Put Your Reader in Your POV Character’s Skin — By Margie Lawson

Welcome to More Cowbell! Today is Thoughty Thursday and I have a special treat for you. Our guest is the incomparable Margie Lawson. Her post is guaranteed  to get you thinking.

Whether you’re a reader or a writer, you will love Margie Lawson. She has a way of breaking down a scene…well, I’ll get out of the way so you can see her magic for yourself.

Oh, and Margie is giving away a Lecture Packet or Online Class TODAY! Read on and leave a comment for a chance to win. (I promise, you’ll be glad you did.)


A giant More Cowbell Hug to Jenny for inviting me to be her guest today!

Put Your Reader in Your POV Character’s Skin
By Margie Lawson

Readers read for emotional impact.

Readers want to immerse themselves in the story world. They want to feel emotion.

We’ve all read books that should have emotionally engaged us, but didn’t. Why not?

One answer is the strength of the writing. Strong writing carries psychological power that speaks to the reader’s subconscious.


Did you catch my meaning?  Here’s that sentence again:
Strong writing carries psychological power that speaks to the reader’s subconscious.

How do you add psychological power?
How do you speak to the reader’s subconscious?

That’s what my writing craft courses cover. I teach writers how to add psychological power and speak to the reader’s subconscious on every page.

I’ll analyze some excerpts and share a few deep editing points here. Please keep in mind what I cover in this blog is the itty-bitty tippy point of my teaching iceberg. An iceberg that is three miles deep.

Here’s that sentence one more time. This time, I’ll continue.

Strong writing carries psychological power that speaks to the reader’s subconscious. Strong writing is smooth and empowered. Strong writing creates page turners.

Here is an example from historical author Elizabeth Essex, The Danger of Desire. Elizabeth is a multi-Margie Grad and Immersion Master Class Grad too.

The Danger of Desire is set in London, November, 1799. Here’s a three-paragraph excerpt from page 3.

Meggs flexed her hands on the handle of her basket and wiped her fingers dry on the inside of her apron, swallowing the jitters that crawled up her throat. It would work. It always worked. Drunks were easy. Easy as taking gin from a dead whore. She gauged the distance and picked up speed, keeping even pace with the rising hammer of her heart, aiming to reach them just as they left the watery circle of lamplight. She’d be in the dark, and they’d never see her until it was too late.

Three yards to go. Two. Eyes and ears stretched open, blind to everything but the waistcoat pocket and deaf from the roaring of her blood, she put her head down and plowed right into them.

And it was dead easy. A turn of her body, a firm shove with the prickly reed basket, and the culls were separated and falling. And there she was, patient as the saints, waiting for the precise moment when his purse eased into her waiting hand, like a ripe plum plucked from a tree.

Deep Editing Analysis:

1.    Compelling Cadence: Every sentence propels the reader into the next sentence.

2.    Rhetorical Devices:

Three similes:

    • Easy as taking gin from a dead whore
    • patient as the saints
    • like a ripe plum plucked from a tree.

Metaphor: rising hammer of her heart

Anadiplosis: Drunks were easy. Easy as taking gin from a dead whore.

Alliteration – Last sentence: patient, precise, purse, plum, picked

3.    Five Visceral Responses:

    • sweaty fingers
    • jitters in throat
    • heart hammering
    • vision narrowed
    • hearing roaring of her blood

4.    Braided Scene Components: action, internalizations, body language, setting, visceral responses . . .

5.    Power Words: jitters, drunk, dead whore, hammer, dark, blind, deaf, roaring, dead, falling

6.    Sentence Structure: Varied. And the last two sentences start with “And.” They draw the reader in deeper.

7.    Conflict/Tension – Throughout

The second excerpt is from Darynda Jones,
Third Grave Dead Ahead, to be released January 31, 2012. Darynda is a multi-Margie grad too.

Here’s an excerpt from page 32. 

FYI: Charley is a private investigator, and the Grim Reaper. Charley’s dad says the first line.

            “I want you to quit the investigations business.”

Though his statement was only slightly less welcome than chlamydia, I had to give him kudos for using the direct approach. For a former detective who’d retired with honors, he could be the most evasive man in my immediate gene pool, so this was a nice change.

But give up my business? The same business I’d built from the ground up with my own two hands and designer Louis Vuittons? The same business for which I’d sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears? Well, maybe not sweat and tears, but there was blood. Lots of blood.

Give it up? Not likely. Besides, what else would I do? I totally should’ve gone to Hogwarts when I had the chance.

I shifted in my chair as Dad waited for a response. He seemed determined, his resolve unwavering. This would take tact. Prudence. Possibly Milk Duds.

“Are you psychotic?” I asked, realizing my plan to charm and bribe him if need be flew out the window the minute I opened my mouth.


“Dad, no. I can’t believe you’re even asking this of me.”

“I’m not asking.” His sharp tone brought me up short, and all the huffing and puffing that had built beneath the surface slammed into me, knocking my breath away. Was he serious?

Deep Editing Analysis:

  1. How many Humor Hits did Darynda give the reader in that 233 word excerpt?

* less welcome than Chlamydia
* the most evasive man in my immediate gene pool
* built from the ground up with my own two hands and designer Louis Vuittons?
* not sweat and tears, but there was blood. Lots of blood.
* I totally should’ve gone to Hogwarts
* This would take tact. Prudence. Possibly Milk Duds.
* my plan to charm and bribe him if need be flew out the window

Seven  Humor Hits in one page.

2. We learned Dad’s back story in one sentence.
3. Every line in the excerpt is cadence-driven.
4. Visceral Response: slammed into me, knocking my breath away.
5. Varied sentence lengths, and sentence frags.
6. Conflict/Tension – Throughout

One more excerpt. This one is from a YA by
Lara Chapman, Flawless. Lara Chapman is a multi-Margie Grad, and an Immersion Master Class grad too.

 Chapter One

I love the first day of school. There’s nothing like a new start. New clothes, new classes, new goals. And maybe, just maybe, the possibility of meeting a new guy.

Especially when you’re a senior in high school.

With a last glance at the ensemble I’ve put together for my last first day of high school and a mental kiss to the hair gods for my stunning naturally blond wavy hair, I close my bedroom door then dance downstairs.

Where I slam headfirst into reality.

Next to my “You Are Special Today” plate, a tradition my mother started on my first day of kindergarten, polished silverware sits on top of a rhinoplasty brochure.

No napkin. Just the brochure.

I ignore my mother’s watchful eyes. “Real subtle, Mom.” I move the silverware, then flick the glossy trifold with the tip of my finger, scoring a beautiful two-pointer as it lands in the silver and black trash can.

I totally hate the word rhinoplasty. How can you not think of a disgusting two-ton mammal when you hear that word?

Just call it what it is – a nose job.

Spatula in one hand, she pops the other onto her hip. “Just a suggestion, Sarah.”

“Yet still offensive. Couldn’t you have waited until, like, the second day of school to start in on me?” I stab the tasteless egg white omelet on my plate, wishing there were some crispy strips of bacon sitting next to it. It’s hard to believe I was actually born to this health-conscious runway-worthy woman. Being a Burke can be a serious pain in the butt.

“I only want what’s best for you. Now that you’re a senior, you’re old enough to make those changes we’ve always talked about.”

I drop the fork to my plate. “Not we, Mom. You. I don’t recall asking for the privilege of having some whack chop away at the nose you gave me. Just because you changed yours when you were eighteen doesn’t mean I have to.”

The honest truth is that I never would have requested this particular nose, but I’ve spent seventeen years learning to accept it.

“Sarah…” Mom stares at me, the wheels of her brain churning at top speed while her own omelet sizzles in the abandoned skillet. She doesn’t have to say what I know she’s thinking. How in the world will Beth Burke’s daughter ever follow in her news broadcasting footsteps with a honker the size of a Buick?

BLOG GUESTS: Are you in Sarah’s skin? Do you feel what she feels?

It’s your turn. The excerpt above is for you to analyze. 

You’ve read two deep editing analyses. They share points regarding what writers can do to add psychological power, to speak to the reader’s subconscious, and put the reader in the POV character’s skin.

I’m teaching Empowering Characters’ Emotions (ECE) online in February. The ECE class has 350+ pages of lectures. It’s loaded with deep editing systems and psychologically-based techniques that I developed, as well as teaching points and lots of examples. If you have questions about my courses, or Immersion Master Class, please ask!

If you like, post a comment and share a deep editing point from the excerpt from Flawless, by Lara Chapman.

Or – post a comment and say Hi!

Post any comment, and you’re entered in tonight’s drawing.

YOU MAY WIN a Lecture Packet or an online course by Margie Lawson, or Tiffany Lawson Inman, from Lawson Writer’s Academy!

Online Classes offered by Lawson Writer’s Academy in February:

  1. Taking a Book from Good to Sold, by Shirley Jump
  2. Kills, Chills, and Thrills: Writing the Thriller Novel, by C.J. Lyons
  3. Taming WordPress: Create and Maintain Blogs and Websites, by Tamela Buhrke
  4. Platforms Aren’t Shoes.  Start Marketing BEFORE You Finish That Book, by Tamela Buhrke
  5. The Triple Threat Behind Staging a Scene:  An Actor’s Take on Writing Physicality, Choreography, and Action, by Tiffany Lawson Inman
  6. Empowering Characters’ Emotions, by Margie Lawson

I’ll post the winner’s name tonight, 9PM Mountain Time.
Thank you for visiting MORE COWBELL today!

Announcement from Margie: THE WINNER IS PAMELA MASON! Pamela — You won a Lecture Packet, or an online course from me or from Tiffany Lawson Inman.

Margie Lawson —psychotherapist, editor, and international presenter—developed innovative editing systems and deep editing techniques used by writers, from newbies to NYT Bestsellers. She teaches writers how to edit for psychological power, how to hook the reader viscerally, how to create a page-turner.

Thousands of writers have learned Margie’s psychologically-based deep editing material. In the last seven years, she presented over sixty full day Master Classes for writers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

For more information on Lawson Writer’s Academy, lecture packets, full day master classes, and the 5-day Immersion Master Class sessions offered in her Colorado mountain-top home, visit:  www.MargieLawson.com.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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163 Responses to Put Your Reader in Your POV Character’s Skin — By Margie Lawson

  1. Loved your article and examples. Would love to take a class with you as I’m always looking up for improving and refining my craft. Thank you for taking the time to share 🙂


    • Hey Christine!

      Thank you! Hope to see you in Empowering Characters’ Emotions in February. ECE is the first of my BIG THREE writing craft courses.

      Thanks for being the first to post!


  2. Gene Lempp says:

    Excellent examples, the Laura Chapman one nails the teen age girl on the head. Flawless. (I have four teen daughters, so that is an expert opinion).

    Thanks for having Margie stop in Jen. You always find the best 🙂


  3. What a treat! Margie (my mentor, even if she didn’t choose the role), and Jenny (Humor Hit Queen of Blogging) on the same page. Heads up, Jenny. Keyboards across the Cowbell herd plan a class-action lawsuit for beverage spew assaults. The Geek Squad attempts to block it b/c of the potential threat to revenues.

    Ahem. Multi-Margie Grad, two-time IMC Grad, and five-time Winner of Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile-Award…

    Okay. Scratch the last bit–shameless plagiarism of JK Rowling’s Professor Lockhart. The others are true.

    *Sherry and/or Jessica, I KNOW you’re thinking I’m going to show off my STELLAR knowledge of the RHETorical DEVices LISTed in Margie’s classes.*

    You’re wrong.

    My new-true-love, RHETt DEVLIShT joined me for coffee. I haven’t looked at him yet. He’s tempting. This is a test of my will-power. Asyndeton AND anaphora in the “new” sequence. Metaphor and humor hit with the Honker/Buick reference. Woot! Love the white space and the single-sentence-frag slam back to reality.

    I won’t list everything I see b/c Jenny likely has a top-secret word-count limit. And she might cut me off mid senten


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Now when have I ever actually cut you off??? 🙂

      This killed me: “Heads up, Jenny. Keyboards across the Cowbell herd plan a class-action lawsuit for beverage spew assaults.”

      I’m telling you, Gloria, this year of the Publishing Dragon is gonna bring big things for you!!


    • Gloria —

      I knew you’d catch some Rhetorical Devices! Knew you’d love the honker/Buick metaphor. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your inimitable self!


  4. ce. See? I knew it all along.


  5. Sherry Isaac says:

    Deferring analysis to Gloria. You know she’ll be back. She’s twitching in her kitchen in Texas right now, flip flops a-flapping, fingertips hovering over her keyboard. Must… post… another… comment…

    I can not get enough Margie. Writing classes will never be behind me, not if I want to keep growing, personally and in my craft. Magically, I am enrolled in three more classes at Lawson Writer’s Academy. WOOT!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sherry, I can feel her twitching all the way over here in California. So if you can feel her in Canada, we should see her shortly.


    • Sherry —

      Ah. I can’t get enough Sherry!

      You’re enrolled in three more Lawson Writer’s Academy courses? Smart!

      Immersion Grads are the smartest!

      Hope to see you in Advanced Immersion in May . . . I need more Sherry time!


  6. Great post! I signed up for Empowering Characters Emotions. Can’t wait until February 1st when I get to LEARN all those awesome devices!


  7. The examples of the teen girl is flawless as I remember the species. as always, Margie is a font of information and wisdom


  8. DiAne Gates says:

    Oh those teen conversations at the breakfast table. Does not make my heart beat for a rerun. I am looking, with great anticipation, to the February class, Margie.


  9. Ruby Johnson says:

    Good post. I learn something everytime I read a blog post or lecture of Margie’s.


  10. Stacy Green says:

    Great examples. I’ve learned a lot from the Empowering Characters packet I won here at More Cowbell. The examples make a huge difference. Thanks!


    • Hello Stacy!

      So glad the ECE Lecture Packet hooked you!

      The next course in my BIG THREE — is DEEP EDITING: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More. I bet you’d love learning how to add power to your writing with 30 rhetorical devices. 🙂


  11. Libby says:

    I am a huge fan of Margie’s workshops, and found this article extremely helpful. Thank you, Jenny and Margie 🙂


  12. Jann says:

    Great post today. Several friends have taken your classes and loved them. Taking one myself is on my bucket list.


    • Jann —

      GRAB YOUR BUCKET — and sign up for Empowering Characters’ Emotions in February!

      Whoops! Hope that didn’t come across too strong.

      I just received an email from a Margie Grad — that she SOLD!

      I won’t share her name until I have her permission. But here’s a line from her email:

      The book I was working on at your workshop just got bought by Kensington. You were one of the people I wanted to share the good news with because your EDITS system really helped me tighten my writing.



  13. CR says:

    Great comments. You folks are a hoot!

    Love Lara’s alliteration in the last paragraph: Sarah, stares, speed, sizzles, skillet and Beth Burke’s, broadcasting, Buick.

    Margie is a national treasure. For those of you who haven’t taken her courses: do.


  14. Tee says:

    This is extremely helpful and at the perfect time for me 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!


  15. Diana Quincy says:

    Thanks for this post and the fantastic analysis. I ordered one of Margie’s lecture packets and keep going back to it again and again, especially when it’s time to polish my manuscript, when the basics are there, but the writing now needs that special something to take it to the next level.


  16. Kerri Nelson says:

    Hiya Margie,

    You already know I’m a fan and a true believer in your many methods! Had to stop by and ring the cowbell today. 😉



  17. rhay says:

    Perfect timing on this post Margie. I was just having this discussion with my EP partner. And you said what I tried to say so much better. Thanks so much for sharing with us.



  18. MM says:

    Wonderful blog. It’s always so enlightening to look at other people’s work. And as always, Margie has so much to say it takes several reads to even begin to soak her knowledge in. I’m going to head over and look at signing up for Margie’s ECE class!! Thanks, Jenny and Margie!


    • Hello MM —

      Several reads — Smart!

      I had such fun at dinner with you and Jodi and Pam and all — in Birmingham. Hope to see you in 2012 — at National – or on the mountain!


  19. Loved the insight supported by examples. Do you know what I’d like to see changed? This line:

    Spatula in one hand, she pops the other onto her hip.

    I’d rather have the mom reinforce her nose is small, pert and perfect with something like:

    Mommy dearest runs the tip of one finger over her small, pert and perfect nose.

    Just a thought. Mel


  20. Jax Bubis says:

    …easy as taking gin from a dead whore. WOW. That’s great writing. Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring us to up our game.


  21. Wow! This was incredible, and something that I have always struggled with. Thanks for pointing out some SUPERB examples. Gives me a lot to think about. 🙂


    • Hello Midnight Novelist!

      Thank you. I agree. They are SUPERB examples.

      Hundreds more Teaching Points and examples in my courses. 🙂 If you have questions, feel free to email me: margie @ margielawson . com.


  22. Bren says:

    I loved your DEEP EDITS packet. SO much useful information that improved my craft almost immediately. My RWA chapter members swear by your teaching and they are right. I am really interested in the Empowering Characters Emotions workshop. And am seriously considering the Masters immersion class this summer. 🙂


    • Bren —

      Thank you for sharing! Which RWA Chapter? Please thank them for me!

      Woohoo! Would love to work with you in Immersion Master Class!

      This week — I’m adding more dates on the Immersion page on my web site. The Immersion class that Lara Chapman (FLAWLESS author) was in, is returning for an Advanced Immersion class in July. I’ll add an Immersion class to my schedule for August.

      FYI: Immersion enrollment is limited to six.

      And — I was serious about — which chapter! Please fill me in. 🙂


      • Bren says:

        Hi Margie,

        It’s the OCC RWA chapter, which is how I know Jenny, Laura, etc. They are great cheerleaders for you–and deservedly so!


  23. Hi Margie! I’ve added The Danger of Desire to my to read list. What a powerful excerpt and fresh writing. After taking your classes, I’ve noticed myself examining the books I read.

    I’ve also been telling all my writer’s group members to take your classes. I hope they do! I’ve learned so much from you and look forward to learning more in April.


    • Haley – –
      Elizabeth Essex’s writing will WOW you!
      CAUTION: Don’t start reading THE DANGER OF DESIRE unless you have a couple of hours to immerse yourself in the power of her words!

      Thank you for referring your writer’s group members to my classes. I appreciate you.
      See you in Fab 30 in April. 🙂


  24. MonaKarel says:

    Great quick lesson for a late morning digestion. The third excerpt sucked me right back to the “you’ll never be good enough” place. I already dislike the mother and admire the girl for being as positive as she is.
    I missed attending a Margie Lawson workshop when you were in Albuquerque. Thought I could get away for a day but fates conspired against me.


    • Hey Mona!

      So sorry fate kidnapped you when I presented in Albuquerque. I love that group! Such talent — Molly Evans, Darynda Jones, Robin Perini!

      I’ll come back and present a different full day Master Class!

      Ah – Lara Chapman’s writing is STRONG.


  25. What a fantastic post, Margie!!! Thank you for using an excerpt from Third Grave, and those excerpts from Elizabeth (a Ruby sister!) and Lara (a great friend!) were AMAZING! Oh my gosh, I loved them both so much. Thank you for sharing and for your excellent breakdowns. I ALWAYS learn something from you!!!!


    • Hey Darynda!

      So cool that you know Elizabeth and Lara. They’re both Immersion grads, but different classes.

      You know I love your writing. THIRD GRAVE is as strong as your first two in the series. They’re all fresh and funny and fabulous!


  26. Jumping in to say hi, then back to work. I’m in a Margie class now. And loving what I’m learning.



  27. Julie Golden says:

    This post is my first exposure to you, Margie. Loving your directness and style of simplifying a complex process. You have such a supportive way of teaching how to line up words in an order that is more likely to touch a reader’s emotions. Thank you. I’ll dig deeper into what your Academy offers.


    • Hello Julie!

      Great to e-meet you! Glad you like my psychologically-based deep editing analyses.

      I’m teaching Empowering Characters’ Emotions online in February. It’s the first in my BIG THREE writing craft courses.

      If you have any questions, please email me: margie @ margielawson . com.

      Thank you.


  28. Colleen Shine Phillips says:

    Okay, so the main thing I got out of this post, besides enjoying Margie’s input, the great way she breaks things down, and the fantastic examples (I want to read all those books now!) is. . . .I want to be a Margie-Grad, too!!! Thanks for sharing this post–enlightening like always.


  29. Sue Laitinen says:

    This is a first for me visiting this blog, and very informative. I’ve learned something! Even had to look a few things up! Really enjoyed this. Thank you for the insight that even just a few paragraphs can give. I actually enjoyed breaking down the paragraphs and going over them again with someone elses insight. Glad I found the link! I’ll have to look into the classes.


    • Hello Sue —

      Thank you for taking a chance and clicking on Jenny Hansen’s MORE COWBELL blog. Glad you learned something.
      Ah — I wonder if you looked up anadiplosis. It’s one of the 30 rhetorical devices I teach in DEEP EDITING.

      Empowering Characters’ Emotions is the first class in my BIG THREE writing craft series.

      I’m glad you found this link too! If you have any questions about my courses, please ask. margie @ margie lawson . com.

      Thank you.


  30. Lisa Wells says:


    I’m saving my pennies, nickles and dimes so I can visit you on the mountain someday. I’m currently in your Fab 30 class and loving the chunks of knowledge I’ve gained as a result. Thanks for all you do to help writers.

    Lisa W


    • Hello Lisa Wells!

      So glad you’re in FAB 30 now. I’m enjoying your voice and writing and story. I’ll deep edit your next set of pages later tonight.

      It would be so great to work with you in Immersion Master Class! Save more dimes. Come to Immersion in 2012!

      I’m adding more classes. Check my web site this weekend — and the summer and fall dates will be posted.

      Thanks! See you in class!


  31. Brandie Nickerson says:

    An awesome post! Thank you for sharing 🙂


  32. tomwisk says:

    Blog hit home. I’ve got a character whose a sleaze at the heart of it but I want my readers to invest the time. I don’t see rehabilitation for him. The blog has given me a way to have the reader feel for him and be willing to ask “What comes next?” and most of all I want them to wonder where the character is going after the story is done. Didn’t you ask yourself “What happens to Rick and Capt. Renard?” at the end of Casablanca. (Ans) Some hack pitched it as a TV series.


  33. Edie Houston says:

    Thought the examples were terrific. At first, when reading “Flawless”, I was jarred a bit by the immediate voice. I’m not used to that voice, but I certainly could identify with the character. I had one of those mothers who delighted in pointing out that I was something of a disappointment. I think we all have had one of those days where the future looked sunny and bright and full of hope until the wet blanket of reality came crashing down,


    • Hello Edie —

      Glad the empowered writing in the examples grabbed you.

      Love the way you connected with Sarah and her relationship with her mother.

      Thank you for chiming in!


  34. Amazing guest post!! Wow – I loved the detailed analysis because it really helped showcase exactly WHAT makes writing so powerful. What works!! Thank you so much!
    Loved the piece by Lara. I was totally able to step right into the character’s skin no issue. I went from being happy-go-lucky, upbeat and excited to seriously frustrated, annoyed…and a little hurt! Loved:
    mental kiss to the hair gods
    slam headfirst into reality
    “Real subtle, Mom.”
    flick the glossy trifold with the tip of my finger
    stab the tasteless egg white omelet on my plate
    Not we, Mom. You.
    How in the world will Beth Burke’s daughter ever follow in her news broadcasting footsteps with a honker the size of a Buick?
    Amazing. Each piece kept me wanting more and took me deeper into the character. I am all up and arms and offended FOR HER that her mother would SUGGEST such a thing – HOW dare she?!?!
    Loved it!
    Thanks for the uberlicious guest post Jenny – as always – you deliver! MUAH!


    • Lara Chapman says:

      Thanks so much, Natalie! I had a wonderful mother, but – GOD LOVE HER – she was absolutely incapable of letting a single flaw pass her scrutiny. So glad you enjoyed it!



      • Jenny Hansen says:

        Whereas, every time I complained about the miniscule facial defects that teens obsess over, my mother would laugh at me and say, “Uh-oh. Defect- defect! Defect-defect!” It definitely worked to defuse the HUGENESS of the moment. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Great comment, Natalie! You picked so much up…talented girl. 🙂

      Cyber hugs back!!!


    • Natalie —

      Ah – You liked my deep editing analyses. I bet you’d like my EDITS System too. It’s a highlighting system that SHOWS writers how to analyze scene components. Even writers who are highlighter phobic overcome their aversion to highlighters — and use the EDITS System. 😉

      Wow! Loved your list!

      Thanks so much for posting!


      • I know I’d absolutely love your EDITS System!! I love red pens and highlighters!! Bring on the analysis!! Once I get more writing under my belt, I’ll definitely be signing up for some of your classes!!


  35. I already had this teacher worship thing going on when I sat in your session last year at DARA but the girls (Gloria and Sherry, above) sing your praises to me NON-STOP. I plan to do a class soon. I love this post.


    • Hello Brinda —

      You’re so fun!

      I love DARA! Such a strong group of strong writers. I’d love to present another full day Master Class for DARA. I think my full day for DARA was in 2008. Long time!

      Ah — Gloria and Sherry bewitched you. Those two are powerful in person, and on the page. :-))

      Thanks for posting!


  36. Hi Margie … I think it’s time I took another one of your courses, LOL!

    So humor is what I’ve chosen:
    How in the world will Beth Burke’s daughter ever follow in her news broadcasting footsteps with a honker the size of a Buick?

    Wonderful examples. Thanks for the great breakdowns!


  37. Carrie says:

    Wow, what an interesting article. I never really considered looking at my writing in this way but I’ll be sure to take a deep psychological view as I’m revising.

    The courses offered sound very interesting, I’ll definitely look into it.


  38. Lara Chapman says:


    Thank you so so much for including FLAWLESS in your guest blog today!

    Writers… if you haven’t put a Margie class on your calendar for the the first quarter of this year, what are you waiting on? I am not lying… NOTHING will boost your writing quicker than a Margie class. I attended her immersion class on the mountain last August and made some wonderful friends – in fact, we are meeting back on the mountain in July for a reunion Master’s class! I promise you, the time you put into a Margie class will pay you back in spades! PROMISE!

    HUG to you Margie – can’t wait to see you in July!



    • Lara –

      You know I love your writing and voice and characters and stories!


      Can’t wait to work with you and Suh-weet Success in Advanced Immersion class in July!


  39. pamelavmason says:

    Hello Margie,
    I have friends – lots of ’em – who SWEAR by your classes. And to think I skipped along merrily on my weekend when you were actually within driving distance!
    What Was I Thinking?
    Well, it’s obvious that I wasn’t.
    I’m between high school seniors this year (boys! Mercy!) so this excerpt resonated with me. Believe it or not, teen boys are every bit as self conscious as girls, as I’ve learned with my own hoof in mouth experiences.
    I loved this excerpt for its humor and the way its written for Sarah to be self aware and weary of her mother’s repeated criticisms without being snarky. She sounds like a senior ready to make more important decisions – like how to escape her mother’s career path and kitchen – than undergoing a nose job.

    Thank you and I’m going to deplete my Paypal account now on your site.
    Thank you too Jenny! Love this!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’re welcome, Pamela. I’ll be interested to hear which classes you pick. 🙂

      I’m using Margie as impetus to finish my book so I can go see her for my fiction. Hell, I might even go see her for my pregnancy memoir. 🙂


    • Hello Pamela!

      You’re fun! Where did I present that was within driving distance for you?

      Yay! I’ll get to work with you in an online class! Soon? February?

      Hope you left some money in Paypal for March classes. 🙂


  40. Kate Fall says:

    I’m signed up for Empowering Characters’ Emotions in February! Loved the line in FLAWLESS about “No napkin.” I really made me see that brochure in its starkness.


  41. Wendy Gray says:

    Hi Margie,
    I’m a graduate of your Empowering Characters’ Emotions class…loved it! Your techniques draw a reader in…these examples are proof positive of that. Thanks for your post!

    Wendy Gray


    • Hello Wendy G —

      Ah –Another ECE Grad. Glad you loved it!

      And – just an FYI — the next course, Deep Editing, goes deeper into the EDITS System, shares more deep editing tips, covers 30 rhetorical devices, and includes my Five Question Scene Checklist.

      I used to teach grad school — psychologists. I load my courses with lots of meat.

      Just had to share . . . 🙂


  42. gingercalem says:

    Margie — one of my favorite instructors. 🙂 Great examples and WOW, except of FLAWLESS, I simply must read and see if that mother ends up with any redeeming qualities. Having taken your ECE class, among others, I can’t recommend it enough. HUGS!!


    • Ginger —
      Ah — Thanks for making me smile!
      You’ve got to read FLAWLESS. You’ll love it!
      Thanks for the kudos. I am uber-appreciative. 🙂
      Hope to see you in another class. Check out FAB 30: Advanced Deep Editing, in April.


  43. Marilyn Dieckmann says:

    Thank you… your article is perfectly timed and offered a banquet for thought!


  44. I am in love with this post!!! I tweeted a link, bookmarked for more, and am pulling up info for future classes! Thanks ladies 🙂


  45. Jane says:

    I really want to read Danger of Desire now! Thank you for the analysis, I really appreciated the way you broke the paragraphs down.


  46. Excellent post! Love the examples with the detailed analysis because it really shows what makes for powerful writing. Thank you!

    As a SAHM I don’t have a budget for classes but man, Margie’s are definitely on the bucket list. Heck, adding to the 2012 master list of goals, I will take one by the end of the year!


    • Hello Raelyn —

      Woohoo! I love the detailed analysis too. 🙂

      I look forward to seeing you in a class sometime this year! And — the Lecture Packets are $22 each. They may fit your budget.

      Thanks for chiming in!


  47. Sher says:

    Your timing couldn’t be better; my writing buddy and I were discussing character depth just this morning. And, oh, you explained it so much better than I. How vivid. Thanks! I’m checkin’ into those classes of yours.

    I linked to your blog from the RMFW listserve. I’d not read it before; now, I will again. Thanks for sharing this powerful mini lesson from Margie.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sher, I hear the best things about Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers! Thanks for the link. 🙂

      My About page will tell you most of what we get up to over here…we like to have a good time. Welcome and please ask me if you have any questions about the topics or where to find things.


    • Hello RMFW Member Sher!

      Do you live in the Denver area?

      Glad you liked the blog. Maybe I’ll see you in a class — or in person — sometime!


  48. I really love reading Margie’s guest posts…thanks for having her, Jenny!


  49. Claire says:

    HI Margie (and Jenny),

    All my writer friends talk about Deep POV, but not one of them could explain how it is done. Now I get it. Or at least have a better idea. Thanks for the revelation. Loved the examples. Though I would have had the girl blow a kiss to the hair gods.

    Just signed up for your class in February.

    Thanks Jenny for hosting her on you blog.


  50. Hi Margie, Thank you for another great post. Just signed up for your “February: Empowering Characters’ Emotions 2012” as a refresher/continuous learning. Cheers, Ashley


  51. Tina says:

    Hi Margie– Great Blog! One thing I’ve been working hard on is usuing similies and metaphors and STRONG verbs! 🙂 Love your workshops. –tina


  52. Fae Rowen says:

    Wow, Margie! You managed to get a class in a blog! Just another way you’re amazing. Looking forward to the Immersion class this summer.


    • Fae —

      You’re right! My blogs are mini-lectures.

      I’m excited about you hosting an Immersion class in your home before RWA National too!

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!


  53. Margie, brilliant blog. I’m looking forward to the empowering characters and deep editing classes coming up. And thanks for taking the time out to give me a pointer for leaving a comment. It’s worked this time.


  54. Thank you, Margie. Always, always learning from you. Spent 2 hours this morning with your lectures! Felt like I’ve grown a few inches in confidence to tackle some editing.


    • Nina –
      Thank you!
      Loved your fresh writing: Felt like I’ve grown a few inches in confidence to tackle some editing.
      Can’t wait to feature you on my PUBBED MARGIE GRAD BLOG on Feb. 8th!


  55. Tessa Apa says:

    I am already enrolled for the Empowering Characters Emotions course next month. Thank you so much for making the classes so afforable! I must say the Structure Safari was the absolute best money I have ever spent to help improve my writing 🙂


    • Tessa —
      Looking forward to working with you in ECE in Feb!

      Lisa Miller taught STORY STRUCTURE SAFARI – for Lawson Writer’s Academy — and it was a brilliant class. She’s teaching it again in April. Tell your writing friends!


  56. Those were all wonderful excerpts! I would be extremely interested in taking a class with you! Is there a registration process for those of us who do not win? Thanks for sharing, and any information you can give me.


  57. Catie Rhodes says:

    This convinces me that I need to read back over my ECE packet. Your examples and explanations are always top rate. Keep on rockin’, Margie.


    • Hey Catie —

      Glad you’re getting a lot of use out of the ECE Lecture Packet. Hope you have those 350+ pages in a binder. 😉
      And — Hope to see you in DEEP EDITING class in March. It’s the follow up class to ECE. You’ll learn lots more!


  58. Olga Oliver says:

    Margie, can’t wait for the SDB class to be over so Empowering Characters can begin. Appreciate your blog with Jenny and am having fun with a few new words: anadiplosis, anaphora, visceral response, etc. My first reaction was: hey, they sound like diseases. Thanks also for yours about “as”. One of my favorites to use.


  59. I’m addicted to left brain/right brain analysis. This left me almost speechless. So many times I’ve read an evocative piece of writing (as above) and down the face-palm trying to figure out what made it so. I want to learn how to do this!


    • Hello Debra!

      I’m a psychologist — so left-brain / right-brain, and analysis, is my world.



      If you have questions, please email me: margie @ margielawson . com.

      Thank you!


  60. eden baylee says:

    Excellent examples and would love to learn more. Thanks for a very informative read.


    • Eden —

      Yay! Glad you liked my deep editing analysis. Hope you sign up for EMPOWERING CHARACTERS’ EMOTIONS!

      If you have questions — please email me: margie @ margielawson . com.

      Thank you!


  61. Lynn Shoemate says:

    This was my first time to read this blog. Enjoyed it. I will have to check out Margie’s classes. I need help!


    • Hello Lynn —

      Welcome to Jenny Hansen’s blog, and my deep editing world!

      Please drop by my web site, http://www.MargieLawson.com — and click on the LAWSON WRITER’S ACADEMY tab.

      If you have questions about the classes ore registration process, please email me:
      margie @ margielawson . com.

      Thank you! I look forward to seeing you in an online course. 🙂



    Wow! I hear the COWBELL ringing!

    A big THANK YOU to everyone who posted comments. I enjoyed meeting new people and hugging friends. You all are awesome!

    FYI: If you liked this blog, you’d like my newsletter.
    Each issue includes a Deep Editing Analysis. A mini-lecture from me.
    If you have not subscribed to my newsletter, please visit the home page of my web site and click to subscribe. www. MargieLawson . com
    Thank you!

    I went to random.org to select the winner.

    THE WINNER IS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAMELA MASON!

    Pamela — You won a Lecture Packet, or an online course from me or from Tiffany Lawson Inman.
    Please email me to coordinate your win.

    THANK YOU AGAIN to JENNY HANSEN for inviting me to be her guest. And — I’ll be back next month too!

    All smiles……………Margie


  63. Yeay! You used examples from great ladies with great writing!

    I had to pop over and say hello you, mom. HELLO!

    You had better do the same 🙂 Come say Hi to me tomorrow!!!!!
    I’m guest blogging over at http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/
    Writing Naked Will Take You To The Top!


  64. I took two of your classes, Margie, after I bought the lecture packet for the first one. They have all been incredible. I’m soon to be published, and I believe I owe it, in great part, to your coaching! Thanks so much!

    To other readers of this blog: Take Margie’s classes. Do it. Now.

    Full disclosure: Margie didn’t tell me to say this. I did it all on my own. 🙂


    • Hello Soon-To-Be-Published Suzanne Lilly!


      And — I would love to feature you on my PUBBED MARGIE GRAD BLOG!

      Please email me – and we’ll set it up close to your release date.

      THANK YOU for the KUDOS! I’m grinning! 🙂

      Hope to hear from you soon: margie @ margielawson . com.



  65. This is one of those posts you gotta print out and read a few times. Excellent. Just pure excellence in teaching. I love learning by example.


    • Nicole —

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

      I hope to see you in one of my online classes. Maybe — Empowering Characters’ Emotions, in February?

      If you have questions, ask! margie @ margielawson . com


  66. Wow, what an awesome post ~ chock full of good advice and examples. Thanks so much Jenny for having Margie here and thank you Margie for giving back to us writers. Like Nicole above said, this is a post that needs to be printed out and read a few times.


    • Tameri —

      So glad you liked the examples – and my deep editing analyses.

      I have to add, you’d like my courses! 😉

      If you have questions about my courses, please email me: margie @ margielawson . com.

      Thank you!



    Thank you for all the smiles!

    I will respond to all the comments. Please check back late this afternoon or evening.

    I’m teaching two online classes this month. I’ll teach in those cyber classrooms all afternoon — and later tonight. 🙂

    Enjoy your Friday!

    All smiles……………Margie


  68. Sonya says:

    Wow-great post. My RWA group swears by Margie’s teachings too-she’s the J.K. Rowling of the how-to-write LOL


    • Sonya –

      Woohoo! Love that compliment!

      I have to know — WHICH SONYA ARE YOU? Are you one of the Sonya’s from Silicon Valley RWA? The Sonya I sat next to at dinner at the Mexican Restaurant on a Saturday night in February, 2011?

      If you’re that Sonya — I remember you from BOTH of the times I presented full day master classes for SVRWA. I’m just not sure about your last name. G__ddes?

      Please email me! margie @ margielawson . com. :-))

      Thank you for sharing your kudos and talent!


  69. Wonderful post. I looked at the course list, now I just have to decide which one to take.


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  72. Holy Cow! Look what I missed. Just catching up with emails and posts Jenny. Where was I when this posted? Oh yeah, the hospital. Good grief. That was a wonderful post! And what an awesome response. Boy you were busy the other day. Thank Margie for me, will you? Oh, and thank you too Jenny! As always, another terrific post!:)


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