an independent publishing company. Before that, she owned a website design company specializing in creating websites for authors. 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 cats. 

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.


Instructor: Rhay Christou

June 5 - 30; Fee: $75

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: Suzanne Purvis

June 5 - 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:

www.suzannepurvis.com 

www.suzannepurvis.blogspot.com

Facebook, Amazon Author’s Central


Instructor: Lana Pattinson

June 5 - 30; Fee: $50

Have you ever thought…gosh, that author looks so put together. Everything matches on her website and social media, and she stands out from the crowd.

Branding for Authors is a mixture of career planning and marketing. Of defining yourself, and what you offer to your readers.

Each week will have a lecture and assignment(s) to complete, with feedback from the instructor and the rest of the class. You’ll finish this class with a clear understanding of your brand, what you stand for, and how you can leverage your messaging to reach your target audience.

 

WHAT THIS COURSE WILL COVER:

      • What is a brand and why is it important?
      • Defining yourself through branding
      • The 3 phases of brand building
      • Developing your visual brand guidelines
      • Visual tools for branding consistently across multiple social media channels

*Please note: this course walks you through strategic thinking and offers exercises to define your brand. It does not include tactical specifics (e.g. which social media channels to use or how to refresh your author website).

 

LANA PATTINSON

Hi y’all! I’m a Marketing Consultant with expertise in Brand Planning and Social Media. For over 15 years I’ve worked in the wine & spirits industry, marketing powerhouse brands globally such as The Macallan Scotch Whisky, Jacob’s Creek wines, and Kahlua Coffee Liqueur. I’ve lived all over: Ontario, Texas, Las Vegas, New York & Scotland. I have a BS in Business Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

I write YA Historical Fantasy. I’m a member of RWA, YARWA, and CHRW. Currently, I live in Westchester County, New York with my husband, daughter, and furbaby. Connect with me via my website, LanaPattinson.com, where I blog about Books, Booze, & Scotland. You can also find me on Pinterest or Twitter. Cheers! Lana


Instructor:  Becky Rawnsley, Teaching Margie Lawson's Course

May 1 - 31;   Fee:  $80

Note from Margie:

I invited Becky Rawnsley to teach Empowering Characters' Emotions and Deep Editing, Rhetorical Devices, and Beyond. I bet my unexpected invitation to teach my courses gave her a visceral response.

I know Becky learned my deep editing techniques well. I know she applies them well. I know she can teach them well too. 

The way she's teaching Empowering Characters' Emotions this month, 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.

 

DEEP EDITING is for the writer who wants to hook the subconscious of the reader. For the writer who wants to learn fresh editing techniques. For the writer who wants to edit for psychological power.

This is a dig-deep-and-make-your-manuscript-stronger course. Class members will:

1. Learn how to use rhetorical devices to boost cadence, compress time, expand time, add interest, add emotion, and add power.

2. Learn which bestselling authors use which rhetorical devices to empower openings and turning points. 

3. Learn 25 rhetorical devices and practice using them. From anaphora to zeugma – learn how and when to use these techniques. 

4. Develop skills by using worksheets provided in each lecture. The worksheets also serve as a handy reference for learning the rhetorical devices.

5. Learn Deep Editing tips including Margie's Four Levels of Powering Up Emotion, backstory management, power lines, SAPS, throw-away words, cliché twists, back loading, and emotional hits.

6. Learn how to make a FINAL EDITING PASS and make it your last pass.

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 ECE and Deep Editing courses to help fellow writers bring their work to the next level—and beyond!


Instructor:  R.L. Syme
May 1 - 31;  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 

Rhay ChristouInstructor:  Rhay Christou, MFA

Two Week Intensive on Staking the Stakes

May 18 - 31;  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.

We’ll:

--  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.


Lisa Wells, head shotLearn the musts of writing a series!

Instructor: Lisa Wells

May 1 - 31   Fee:  $60

Getting Serious About Writing a Series

In this course, you will design your series bible, create the eleven items it must include (listed below), and learn series-writing tips from award-winning authors, including

Bella Andre

Romily Bernard

Laura Bradford

Allison Brennan

Diana Cosby

Vicky Dreiling

Angie Fox

Adrienne Giordano

Diana Groe

Charlotte Hubbard

Darynda Jones

Kieran Kramer

C.J. Lyons

Shirley Jump

Brenda Novak

Pamela Palmer

Robin Perini

Bonnie Ramthun

Renee Ryan

Jeanne Stein

Joan Swan

1. Story structure. Learn how to shape your story and series for the best fit.

2. Specification of your story's use of time. Do your books have a clock that ticks backward as well as forward?

3. Series connection plan. Don't leave the way your books are going to connect to chance. Study and seize a style that will keep readers coming back for more.

4. Rules. Boundaries. Limitations. Whatever you call them, you must set them before you write your series. If you don't, you risk your books becoming a joke.

5. A personalized contract. You will need one to keep you on track for deadlines.

6. Record of how your series will end. Stimulating ideas for the end of your series is important. Even if you're a pantser, you need to know how your series could finish with a boom.

7. Opening scene - script it until it's perfect.

8. Plot possibilities. There is a smorgasbord of ways you can develop plot ideas. Your bible should include pages for you to track your ideas for the books as well as the series.

9. Develop you elevator pitch for your first book.

10. Develop your elevator pitch for your series.

11. Develop your series paragraph for your query letter.

12. Synopsis. If an agent requests a synopsis, and it's almost guaranteed they will, learn how to create one without going insane.

Lisa Wells is a 22-year veteran educator. For the past 16 years, she's enjoyed a rollercoaster journey called: The School Counselor – Dramas, Dreams, and Destinies. Add the theme song to Jaws, and you have the feel for this fun ride.

Author of DIBS, a sexy romance, nominated as Debut Book That Rocks and Best Book of The Year, Lisa believes writers should never quit studying their craft.  When she decided to write a series and couldn't find affordable material that taught the nuances of writing series vs. stand alone books, she designed her own how-to-class. Self-appointed number one fan of Margie Lawson, she loves being on the faculty for Lawson Writer's Academy.

Twitter @lisawells1

www.lisawellsauthor.com


Instructor:  Sarah Hamer

May 1 - 31;  Fee:  $60

Getting your story set up is hard, right? Nailing all those plot points and inciting incidents and black moments in the perfect place is like trying to scratch that hard-to-reach place on your back.

I can teach you an easier way. I'll teach you how to use your main character's vices and virtues to craft a three-act, eight-sequence outline that gives you a starting block for your story. We'll cover:

-- character archetypes
-- character traits
-- why and how we break our stories into eight equal parts
-- how to create a character arc that is an integral part of your story

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. 


Instructor:  Lori Patrick
April 3 - 30;  Fee: $75
Editing Magic

Limited to 20 students. Each will submit a writing sample and will receive a multi-pass edit on an approximately 2000-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.