Margie Lawson

Make your writing soar


The Eight Crafts of Writing

Do you want a structured overview of the writing craft(s)? Are you interested in learning the psychology of storytelling? What about getting a storytelling edge by learning the secrets of reader engagement?

The Writing Jungle

Jane is an aspiring writer, who, like everyone else before her, parachutes straight into the writing jungle. And, like everybody else, she finds herself hung up on a tree with her parachute. The tree is the writing skill How to Write in Limited POV. She looks around and notices a hundred more trees from which other aspiring writers are dangling. She cuts the parachute lines, drops to the ground, makes a somersault forward, and jumps to her feet. Around her, writers of all ages are cutting paths through the jungle. Jane can see just ten meters into the thicket. How she wishes he had a map and a navigation system.

She calls out for help.

Well-meant answers arrive from all directions. ”Create an interesting character and give her a great goal.”

“Write what you want to read.”

“Create a sense of wonder.”

“The more conflict, the better.”

“Don’t write to get published, grab the reader.”

“Be captivating. Or memorable.”

“Keep the reader turning pages.”

“Be unpredictable and keep the reader curious.” Five years later, Jane is still cutting her way through the writing wilderness. She has hugged countless writing skill trees, sun-tanned at the romance beach, ascended the suspense mountain, and hiked the Hero’s Journey track. But the storytelling jungle remains uncharted land. What else is out there? She is still looking for a map and navigation system.

Course Duration

The course duration is two months. In case someone falls behind, he/she can have an extra week or two during which I will continue to give feedback on assignments.

What you will learn if you take this course:

  • The eight writing crafts (the map): Big Idea, Genre, Narrative, Story Outline, Characterization, World Building, Scene & Chapter Structure, and Prose
  • How to engagers readers with the eight crafts
  • A fresh definition of story that keeps your writing focused
  • How to use the psychology of storytelling to write immersive stories
  • The adversity cycle and how to use it to streamline your story outline
  • How to author stories before writing them
  • How to differentiate between protagonistic and antagonistic genres, story outlines, and scenes and why that matters
  • A new way of dealing with the shapeshifting writer’s block

Lessons include:

  • Lesson material
  • Assignments
  • Questions and exercises that help you improve your WIP
  • Writing prompts
  • Links to additional tools and resources
  • Links to relevant Lawson Writer's Academy courses that allow you to dig deeper into the crafts and sub-crafts

Who should take this course:

  • Aspiring writers
  • Writers who are a couple of years into their writing journey but got lost in the weeds (as it happened to me)
  • Writers interested in the psychology of storytelling and the secrets of story engagement
  • Writers who want to refresh their take on storytelling

Watch how Craig Tuch, Roland Hulme, and Stefan Emunds discuss the eight writing crafts, how to engage readers on multiple levels, the difference between emotions and feelings, and how to revive a dead book.

Course Overview:

Lesson 1: The Eight Crafts of Writing

  • The writing jungle
  • A fresh definition of story
  • The difference between creativity and craft
  • The storytelling map
  • Reader investment and engagement

Lesson 2: The Psychology of Storytelling

  • A comparison of life and stories
  • Janus, the god with two faces
  • The way we respond to life and stories
  • The Eight Crafts story psychology

Lesson 3: The Big Idea

  • Big Idea basics
  • Big Idea types
  • The Story Promise
  • Different Approaches to Creating Story Promises

Lesson 4: Narrative Part 1

  • Narrative basics
  • Narrative styles and genres
  • The author’s voice
  • The narrative frame

Lesson 5: Narrative Part 2

  • The technicalities of Point of View
  • Narrative information management
  • Narrative tone and mood
  • The difference between exposition and backstory
  • Non-linear and parallel narratives

Lesson 6: Genre Part 1

  • Genre basics
  • Genre proper
  • Genre, emotions, and stakes
  • Stake spectrums

Lesson 7: Genre Part 2

  • External genres and their stakes
  • Internal genres and their stakes
  • How to find new genres
  • Genre conventions
  • The difference between genres and Amazon categories

Lesson 8: Story Outline Part 1

  • Story Outline basics
  • Why stories can’t have enough adversity
  • The adversity cycle: how we deal with adversity in real life

Lesson 9: Story Outline Part 2

  • The story cycle: the origin of Story Outline
  • The benefits of the adversity cycle
  • The story engine
  • Nanomine - a story engine experiment

Lesson 10: Story Outline Part 3

  • The four act structure
  • Stake thresholds and how to raise stakes
  • The Eight Crafts scene outline of act 1
  • The Eight Crafts scene outline of act 2
  • The Eight Crafts midpoint scene outline
  • The Eight Crafts scene outline of act 3
  • The Eight Crafts scene outline of act 4

Lesson 11: Story Outline Part 4

  • How to add genre conventions to your story’s scene outline
  • Scene types and nests and how to use them
  • Motivations, wants, goals, needs, and objects of desire
  • The internal story engine
  • The psychology of Story Outline
  • Story Outline archetypes
  • Plots and how to use them
  • How to align your external and internal plots
  • Better story graphs

Lesson 12: Characterization Part 1

  • Characterization basics
  • The difference between sympathy and empathy
  • How to weave empathy
  • How to weave sympathy
  • The protagonist, sympathy, and heroism
  • The antagonist, antipathy, and villainy

Lesson 13: Characterization Part 2

  • How to design character arcs
  • An overview of story character types
  • How to use story character templates.

Lesson 14: Characterization Part 3

  • The Big Five story character templates
  • The twenty-two story character templates
  • How to profile story characters
  • How to design character conflict
  • How to show and reveal character
  • How to manage backstory

Lesson 15: World Building

  • World Building basics
  • World context
  • The world power system
  • World setting
  • Story context, outline, and characterization
  • World moods
  • How to manage exposition

Lesson 16: Scene Structure Part 1

  • Scene Structure basics
  • Scene elements
  • Scene building blocks

Lesson 17: Scene Structure Part 2

  • The three basic scene arcs
  • Scene types and templates
  • How to structure chapters
  • Connecting scenes: the scene train technique

Lesson 18: Prose Part 1

  • Prose basics
  • Vocabulary, choice of words, and diction
  • How to come up with fresh expressions
  • How to manage pace and rhythm
  • How to use poetic devices in fiction
  • How to highlight important words

Lesson 19: Prose Part 2

  • The six scene building blocks
  • The narrative scene building block
  • The description scene building block
  • The internalization scene building block
  • The action beat scene building block
  • The dialogue scene building block
  • The dialogue tag scene building block

Lesson 20: Prose Part 3

  • The difference between subtext and supratext
  • How to balance scene building blocks
  • How to spotlight scene building blocks
  • How to put moods on the page

Lesson 21: Writing Craft Miscellanea

  • What kind of writer are you?
  • Writers are hybrids: artists & crafts(wo)men
  • How to author a story first and then write it
  • The manuscript turning point
  • How to integrate the eight writing crafts
  • How to use the Eight Crafts of Writing to understand and overcome your (shapeshifting) writer’s block

Bonus Lesson: Use the Eight Crafts of Writing to Sell Your Book

  • How to use the Eight Crafts of Writing to design your book exterior
  • Your opening sells your book too


Stefan Emunds

Stefan writes inspirational non-fiction, visionary fiction, and runs an online enlightenment workshop. Enlightenment and storytelling have interesting parallels, which enticed Stefan to write a book about storytelling - The Eight Crafts of Writing. Stefan was born in Germany and, after graduating, enjoyed two years backpacking in Australia, New Zealand, and South-East Asia. Back home, he studied general electro-technology and pursued a career as a sales and business development manager in Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Semis-retired now, he lives with his son in the Philippines.




Just what I needed!!

February 4, 2024

This course was incredibly informative in helping me to structure my novel and understand the various parts that go together to make a great story. I appreciated the in-depth focus on various elements. This was the first course that I have taken that did this perfectly for me in a way that I understood. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Khardine Gray

The Eight Crafts of Writing was challenging

August 7, 2023

The Eight Crafts of Writing was challenging, yet with persistence I was able to give my work in progress development in scenes and characterization. The author/instructor was patient in explaining concepts and gave excellent advice that helped me to give my protagonist a more vibrant life.

Olivia Serena Snead

Putting it all together

July 7, 2022

I found Eight Crafts very helpful and informative in helping me hone my writing craft. I had no previous ideas how to structure a novel or create a story outline. I've read various books on the topic, but this is the first course that I've taken to include writing prompts and lesson exercises. Even though, I wasn't able to complete the course, I copied the remaining lessons with intentions of completing them at my leasiure. The instructor Stephan was very attentive and knowledgeable about teaching the elements on writing a novel. I look forward to learning more from him in future classes.

Carol Seymour

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© 2024 Margie Lawson, all rights reserved.

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