Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

Nov, 2020: Editing Magic


Through online lectures, weekly edits, and interaction with your instructor and your fellow students, we will explore the why and how of getting your manuscript as clean as possible in order to open the doors to the next step of your journey as a writer. The magical alchemy of a clean manuscript is that, without it, you will likely never get to the next step—getting a potential editor, agent, or publisher to read it.

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November 1-30

Through online lectures, weekly edits, and interaction with your instructor and your fellow students, we will explore the why and how of getting your manuscript as clean as possible in order to open the doors to the next step of your journey as a writer. The magical alchemy of a clean manuscript is that, without it, you will likely never get to the next step—getting a potential editor, agent, or publisher to read it.

The publishing industry has never been so competitive. Legitimate editors, agents, and publishers don’t have the time—or the patience—to waste reading a manuscript that is full of typos or less forgivable errors, or one that is poorly written, or one that simply is not compelling.

The human brain learns to internally correct for things that are not what they should be—if you encounter them often enough, you don’t really see them anymore. You are so familiar with this book you’ve written and rewritten a hundred times that you can’t see the flaws. Your brain reads the sentence and automatically compensates for the missing word—or the repeated one. What’s in your head isn’t always on the page—but you can’t see it because you’re too close to it, too familiar with it. This is why you need an editor.

You need an editor before you approach an agent, before you approach a publisher, and you definitely need an editor before you self-publish. It’s a rare writer—maybe one in 100,000, maybe less—who can see her own work clearly enough to send it out into the world without the benefit of a good editor.

This course walks you through getting your manuscript as clean as possible before approaching an editor (because they are busy, too, and will not usually take on a project that needs too much work—a.k.a. not being ready). We discuss how to find an editor, how to interact with one, and how to take the plunge of hiring one.

And—the most valuable aspect of this course—we move from theory to practice. We dive in and do it for real. Your work. My feedback as a professional editor. There’s no teacher as effective as actual experience. You don’t learn to swim by reading swimming theory—you learn to swim by diving into the water and doing it.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How powerfully punctuation impacts meaning (omg, commas!)
  • What you thought was on the page vs. what is actually on the page
  • The crucial importance of clarity
  • The power of intuition and how to listen to it

Who Should Take This Course:

Writers who think they are ready to take the next step and want feedback on their work

Lesson Plan

Each of the four weeks, we will edit approximately 1,000 (one thousand) words from the project you have chosen. This is the heart of this class—getting real feedback on your work from a professional editor. You will receive feedback from me as well as your classmates, make changes, and get feedback on your revision. In other words, we will work together exactly as if you were one of my clients, except that your classmates have the opportunity to learn from your edit as well as their own—and you from theirs.

Week One:

How—and why—to get your manuscript ready for a professional edit

(Hint: It’s sort of like cleaning up before the maid comes)

Week Two:

How to receive and respond to a professional edit like a professional writer

(Hint: It’s a character builder)

Week Three:

How to choose an editor

(Hint: It’s a little like dating—there should be signs that you’re compatible before you agree to spend several months together working on your heart’s desire)

Week Four:

How to know you’re ready to take the leap, what to do then, and wisdom for the journey

(Hint: This is where you put on the Big Girl or Big Boy pants, show us what you’ve learned, and step onto the path to go where it leads you)


Lori Brown

Lori Brown 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.

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



Must Have!

5.0 rating
September 17, 2020

Punctuation Princess, Oxford Official, Grammar Guru, Quotation Queen....I could go on. I can’t decide which was most valuable: Lori’s amazing editing skills, or the education I got. Since taking her class, I write differently than before. This is hands-down a must-have Margie class.


Beyond Ordinary!

5.0 rating
May 7, 2020

Editors have a way of criticizing, tearing apart what doesn't work. Not Lori. She builds into her students/clients. Her critical eye for catching grammar mistakes, sentence structure mishaps, and questioning the heart of the character(s)/story is like shining a rock into a diamond. I am forever grateful.

Robbin Luckett

Lori is Magic

5.0 rating
May 3, 2020

Working with Lori has been a fateful experience. After meeting Lori at a writer’s
conference, I worked with her on editing a sample piece. Her intuition, sharp eye,
and knowledge of grammar has bolstered my writing in a way that workshops and
writing classes never could. Lori works more as a co-collaborator, taking what you
have written, and through editing and advice, reveals your greatest potential. I have
recommended Lori to friends and other writers, and now I am recommending her to

Kelly Nusz

Lori raised my skill to the next level!

5.0 rating
May 2, 2020

Anyone who cares about the quality of their writing needs to consider taking Lori's class. Every suggestion and correction she made, had a single purpose--to make my story the best it can be. Lori cared as much about my story as I do. Before taking her class, I guessed at where commas went and when, if ever, to use a semicolon. After taking her class, I have confidence in the mechanics of my writing. One of the best classes I've taken from MLWA.

Carlene Eye

Lori gives me confidence!

5.0 rating
May 1, 2020

I have an entire series of novels drafted out, but they don't feel...ready. Working with Lori helped me find the pieces that were and weren't where they needed to be. More than that, she didn't leave me spinning, but pointed me in the right direction to get me moving forward again. This class is one of my favorites, and Lori is my hero!
Lori took the intimidating process of working with a professional editor and helped me become the professional I needed to be to work at this level. Extremely empowering.

Trina Malone

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Lori Brown

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© 2020 Margie Lawson, all rights reserved.

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