Ask a Mermaid: The @MargieLawson Experience

Do you want to add a psychological punch to your writing and editing?

Are you interested in capturing the full range of body language on the page?

Is your goal to turn your work into a page-turner by powering up emotion and hooking the reader viscerally?

Well, duh! What writer doesn’t want to do those things? Recently, many of the mermaids left the lagoon for a writing workshop. What kind of awesomeness does it take to get us to leave the warm waters? The Margie Lawson kind.

Here are a few of the things we picked up during the Empowering Characters’ Emotions workshop presented by Margie Lawson and the Washington Romance Writers.


Denny S. Bryce said:

“I was reminded that revising a manuscript is a different ball game (cliche) than writing one, and there is an ebb and flow (cliche) to story telling that includes green, yellow, orange, blue with a well-timed blush of pink. As with any thoughtful craft session, I walked away from Saturday with another weapon in my writers toolkit (cliche, cliche, cliche:)! I also learned I can’t stop writing freaking CLICHES!

Seriously, Margie helped me understand how to avoid melodrama and the true meaning of cliche, especially as it applies to writing romance. So, what’s next now that I have these insights? I’ll let you know after I begin Margie’s class in January:)…”

Carlene Love Flores said:

“I left the Margie Lawson meeting feeling like a mad scientist, equipped with new-to-me terms like Anadiplosis, Anaphora, Haptics and Proxemics.  My favorite, Haptics, which is the power of touch and the easiest to pronounce 😉  And who can forget the term for when our normally lazy little body hairs stand at attention?  Pilo Erection! ”

Avery Flynn said:

“Some of my favorites include:

1. Write fresh. For example, don’t write ‘His stomach clenched.’ write something like, ‘His stomach shifted like a Buick on black ice.’

2. Always challenge your word choices.

3. Your character’s visceral reactions need to be caused by emotion and written in an expressive and fresh way.

4. Use words that carry psychological power and backload those words so that your sentences end with them. For example, ‘He’ll die if you give him the epi.’ becomes ‘If you give him the epi, he’ll die.’

5. A good way to slip in backstory is to slip it into dialogue cues and body language.”


A big thanks to Margie for inspiring so many mermaids. 🙂

About Avery Flynn

Writer. Smart Ass. Lover of Chocolate. Bringing steamy romance with a twist of mystery to the masses, one hot book at a time.

4 thoughts on “Ask a Mermaid: The @MargieLawson Experience

  1. You Mermaids make me laugh!

    I still don’t know what the hell a power word is but my WIP now has all kinds of pretty colors on it. 😉 Kidding! (Not really.)

    I got a lot out of Margie’s workshop – wish it had been longer. Off to write fresh….

  2. One thing I got out of it was to realize you still need to write the story before you can improve it with edits, deep or otherwise!

    I think the pink highlighter was the biggest (cliche alert) game changer for me. Just adding in another two suggestions of my hero’s reflexive response to first meeting his lady made my first page all the stronger.

    Denny, if you’re doing the overcoming self defeating behaviors workshop, I’ll “see” you there!

  3. Loved this workshop. My favorite tidbit that I picked up is how describing the way something is said can be used as a way to deepen character. I really liked Margie’s advice to replace some inane body actions (such as “she shook her head” or “he arched an eyebrow”) with an insightful description of voice.

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