Margie Lawson Extravaganza (Part 2!)

When I found out the awesome and talented Melinda Collins was headed off to Colorado to attend  Margie Lawson’s Immersion Master Class, I absolutely had to convince her to swing by and tell us about the experience afterward. Of course, Writing Superhero Jami Gold had the same idea, so rather than stage an EPIC, lightning-sword-and-killer-unicorn BATTLE TO THE DEATH as to who got Melinda, we decided to share her. Isn’t that nice? *beams*

As someone who purchased a Margie Lawson Lesson Packet on Body Language (thanks for the heads up, Stina Lindenblatt!) in the past, I can only imagine the value of a ML Intensive. So please, read on dear Musers. It’s a long-ish post, but oh-so-worth it.

Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson: The Experience, The Takeaways, The Lessons – Part Two

Thank you, Angela, for inviting me over today to talk about my recent experience in Colorado with the wonderful, talented, writerly genius, Margie Lawson, and her Immersion Master Class!
Because I have so much to share, this is actually a two-part blog post. Which means I’m also over at Jami Gold’s blog today as well with part one! *grin* And, as an added bonus, Margie Lawson will be over at my blog today, Muse, Rant, Rave, sharing even more writing technique goodies! *booty dance* Okay, enough dancin’ and let’s get to learnin’, shall we?

The Experience

Over on Jami’s blog I talked about the kinship and sisterhood that developed in our group. Here I’d like to share with you two additional elements of the class that made this a one-of-a-kind experience.
The first would be location, location, location! We were about two miles above sea level, and being that high meant cell service was practically nonexistent, which in turn meant we got to enjoy the peace and quiet tranquility of the Rocky Mountains. What more inspiration do you need if you look outside the window, or go on a short hike and see this?

The view from our 1st hiking trip

Pretty unreal, right? But this is exactly what every day was like for us. It wasn’t all work and no play. In fact, we went hiking twice during our time on the mountain. The first short hike gave us the beautiful view in the picture above, and the second, longer hike, gave us this gorgeous view:

The view from our 2nd hiking trip

So the experience was deeper than just learning more about yourself and your writing craft. It was about taking the time to enjoy your surroundings and find inspiration in nature.

The view from Margie’s writing loft

The second element I wanted to share about the experience is the one on one time each of us got to spend with Margie. Every day, with pages in hand, we walked into a quiet, cozy room and worked one on one with Margie – an experience that will stay with me forever. By sitting down with her, one on one, you gain a certain understanding and perspective of your writing. You learn how to channel the genius editing that is her mind, and you see your writing in a whole new light. Every sentence, every word is purposefully chosen to pack a maximum punch for your reader, and during your one on one time, you learn more about how you choose those words and how you organize your sentences.
I can’t begin to imagine how I was editing before this class because now I feel as though I’m walking away with a particular sense of how to attack edits, how to look for the minor nuances, how to portray action scenes in a new and exciting way for the reader, and how to make my prose sing a beautifully cadenced tune.

The Takeaways

In part one I talk about what I learned about my style and where I want to be a year from now. Here I’d like to talk about group settings: why it’s important to work within a group where each person has the same purpose in their writing, and why it’s important to encourage and help other writers make their writing the best it can possibly be.

It’s always important to take a break when editing to hike! 😉

When you’re in a group setting and everyone has the same purpose of making their MS NYT Bestselling-worthy, you’re sitting in a gold mine. This is why it’s so incredibly important to join a writing group where everyone is dedicated and everyone pushes you to strive, work, and think harder. Sure, writing’s a singular experience (unless you’re co-writing), but without that group of writers who share your struggles, your doubts, and your triumphs, you may not get too far. This particular experience brought that fact home for me. When I struggled in making a phrase powerful and pitch-perfect, there were four other writers there tossing ideas back and forth until we got it. I’m sure without them there I might’ve gotten 85% of what I wanted in the phrase, but that’s not enough. I want 100%. I want it to pack a punch. And I want the help of other writers who fill in the gaps of my weaknesses.

This is another reason why it’s important to not only be in a group setting with a common purpose, but also to encourage other writers and their craft. We thrive on the encouragement and the kudos we get from others like us. We hear of another writer who’s just finaled

Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.  — Ryunosuke Satoro
I got the honor of silly-stringing Amanda! Sooo much fun!!! 🙂

Quick note: While we were there, one of our Immersion Sisters, Amanda, actually did find out that she finaled in a writing contest with three scores of 99 out of 100!!!!! WOO HOO! How AWESOME is that?!? So what did we do to celebrate when we found out? We silly-stringed her of course!!!

The Lessons

Without giving away too much, here’s the back half of the top ten lessons I learned while in Colorado (as I said in the first post, there are many, many, many more):
1. Description: Description shouldn’t be on the page simply just to be there. Description should be on the page as it affects the character. When you’re writing description, think of how it affects your character in terms of their attitude and thoughts. If you had a character pull up to their childhood home, don’t just describe it as having paint-chipped shutters and a bright red door. Attach that description to your character. What does she remember about those shutters and that red door? Does she recall the many summers she spent helping her mother repaint the shutters? Does she recall being caught kissing a boy in front of the bright red door? If so, then why don’t you attach that description to those memories and make it a stronger, more powerful read?

Example from my MS:

I took a breath and walked out to the edge of the street. This house would represent the beginning of the rest of my life. I hadn’t seen the midnight blue, oceanfront home in so long, and it was now my home.

Because a home is a sense of trust, safety and love for my MC, I attached those feelings to the description of a place that is now her home. There’s more description of the house that follows this, but this is the one place where I purposefully showed how arriving to this setting affected my character.

2. Breaking Tension: Margie has an EDITS system that uses different colored highlighters to track story elements. One is tension. When you’re tracking tension and you notice a small – or big – area where you’ve broken the tension, you’d better go back to check the following:

a. Check to ensure you intended to break the tension.
b. Check to ensure the break in tension is not only needed, but that it works
c. Check to ensure it doesn’t entice the reader to skim

I’m willing to bet there may be several areas where you didn’t intend to break the tension, you didn’t intend to invite the reader to skim, you didn’t intend to put a humor hit in the middle of a serious scene that shouldn’t be broken.

So if you break tension, make sure it’s intentional, it works, it flows, and it doesn’t bore the reader in skipping ahead to where the tension picks back up.

3. NO ‘ITs’ or ‘THATs’: I now have yet another new item to add to my editing toolbox/checklist: NO ‘ITs’ or ‘THATs’!! Okay, so obviously I don’t mean you can’t have ‘it’ or ‘that’ in your MS as at all. But what I do mean is don’t end a sentence with ‘it’ or ‘that.’


Oh yeah, I’d considered that.

See what I mean? When I take this sentence out of context, you have absolutely no clue what the character meant by ‘that.’

Example without ‘that’:

Oh yeah, I’d considered Nick to be nothing more than an ant.

A-ha! So when I removed ‘that,’ I made the sentence stronger and more powerful! So the lesson here is: do a find for ‘IT’ and ‘THAT’ and restructure/reword each sentence/phrase that just so happens to end with one of those UNLESS having one of those two words 100%, unequivocally works!

4. Throw-Away Words (Tightening): Another important item to add to your editing checklist: throw-away words. This goes beyond the usual crutch words such as saw, felt, was, etc. Once of the techniques Margie teaches is taking a printed copy of your MS and reading through, line by line, and checking each line off to ensure it has a strong cadence. This ensures you don’t have any words in there that might trip the reader or the flow of the passage. As we all know, there are many other types of throw-away words that can tongue-tie the reader – which is another reason why it’s incredibly important that we get used to the sound of our voice, read everything aloud, and tighten, tighten, tighten.

Examples with Throw-Away Words:

After all, it wasn’t my fault their stories weren’t being told anymore.
I looked back at where he stood and touched my cheek.

Did I really need all those words? Nope.

Examples without Throw-Away Words:

It wasn’t my fault their stories weren’t being told anymore.
I touched my cheek.

See? I didn’t need after all and looked. Those were just two sentences! And between the two, I cut a total of nine words! By reading through my MS, line by line by line, and checking each one off once I’ve determined it’s a TEN, I will have a MS that’s tight, tight, tight! *booty dance*

5. Backloading: Ah… this is a fun one! But because there’s so much I could say about it and so little space in today’s post, I’m going to make it short and sweet. Backloading is where you take the most powerful word in a sentence, and you rework the phrase to pack that power at the end of the sentence so it resonates with the reader.

Example before Backloading:

And when we did see him, we never took a moment for granted, but that was before he abandoned us.

The most powerful word in this particular phrase is abandoned. When you hear it, you instantly feel for the character because you may know what it’s like to feel abandoned. So why not make it the last word the reader processes before they move to the next paragraph?

Example after Backloading:

And when we did see him, we never took a moment for granted. But that was before we were abandoned.

Not only did I ensure my power word was there to backload the phrase, I also split that large phrase into one semi-big sentence then followed it up with a shorter, powerful sentence.

Backloading forces you to look at the structure of your sentences and paragraph breaks. By examining each sentence with a finely-tuned, analytical eye, you’ll not only catch the instances where backloading will pack a punch, but you’ll also catch the areas where one larger sentence can be broken into two, shorter, more powerful sentences. Ha! I got two lessons into one on that one! *giggle*

Once again, I really, really, really want to encourage everyone to visit Margie’s site, purchase and read and absorb the lecture packets and/or enroll in an online course. After you’ve done that, I really recommend attending an Immersion Master Class yourself to fully learn not only these techniques/lessons, but waaaaay more! In all her courses, you’ll learn ways to add psychological power to your writing and how to write a page-turner that will keep your readers up until their spouse finally says, “Pleeeease come to bed!”  *giggle*

Before I go, I just want to say thank you again to Angela for having me over today and allowing me to share a small percentage of what I learned!

If this was your first stop, then before you pop over to either Jami’s site for more on the experience, the takeaways and the lessons, or stop by my blog for a quick lesson from Margie, think about the following: Do you have a place you can get away to? One that’s quiet, calm and inspiring? What about a writing group – do you have a group of writers that you can learn from, give kudos to, and share your triumphs with? Do you have areas in your MS that could benefit from tying description to emotion? Or what about areas where you’ve broken the tension unintentionally? Do you run through each of your lines and ensure they work 100% before moving onto the next?

Wow! Thank you Melinda for being so generous and sharing your amazing experience with Margie! I am a life-long learner, and I absolutely love to absorb as much as I can about the writing craft.



Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in Characters, Critique Groups, Description, Editing Tips, Focus, Writing Groups, Writing Resources. Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Margie Lawson Extravaganza (Part 2!)

  1. Pingback: Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson: Part One — Guest: Melinda Collins | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

  2. ChiTrader says:

    Margie is the real deal. I bought one lecture packet and took an online course. Highly recommended. I learned more in a month about writing than I’d learned in the previous few years.


  3. Thanks for the lessons!! I, too, would enjoy a retreat like that, though maybe not so much the hiking part. Lol. Still, it would be a new experience for me and perhaps a welcome one.

  4. How fabulous! Thanks for all of this wonderful information. I know I will come back to it again and again.

    Glad you enjoyed our beautiful state of Colorado. The mountains are so inspirational! 🙂

  5. Sounds like a truly incredible and inspiring time. Sigh.

  6. Jeremy Bates says:

    This sounds like a good way to connect with your inner writer. Thanks for sharing. I hope to read more from you in the future.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, that was great. A definite entry in my Writing Tips file! 🙂

    Yvette Carol

  8. @Heather M: Yes…we definitely want to break tension unintentionally. If there’s a break, we really need to make sure there’s a good reason. Never really thought about it until recently, and what helps is Margie’s EDITS system. She shows you how to track conflict/tension in your WIP to help you find any breaks in tension. 😉 Thanks!

    @Julia: Oh, awesome! I definitely suggest checking out Margie’s site and grabbing a lecture packet…or two…or three! 🙂

  9. CONGRATULATIONS, TRICIA!!!! Enjoy the lecture packet and hope you’re having a blast in your Fab 3o class!! Can’t wait to start mine next month! :))

  10. @Paula: Thank you, thank you!!! Me too – I definitely kick myself too for not having gotten into her online classes or purchasing the lecture packets years ago!!

    @E.J.: Thank you! It was my pleasure to share with everyone! :))

    @Bernadette: Hello again! Great point! Editing with purpose! Definitely something Margie is totally responsible for in my editing process (among MANY other things)!

    @Steph: Hmmm…. I wonder…have you attempted simply brainstorming an entire book from start to finish? Maybe planning it out to see if that helps? Or maybe when you’re stuck or stop after the beginning, have you tried pushing forward from other directions/angles?

    @Janet B: Thank you, thank you!

    @Staci: I know! I want to *move* to CO simply because of how beautiful it is there! LOL! I’ll make a note to writer another post or two on “it/that” 😉

    @Addy Rae: I’ve noticed that too! I think maybe it’s because more and more people are coming out of the woodwork and singing the praises she absolutely deserves. Definitely check out her site, read her Pubbed Margie Blog, and sign up for a class to get a feel for it. You’ll love it, promise! 🙂

    @Beth: Thank you! So happy to hear that! 🙂

    @Wendy: Thanks! You too! 😉

    @Shannon: Thank you! Yays!! So glad this inspired you to tighten, tighten, tighten!! 🙂

    @Clee: Ah…. yes, the setting absolutely was! I thoroughly enjoyed sitting out on the desk every morning with a mug of coffee and not a sound on the mountain. 🙂 You are most welcome! It was my pleasure to share what I learned with everyone! :))

    @LTM: Backloading. Is. Awesome!!! I don’t know how I never noticed it before, but now that I know and been doing it enough, it’s all I think about when I get to the end of a sentence/passage/paragraph! Thank you! 🙂

    @Glenda: Awesome! Thank you so much! I do hope you’re able to incorporate all of these tips and that they help you with working your WIP! :))

  11. Julia says:

    Oooh…I have online writing friends that have been so blessed by these. I would love to hear her wonderful teaching.

  12. Sounds like a wonderful class, one that is helpful now as I’m editing my rough draft. What caught my eye was the breaking of tension. I have to work on that. Have a blessed day.

    HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

  13. Angela —

    I appreciate you!

    Thank you soooooo much for being part of the TRIPLE BLOG EXTRAVAGANZA!

    I know I’ll get to meet you sometime. Hope we meet in 2013!

    Big hugs……..Margie


    Thank you for dropping by THE BOOKSHELF MUSE! selected the winner.


    Tricia won a Lecture Packet!


    Tricia is in my current Fab 30:Advanced Deep Editing class.

    In Fab 30, I get to edit 30 pages of Tricia’s WIP. My kind of dig deep fun. 🙂

    Tricia — Please email me and let me know which Lecture Packet you need. If you’ve taken all of my courses (or reviewed the Lecture Packets), you can gift the lecture packet to a writing friend.

    BLOG GUESTS: Thank you again!
    I look forward to seeing you online, or in person, sometime!

    I wish you amazing writing success!

    All smiles……….Margie

  15. Glenda says:

    What an incredible experience! I’ve printed out all the tips and plan on using them on my WIP.

  16. kittyb78 says:

    Those are some great tips! it and that crop up a lot in all writing.

  17. LTM says:

    ooo, I like that backloading tip! That’s a fast and dirty trick that is awesome! And yes, the part about description. How it impacts the characters. Good stuff!

    This looks like an awesome retreat! Glad to see you guys having fun! <3

  18. cleemckenzie says:

    Fabulous retreat and a setting that has to be inspiring every minute you’re there.

    So much to think about in this post and so well presented. Thank you for asking for asking Melinda to share, Angela. Thank you for sharing so much, Melinda!

  19. Wow! So much fantastic info here. I know my manuscript needs tightening, and this is giving me the inspiration to do it. Thank you!

  20. Unknown says:

    Great tips!
    Have a beautifully written day,

  21. Beth says:

    What great advice! I loved her comments about descriptions, and hopefully I can look at that in my own manuscript today. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Addy Rae says:

    I’m hearing more and more awesome things about Margie Lawson. Now, I’m not sure if I was just living under a rock or if more people are talking about how awesome she is, but I’m intrigued!

  23. Staci Troilo says:

    What gorgeous scenery… how could you not be motivated to write your best up there?

    I am a huge violator of the “it/that” rule. I’m so glad you posted about it. I can’t hear it enough. You probably should write about it a few dozen more times, just to be sure it sinks in!

  24. Anonymous says:

    What great tips that you share with us. I learn so much about how to improve my writing. Thanks for the opportunity to win such a great informational writing package.

    Janet B

    jkbsfsd at msn dot com

  25. booksbysteph says:

    Wow, I didn’t even know something like this existed! I love to write. My imagination runs wild. Problem – I never seem to be able to sit & write more than a chapter. You will find beginnings to books all around my home. Help me finish one! 😀

  26. Bernadette Hearne says:

    One-on-one time with Margie, digging into your manuscript, is the best. It’s an experience every writer should have. And I absolutely agree with your comments on how Margie’s techniques change the experience of editing. Before Margie, I tended to move words around on the page without any clear intent. Now I edit with informed purpose; if I move a word (or cut a word or change a word), I know why I’m doing it and what the change accomplishes. Empowering!

  27. E.J. Wesley says:

    What an awesome experience! So glad you shared with us… and very jealous. 🙂

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mel,
    Such a wonderful post.:-)) Wow, the fabulous memories your walk through our Immersion Class brings this evening. Margie’s courses have revolutionized my writing and fiction editing skills. I’m thankful each day for the time spent in IC and in her online courses AND I mentally kick myself for not getting into those classes years ago.
    Paula Boire

  29. Jami Gold says:

    Great post! Thank you, Melinda and Angela, for making this Extravaganza happen. And thanks to Margie for being such a great influence on writers. 🙂

  30. Hi Marisa,

    You said it!!! AMEN!

    Oooo….. don’t you just love how she can pinpoint those types of things?! I wanted to headpalm myself so many times during Immersion Class. 😉

    With Margie guiding you, I’m SURE an agent with LOVE your writing! :))

  31. Hi Natalie,

    Oh, it was am amazing class! Thank you so much! So happy to hear you enjoyed the post! If you can’t make a retreat with Margie, I highly suggest grabbing a lecture packet or taking one of her online classes. It’s the next best thing and I’ve met so many awesome writers through the forums alone. 🙂

  32. Hi Becca!

    Oh, thank you, thank you!!! 🙂

    Ah, yes, you can definitely be inspired there! I got up a little early every day and enjoyed a cup of coffee on the patio in complete and utter silence. I was amazed at how many ideas flowed through my mind during those times. I’ll definitely be looking forward to not only going again, but finding a few places around NC that I can get away to for a weekend to simply write and relax and be inspired by. 🙂

  33. Margie Lawson is the BEST. I have all of her lecture packets and have done two of her classes, and would LOVE to do the immersion retreat someday. What an awesome opportunity you had!

    The most eye-opening feedback Margie gave me when I took her EDITS class was that I was overwriting. I had NO idea! Since taking her class, my crit partners enjoy my writing SO much more, and hopefully when I’m done with my project, an agent will love my writing, too 🙂

  34. Sounds like a great class. I loved all that you shared about what you learned. And the lessons sound awesome too, especially for those of us who can’t go on retreat.

  35. What a gold mine this is! I especially like the bit about adding emotion to setting descriptions. Great idea. And what a beautiful location. My gosh, I could get so inspired there!

  36. Hi S.J. —

    Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed all the posts! Enjoy all the writerly goodness! 😀

    Thanks for commenting!

  37. Hi Tricia,

    1. You’re exactly right!
    2. Ah, LOVE that confidence!
    3. LOVE ‘THAT’ confidence even more!
    4. Too true!!! 😉

    Aww… so glad to hear your hubby’s behind you 100%! You know, I think there were two writers from TX who made the drive, but they did it together. But still, it’s definitely doable. 😉

    Thanks for commenting!

  38. Hi Julie!

    Hooray for backloading!!! Isn’t it amazing how much stronger the read is?? Enjoy using the EDITS system! I KNOW you’re pages will shine brighter than the north star when you’re through! 😀

    Thanks for commenting!

  39. Hello again, Z!

    Woo hoo! So glad you found the post helpful!!

    Thanks for commenting! 😀

  40. Hi Donna –

    Oh, enjoy the downloaded lecture packet! It’s a lot to get through, I know, but well worth the time and brainpower invested! One idea I picked up from Immersion Master Class is to take the lecture packets and have them printed and spiralbound over at Kinko’s, Office Max or Staples (or any other store like that). I’m taking mine this weekend to have that done. I know that’ll help save me some shelf space. 😉

    Thanks for commenting! 😀

  41. Hi Michael –

    Join in on the fun over at Margie’s site! Each online class is an opportunity to learn, connect, and network a bit with other writers. You’ll definitely gain a LOAD of confidence by doing that. I know I did!

    Thanks for commenting!

  42. Hi Laura –

    Yes, I’m like you – I’m just getting started on all these lessons. I’ve taken 3 online courses, attended Immersion Master Class, and now I’m going to take Fab 30 and then after that…can’t decide just yet! But I’ll definitely be taking A LOT of these courses for quite some time. They are so worth it!

    Thanks for commenting! 😀

  43. Hi Shana –

    LOL! So glad you caught the “it!” Now that’s going to stick out at you every time you see it at the end of a sentence! 😉

    So glad you got something out of my post! And thank you for stopping by and commenting! 😀

  44. Angela –

    I know I said this earlier, but THANK YOU so much for having me here today and allowing me share what I learned!!! 🙂

  45. Hi Kath –

    Oh no! I bet you do miss that. 🙁 You’re exactly right – having that support system is definitely vital to our writing journey.

    Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  46. Aw, those awful “its” and “thats.” And those throwaway words. Always something to remember.


  47. Hi Julia,

    Yes, being around fellow writers – who have also been Margie-ized – is an incredible experience. If you’re ever able to get out to a writing retreat, I highly suggest it!

    Ooo, yes, I LOVE backloading! Amazing how it’s something you never really noticed until Margie teaches you, and you’re like, “Hey! That author should’ve backloaded that sentence/paragraph!” LOL!

    Thanks for commenting! 😀

  48. Hi Tami,

    I completely agree and understand on the writing retreat situation. It’s definitely tough to get a group of people together. But I do hope you’re all able to soon! Getting to meet them all in person is an amazing experience!

    Thank you so much! Restructuring sentences was one of the hardest techniques for me to learn, but once I got it down, it’s a bit easier. I find myself wanting to restructure sentences in published books now! LOL! It definitely makes a world of difference (cliche-alert!).

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting! 😀

  49. I would love to do her retreat, but I don’t see that happening. 🙁

    I’m a fan of all her lecture notes. Good thing since I’ll have to read them again soon.

  50. S. J. Maylee says:

    Such fun visiting all the posts and each were filled to the brim with good stuff. Backloading, love it. Thank you, ladies.

  51. Things I’ve learned using Margie’s lecture packets:

    1. Good writing can become stunning.
    2. I do not suck.
    3. I CAN do this writing thing.
    4. Margie is genius.

    An immersion trip is in my future. Heck, my husband told me “just drive.”

    From Texas. Alone?
    /slapped husband

    He knows how happy Margie’s lectures made/make me.


  52. Julie Glover says:

    Such valuable information! I went through recently and backloaded my WIP’s scenes. What a difference it made! I’m working through Margie’s Deep EDITS system now, and I’m eager to see how my writing improves.

    Thanks for sharing what you learned!

  53. Angela —


    Hope to meet you smile-to-smile in Atlanta!

  54. Kath –

    Immersion Master Classes are life-changers. What you learn to empower your writing, and making new forever-friends who empower your life.

  55. Hello Again to Julia!

    Backloading is powerful!

    I bet you notice when writers could have backloaded, but missed those opportunities to add power.

  56. Hello Tami —

    I would type, We meet again, but it’s so cliched. 😉

    For those of you looking for fabulous online critique partners, keep reading!

    My online classes provide an opportunity to deep edit with amazingly talented writers and authors. Sometimes NYT bestsellers take my advanced classes, and post assignments.

    Allison Brennan, NYT Bestseller, and multi-Margie-grad, has taken all my online courses. Some two and three times. She took my Fab 30 course last November, posted her 30 pages for critique from me and class members.

    If you have a couple of free minutes, drop by Allison Brennan’s website and check out her books!

    Visit my website too, and check out my courses. 😉

    Thanks for chiming in, again!

  57. Z says:

    This is one of those posts I’d like to bookmark and refer back to again and again – thanks for sharing all you’ve learned!

  58. I would love to be able to attend one of these. I’ve downloaded one of her classes and now have to actually do it. Once again, thanks to Stina.

  59. I’m jealous. I’d love to attend some conference like this to network with authors. My writing could only get better and maybe I’d have more confidence in it.

  60. Kath says:

    Thank you, Angela. I appreciate the link to The Critique Circle!

  61. I’ve gone through a couple of Margie’s packets and their incredible! Those lessons have stayed with me. I’d love to win another one!

    Thanks for sharing so much info!

    laurapauling at yahoo dot com

  62. Thank you, Angela, for having me on TBM today to share my experiences and lessons learned in Margie’s Immersion Master Class!

    And thank you, EVERYONE, for all the comments and for entering into the lecture packet giveaway! I’ll be responding to everyone’s comments later today! Promise!

  63. L. Blake says:

    I would like a writing group too.
    I’m going to save for workshop.

  64. Shana D. says:

    I’ve heard of Margie’s Immersion Master Class so it was great to hear first-hand from someone who has attended (I was going to end that sentence with “it”). Thanks to Melinda for sharing her experiences and the extra writing tips.

  65. Like you Tami, most of my critique partners and writing friends I’ve never met in person. How wonderful it would be to meet!

    @Julia, I like Margie’s lessons on backloading too. It is a simple thing to do, but what an impact.

    @Kath, there are lots of ways to find a writing group–talk to the people you interact with online through FB, Twitter or on blogs. Or, you could try The Critique Circle, which is a free online critique/writing community. It’s where I joined when I first started to get serious about writing–highly recommended. 🙂 Link:

    @Melinda, thank you so much for letting TBM be part of your journey with Margie. She is a wonderful teacher and has helped so many. I am so happy you got to learn from her in person!

    Happy writing, all!

  66. Kath says:

    What a fabulous opportunity to fine tune your craft!
    I have no writing group right now. Miss that.

  67. Having writers who support you is vital. I can’t imagine spending days doing nothing but hanging with fellow writers and working. What a wonderful experience.

    Backloading is one of my favorite things that I learned from Margie. It’s funny how something so small can really change how you feel about a sentence.

  68. Tami says:

    I would LOVE to do a retreat like that. I have a great writing group … but we’re scattered all over the globe and can only meet online. Someday, I’d love to try and plan a retreat … but right now, it’s just not financially viable for everyone.

    Loved the takeaways — restructuring sentences to make them stronger is a recent addition to my editorial toolbox, but it’s amazing how much difference even small changes can make!

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