Margie Lawson

Make your writing soar


Your First 5 Pages: Reader Glue

We all know what it’s like to pick up a book and be sucked into the fictional world. You sense that you can trust the author and suspend disbelief to go on a journey. But how do your favorite authors do that? In this class you will have lessons and homework. You will get input from the instructor as well as other students. You will be expected to give feedback to others, as well. You will walk away with a solid, compelling, well-polished start to your novel.

What you’ll learn:

  • Why character is more important than plot
  • The difference between starting with conflict vs starting with crisis
  • When you need a prologue, and when you don’t
  • What makes a great first sentence
  • How to find your inciting incident
  • The important factors of a good beginning
  • Tools learned here will advance your craft of writing

Who should take this course:

  • Writers who have written a beginning
  • Submitting writers who want their beginning to shine
  • Contest entrants
  • Writers wanting to improve their craft

Lesson Plan

LESSON ONE: Where to Begin?

  • It's about the character
  • Anchor the Reader
  • Types of beginnings
  • Pros and Cons of Prologues
  • First lines, and what makes a good one.

LESSON TWO:   Backstory

  • Why Does it have such a bad rep?
  • rules
  • Compelling vs blah
  • Making backstory do double-duty

LESSON THREE:  All the Rest

  • What makes a compelling beginning?
  • How to Hook a Reader
  • Details
  • Be the Dude
  • Trust your Reader
  • Craft Tips

BONUS CONTENT:  Opening checklist
Every lesson comes with reference material; great blogs and articles explaining salient points.Every lesson has Homework. We'll be posting our beginnings, receiving feedback, and revising.
You should walk away with a shiny, compelling, perfect beginning!


Laura Drake Headshot

Laura Drake is a New York and self-published published author of Women's Fiction and Romance.

Her romance series, Sweet on a Cowboy, is set in the world of professional bull riding.  Her debut, The Sweet Spot, was a double-finalist, then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 11 more books and is under contract for two more. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Assn, Writers in the Storm blog, as well as a member of Western Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She's a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.




Writers in the Storm




Your first five pages need this!

January 30, 2022

Laura gives you tons of resources that help not only your first five, but can be applied to your whole novel. Through this class, I have gotten not only a strong first line but I've started in the right place and trimmed all the fat to have an opening that is compelling and zips by, drawing the reader in. Would definitely take this class again and again to perfect my first five of all my novels.

Megan Ganesh

It helps with more than the first five pages!

May 5, 2021

I came into the course looking to improve the beginning of a work in progress. It did that and more. The course made dramatic improvements to my first five pages and gave me the tools to improve the following pages. Laura finds issues and points you towards solutions that I wouldn't have seen without her guidance. I highly recommend the course.

Scott Fairbairn

A Class with Value

May 4, 2021

I find myself measuring course success in a worldly fashion, and I can say that in Laura’s class I received value for my time and money. Laura helped me see my writing from a different perspective through her editing suggestions and general feedback. I recommend you invest in this class to learn to make your manuscript shine.

O. Scherschel

A+ Excellent! Do it!

May 1, 2021

I'm so glad my writing friends recommended Laura's class to me. It's never easy to throw your work out to "the world," but when you get the feeling that "the world" wants you to succeed, you listen. That's the feeling I got from Laura's attention to detail and insightful observations of each students' work. I'm amazed at her "catches," whether in relation to a concept like "floodgates going up to release tears" or the use of double quotes when there should be single quotes. Amazing! (I'd need a month's vacation if I ever gave that much dedication to something!)

I regret that I didn't have time to comment on the other students' work because of another project, but I felt no pressure to do so, and I appreciate that.

This is a serious class and as intense as you want it to be. I have gone over Laura's comments line by line to fix what I felt was necessary for my five pages. It's not because she's the instructor and I'm the student. It's because her suggestions are logical and astute. With gratitude, Billie

Billie Kelpin

Just What I Needed

May 1, 2021

What I learned in The First Five Pages class has been and will be invaluable to me. I'm entering writing contests that focus on beginnings, and mine shine thanks to Laura Drake. Taking Laura's Submissions That Sell class and the First Five Pages class has set me on a confident path to start querying agents and editors with my paranormal romance. I highly recommend Laura's classes and The Margie Lawson Academy.

Barb DeLong

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