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:

Click on course name to see full description.

  • April, 2017: Editing Magic: Work With a Professional Editor
    Instructor:  Lori Patrick
    April 1 - 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.

    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2017: Disasters & Doctors; Wars & Warriors – Writing Thrillers and Other Dangerous Novels

    Instructor: Julie Rowe

    April 3 - 30:  Fee: $60

    Disasters & Doctors; Wars & Warriors – Writing Thrillers and Other Dangerous Novels 

    Whether it’s a romantic suspense, thriller or crime novel writing books with a dangerous edge have their own pros and pitfalls. Julie Rowe, author of the military thriller Biological Response Team series, will explore with participants the following topics:

    1. Basic elements of a dangerous novel – what makes them different from other genres for good or ill.
    2. Finding your focus – narrowing down your subgenre of dangerous novel to give you a solid base on which to build your novel.
    3. Who’s driving this run-away train? Plot driven, character driven or event driven – Options for how you develop your novel.
    4. Character archetypes – the good, the bad and the ugly and why you need all three.
    5. How did we get here? Using setting to its fullest.
    6. Wars, disasters and other bad luck – using traumatic events to supercharge the thrill.
    7. Research – how real does your novel need to be?
    8. Writing an outline that works…for you.
    9. Sing loud and proud – turning up the volume on your writing voice.
    10. Writing that first page – where to start your story.
    11. BONUS: Outline and first five page critique – for all participants.


    Julie Rowe

    Full-time author and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she still resides (despite a wildfire forcing the entire city to evacuate on May 3, 2016). Julie’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 have appeared in magazines, such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today's Parent magazine and Canadian Living.

    Julie facilitates communication workshops at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, 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.

    You can find her at www.julieroweauthor.com, on Twitter @julieroweauthor, or at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor


    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2017: Author Power on Pinterest

    Instructor: Lana Pattinson

    April 3 - 30;  Fee:  $50

    Whether you are new to Pinterest or already have a personal account, we’ll discuss strategies for branding yourself as an author and developing your Author Platform.

    We’ll cover the following topics:

    • Why Pinterest?
      • We’ll find out why Pinterest is an important part of your Author Platform, and why & when it may be a better choice than Facebook or Twitter.
    • The Basics: Setting up your Account
      • Setting up your profile and creating key Boards
    • Pinterest as part of your Social Media plan and how to manage your time
      • What do you want to accomplish / Setting goals
    • Targeting your Audience
      • Let’s look at ways that we can define and appeal to your target audience
    • How to make a great Pin
      • What makes a great Pin
      • Tools and Programs you can use for creating Pinnable images
      • Important information to include when creating your Pins
    • Interacting on Pinterest
      • Purpose and how to use Group Boards
      • Other ways to interact on Pinterest (comments, likes, etc).
    • Nuts & Bolts: How to Pin, Whom to followAnalytics
      • How to Pin for maximum effect
      • Selecting the right people to follow
      • Using Pinterest Analytics to review and streamline your social media plan 

    Lana Pattinson

    Hi y’all! I’m a Marketing Consultant with expertise in Brand Planning and Social Media. For over 15 years I 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 Young Adult Historical Fantasy, and am a Finalist in the 2015 Romance through the Ages Contest. 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

    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2017: Story Structure Safari

    Lisa Miller, Head shotInstructor:  Lisa Miller

    April 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.

    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2017: Taking a Book from Good to Sold

    Instructor: Shirley Jump

    New York Times Bestselling Author

    USA Today Bestselling Author

    April 3 - 30;  Fee: $80

    TAKE YOUR BOOK FROM GOOD TO SOLD: Ten Lessons Learned:

    The biggest hurdle to selling is learning how to craft a book that is better than good. Good wins contests. Good gets requests for partials. Good sometimes gets a revision request.

    But learning how to take "good" and turn it into "sellable" is the key to success. New writers may not see those small elements that make a big difference in a book's salability.

    In this course, New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Shirley Jump will share the ten lessons she learned that helped her take a book that had won the Tampa Area Romance Authors First Impressions contest and make it into one that was bought by Silhouette, plus how she turned formerly rejected books into single title sales.

    The workshop will include discussion of the revision process and the various elements authors need to look for before considering their book ready for an editor's eyes.

    Today's editors don't have time to sit down with a fledgling writer and teach how to take their novel to that next level. This workshop will fill in that final gap for the writer who is just ten lessons away from a sale.

    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 

    View more information and enroll
  • April, 2017: Empowering Characters' Emotions

    Instructor:  Becky Rawnsley, teaching Margie Lawson's course

    April 3 - 30;   Fee: $75

    Note from Margie:  

    I invited Becky Rawnsley to teach Empowering Characters' Emotions and Deep Editing, Rhetorical Devices, and Beyond. I bet my unexpected invitation 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.

    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 April classes will be open through May 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!


    From Edwina Darke:  

    Becky Rawnsley is so smart, so cool, so competent that you’d hate her if she wasn’t so lovely. We are immersion sisters and I saw firsthand her Margie material mind meld. If your characters emotions need empowering, then you’ve got the lady empowered to help you. 

    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2017: 30 Days to a Stronger Novel

    Instructor: Lisa WellsLisa Wells head shot

    March 2 - 31;  Fee: $60


    Change is hard work. But that's what it takes if you're trying to land an agent or a contract and all you get is rejections.

    30 Days to a Stronger Novel is for all frustrated writers who have spent their hard earned money on books and conferences only to realize that their manuscripts are receiving a "Pass" from agents and editors.

    If you've read the how-to books, attended the conferences, have mastered the art of story structure, and know your grammar rules, you're only halfway there. Sure - you have a manuscript that is better than most being sent to agents and editors. But better than most is not getting you published. Why? Because your manuscript is not yet at the WOW level.
    It doesn't matter if your plot points and pinch points are all in the right places. Or if your character arcs are stupendous. Of if your hooks are incredible.

    None of these things matter if you don't have the knowledge to add in the WOW factor to your manuscript.

    I'm not talking about the big things that are taught so beautifully by Margie Lawson. I'm talking about the little things. The little things that add up to SOLD.

    What is the Wow factor? It is that elusive something that takes a manuscript from solid to sold.

    Solid + the little things = Sold.

    The WOW factor is what agents and editors are saying you don't have when they say your manuscript just didn't grab them the way they'd hoped for.

    Do you want to add the WOW factor to your manuscript? Yes? Then this class is designed for you.

    There are 30 days and 15 WOW assignments. How much time you put into the assignments will have an impact on how great of a change you bring about in your book.
    Here are a few of the lessons in this action packed class:

    • Reader Emotion Scavenger Hunt - if you take this course for no other reason than one - this is the ONE reason to take this class. You've taken classes and read books on how to get across to the reader what emotion your character is feeling, but have you taken a class on manipulating what the reader is feeling?

    • Backstory Funeral

    • The Puzzle Effect

    • Get a MacGuffin - not to be confused with an Egg McMuffin

    • Structure Check-up

    • Spank Your Characters - no, this is not an X-rated assignment.

    • Pick a Scene and Get It High

    • Firsts

    • Lasts

    • Character Trait Sneak Attack - a fantastic approach to revealing character traits to the reader. This is a: DON'T WANT TO MISS IT LESSON.

    Give me 30 Days, and I'll give you a stronger novel.

    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 is thrilled that Margie Lawson invited her to teach at Lawson Writer's Academy.

    Twitter @lisawells1


    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2017: Writing Compelling Scenes

    Instructor: Shirley Jump

    March 4 - 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 

    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2017: Five-Week First Draft

    Instructor:  Koreen Myers

    March 6 - April 10; 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.

    View more information and enroll
  • March, 2017: Two-Week Intensive on Deep Conflict
    March 18 - 31;  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, 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, Power Up Your Setting,  and Diving into Deep Point of View.


    View more information and enroll
  • Feb. 2017: Your First Five Pages, Reader Glue
    Laura DrakeInstructor: Laura Drake
    Feb. 1 - 14    Fee: $45
    Have you ever started a book by a new-to-you author and settled right into the story? You just know you’re going to love it. You’re relaxed and trusting the author from the first page. You're hooked and you know you will be there for awhile.

    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!
    Intermediate level 
    2 week class

    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).

    Laura has long wanted to make a foray into another genre she loves, and in January, 2016, self published, Days Made of Glass, a novel about the first woman bullfighter.

    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.

    Visit Laura's web site

    Visit the Writers in the Storm Blog

    Twitter: PBRWriter

    View more information and enroll
  • Feb, 2017: Create Compelling Characters

    Rhay Christou, HeadshotInstructor: 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
    •      Conflicts
    •      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,

    Rhay Christou:

    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.  


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  • Feb, 2017: Write Better Faster
    Instructor:  R.L. Syme
    Feb. 1 - 28;  Fee: $60
    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 

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  • Feb, 2017: Intensive On Show, Not Tell

    Shirley JumpInstructor: Shirley Jump, NYT Bestseller

    Feb. 15 - 28;  Fee: $60


    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 

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  • Feb, 2017: Revision Boot Camp or Revision Retreat: You Decide

    Instructor: Suzanne Purvis

    Feb. 1 - 28;  Fee: $75

    Revision Boot Camp or Revision Retreat: You Decide

    You’ve got that first draft done or almost done. Or maybe you’re on your 2nd, 3rd, or LAST revision and you’re working toward the finish line.

    You’re ready for REVISION BOOTCAMP.

    Sign up. 

    Get your marching orders.

    Working with other recruits attack your revisions. 

    Or. . .

     Maybe you’re looking for a REVISION RETREAT.

    Sign up and escape.

    Be inspired to increase your creativity and productivity.

    Engage with other creative souls and watch your revision dreams soar.


    You decide.Revision Boot Camp or Revision Retreat. 


    Whichever you choose, be ready for daily support, accountability, check-ins, revision lessons, plenty of camaraderie, inspiration, and productivity. No more writer’s solitary confinement.

    Set GOALS. For the month, the week, the day. And then. . .


    Novel, short stories, query, synopsis. Your choice. Your goals.

    And you can. . .

    Visit our virtual Coffee Shop to share accomplishments.

    Sit down with a virtual latte. Share your gold star accomplishments, including daily goals achieved, contest entries, contest wins, agent submissions and signings, publications, etc. Join your classmates for a cup o joe and cheer each other’s big and small wins which can spur your own goals and ideas. 

     Visit our Martini Mind Bar to brainstorm.

    Order a virtual martini. Throw out your questions to your bar mates and brainstorm. Hop onto a stool, share a drink, and help out a writer in need. Creativity feeds creativity.

    Visit our Wine Bar to . . .  well . . . whine.

    Having a bad day? Not meeting your goals? Your mother-in-law showed up and she’s eating into your revision time?

    Sit down, relax, order a chardonnay and whine. Rants are welcome too. No judgment. Grab a glass of merlot and commiserate.

     Visit our Critique Cafe to get help.

    Do you have a description that you fear may be too flowery?

    Have some dialogue you want to run by someone else’s ear?

    Are you re-writing and re-writing and re-writing the same page? Maybe the first page? To help you move on, pop in, order a virtual sandwich, and post a piece of your work for a critique from me and your fellow classmates.

    As a critique buddy, come on in and offer a fresh set of eyes. Just remember the Critiquing Golden Rule: critique how you’d like to be critiqued, fair and honest and kind.

    So what are you waiting for. Sign up.

    Become inspired to focus on your writing and revision.

    To commit. To prioritize. To accomplish more.  

    Thirty days filled with writing support, camaraderie, and learning, all to ensure your writing and revision goals become a reality.

    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. 

    Visit her at www.suzannepurvis.com , www.suzannepurvis.blogspot.comFacebook, Amazon Author’s Central.


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  • Nov - Jan, 2016-17: Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Class

    FAB 30 IS FULL!

    Lots of other smart Lawson Writer's Academy classes. 

    Check them out!

    Instructor: Margie Lawson

    Nov. 1 - Jan 31:  Fee: $200

    Three Prerequisites, Online Courses or Lecture Packets:

    1. Empowering Characters' Emotions

    2. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More

    3. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist

    Do you want to dig deep into deep editing?

    Do you want to work in an advanced class with all multi-Margie-grads?

    Do you want Margie's Deep Edit Analysis for 30 pages of your WIP?

    If so, this squeal-it's-a-deal class is for you!

    Lectures will be short, compared to Margie's other courses. Emphasis is on applying deep editing to your WIP.

    We'll focus on making each word, line, sentence, paragraph, page, and scene provide a clear, smooth, empowered read.

    Enrollment is limited to 30.

    Join me in Fab 30 and give your writing and writing career a rocket-powered boost!

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  • Oct, 2016: Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts

    Instructor:  Margie Lawson

    Dates:  October 3 - 30;  Fee: $75

    Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts

    This workshop teaches writers the importance of including visceral responses when emotions run high, and how to write them fresh. Topics include:

    -- The full range of visceral responses

    -- Writing fresh

    -- Placement in scene

    -- Motivation Reaction Units

    -- Using the Four Levels of Powering Up Emotion

    -- How to crescendo emotion

    -- Stimulus/response patterns

    -- Overwriting and underwriting

    -- Cliché twists and cliche play

    -- How to hook your reader viscerally.

    Multiple teaching points will be provided. Examples of visceral responses will be dissected and analyzed. 

    View more information and enroll