FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10, 2012

A heartfelt THANK YOU to Autumn Jordon and PFS for inviting me to be their guest today!


Winning Backstory: Not an Oxymoron

By Margie Lawson


You can write backstory that makes me smile.

You can write backstory that earns the coveted Margie margin note, NYT.

You can write backstory that boosts your novel onto bestseller lists.

Or you can write backstory that invites me to skim.

Are you in?

What is backstory? It’s history. It’s the events that led up to your story before the story opens. Often, motivation for your POV character’s decisions and actions are in the backstory.

Sometimes backstory is stagnant. Flat. Boring.

Readers lose interest in the book and put it down.

AACK! You want to write an unputdownable novel.

The best way to include the absolutely required backstory and keep your novel fast-paced, is to sprinkle it in your story.

With my EDITS System, backstory will jump out at you in big puddles of YELLOW.

Too much backstory grinds your story to a halt. Cliché alert!

Too much backstory grinds your story to a screeching halt. Bigger cliché alert!

Managing backstory is tricky. Writers always think the reader needs all the history the writer created in his/her mind.

Not true. The reader only needs what little information required to buy the story.



When you review a scene, analyze the backstory, ask yourself if the reader needs to have that information now. Or – if they need that information. Period.

One rule of thumb for managing backstory (cliché alert) is to withhold backstory until after chapter three. Those writers hypothesize that by then, your reader is hooked on your story and will tolerate some chunks of backstory.

Not my favorite plan.

Some authors hold off backstory in the first few chapters then start feeding the readers chunks of backstory. Sometimes pages of backstory.

Not my favorite plan.

Mark Sullivan (mystery/suspense/thriller writer) has a great plan for backstory management. Here’s his plan – which is my favorite plan.

He suggests writing down what you think the reader needs to know. Write a page or two of backstory. Not to be used in your book.

Grab a red pen – and go through your backstory points and circle what the reader absolutely has to know.

What they absolutely need to know.

Let go of things that you thought were important but don’t need to include. Just because you think it is interesting doesn’t mean the reader ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO KNOW IT.

Next, take those points you circled, that the reader absolutely needs to know, and picture them etched on a sheet of glass.

Got it?

You’re imagining those points imprinted on a rectangle of glass.

Imagine carrying that sheet of glass to a brick patio.

Imagine standing on a brick patio, holding that sheet of glass.

YOU KNOW WHAT’S COMING!

Drop that sheet of glass.

Watch it shatter.

Imagine picking up one thin shard of glass at a time – and slipping each sliver of backstory in your first 100 pages.

Repeat. You insert one sliver of backstory in those first 100 pages, one piece of backstory at a time.

Slip shards of backstory in natural-sounding dialogue or share it in a quick interactive way. You’ve got the first 100 pages of your book to fit in each sliver of backstory.

No info-dumps.

You’ll be so good at slipping in backstory that you’ll have a smooth, fast-paced read.

When I heard Mark Sullivan share this visual, it resonated with me. Great visual. Great
plan.

You may believe your genre or story or style needs more backstory as set up.

Okay. You may be right.

AND – I bet you can share the backstory in a compelling way.

When an author finesses backstory, it draws you in. Keeps the story moving. Makes the read more compelling.

When an author chunks back story, it stops the action. Stops the story. It tempts the reader to skim. And when someone is skimming, they’re not engaged in the scene. They’re no longer hooked.

Let’s dive into some examples of what works.

Example: From THE WOODS, by Harlan Coben. Prologue, first page, third paragraph:
I have never seen my father cry before—not when his own father died, not when my mother ran off and left us, not even when he first heard about my sister, Camille.
Analysis: What did Harlan Coben accomplish, and how?
He used the rhetorical device, anaphora, to share backstory. He gave the reader four hits of powerful backstory in one sentence. Four hits of powerful backstory in thirty-three words.
Read it out loud this time:
I have never seen my father cry before—not when his own father died, not when my mother ran off and left us, not even when he first heard about my sister, Camille.
Succinct. Informative. Fast-paced. Cadence-driven. Intriguing. Enticing.
No chunk of backstory that invites the reader to skim.
Plus - that one sentence introduces story questions.
 Why is his father crying?
 Why did his mother run off and leave them?
 What happened to his sister, Camille?
Smart to use a rhetorical device like anaphora to share backstory. Anaphora is one of the thirty rhetorical devices I cover in the Deep Editing course I teach in March.

Example: From STOP ME, by Brenda Novak, Chapter 1:

But Jasmine’s thoughts were so focused on what was in her lap, she couldn’t even raise her hand. She’d made that bracelet as a gift for her little sister. She remembered Kimberly’s delight when she’d unwrapped it on her eighth birthday, her last birthday before the tall man with the beard entered their house in Cleveland one sunny afternoon and took her away.

Analysis:

Look at that smooth passage. In just three sentences, Brenda Novak covered a lot of backstory.

 She showed how seeing her sister’s bracelet impacted Jasmine.
 She tapped emotion by sharing that the POV character made the bracelet for her little sister.
 She showed her sister’s joy.
 She slipped in her sister’s age
 She identified the city
 She shared that Jasmine’s sister was kidnapped

Plus, the cadence is strong. The words drive the reader through the paragraph from the first word to the last.

Example: DIVORCED, DESPERATE, AND DECEIVED, Christie Craig, Chapter 1, page 3:

“Did he bring her with him when he picked up Tommy?” Sue asked.

Kathy wished she could pretend she didn’t understand the question. Wished she’d never told them that Tom had married TOW, “The Other Woman.” But during the last Jack Daniel’s night—at which, quite unfairly, neither Sue nor Lacy could imbibe—Kathy had accidentally spilled her guts. Or at least she’d spilled a bit of them. The big secrets were still in the bag. And they could stay bagged. It would take more than a couple shots of Jack for her to hang out her dirty laundry. Even to her two closest friends.

Analysis:

Christie Craig shares her humor and her talent in this fast-paced addictive romance. This passage is a light read that carries a big hit of mysterious backstory. Kathy has secrets, big secrets, that she won’t divulge to her two best friends.

Hmm – makes you want to read more. Right?

Example: BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES, by Kristina McMorris,
Opening of Chapter 1, six paragraphs:

November 1941
Los Angeles, Calif.

At the sound of her brother's voice, flutters of joy turned to panic in Maddie Kern. "Cripes," she whispered, perched on her vanity seat. "What's he doing home?"

Jo Allister, her closest girlfriend and trusted lookout, cracked open the bedroom door. She peeked into the hall as TJ hollered again from downstairs.

"Maddie! You here?"

It was six o'clock on a Friday. He should have been at his campus job all night. If he knew who was about to pick her up for a date….

She didn't want to imagine what he would do.

Maddie scanned the room, seeking a solution amidst her tidy collection of belongings—framed family photos on the bureau, her posters of the New York Symphony, of Verdi's Aida at the Philharmonic. But even her violin case, which she'd defended from years of dings and scratches, seemed to shake its head from the corner and say, Six months of sneaking around and you're surprised this would happen?


Analysis: Kristina McMorris opens with tension, and slips in backstory in a short internalization and through setting. She uses the rhetorical device, personification, for the violin case to share this critical hit of backstory: Six months of sneaking around and you're surprised this would happen?

Kristina could have written a couple of typical feed-backstory-to-the-reader sentences about who Maddie was dating and why it would upset her brother if he knew. So glad she shared backstory in a more interesting way.

If you subscribe to RT, you’ll see Kristina McMorris’s smile on the cover of the March, 2012 issue. I bet you’ll enjoy the two-page article on Kristina and her WW II novels.

Example: THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD, by Darynda Jones – released, January 31, 2012

Third Grave Dead Ahead just hit #26 on the NYT Bestseller list! Kudos to Darynda Jones!

If you guessed that THIRD GRAVE was the third book in a series, you guessed right.

Here’s how Darynda shares some hints about her POV character in the third paragraph of page one.

My name is Charlotte Davidson. Charley to some, Charlotte the Harlot to others, but that was mostly in middle school. I came with a decent set of curves, a healthy respect for the male anatomy, and a slightly disturbing addiction to brown edibles. Other than that— and the fact that I’d also been born the grim reaper— I was about as normal as a surly girl with a private investigator’s license could be.

Darynda shared a lot of info with the reader in those 73 words on page one. Directly and indirectly.

On page six, Darynda introduced a main character. Here’s his intro and a quick hit of backstory.

Reyes Alexander Farrow— the part- human, part- supermodel son of Satan— materialized behind me, his powerful shoulders glistening as steam rose around him, giving the impression he’d just come from hell. He hadn’t, of course. He’d escaped from hell centuries ago and was currently furious with me for binding his incorporeal body to his physical one.

A compelling paragraph that shares backstory.

Darynda’s books are powered by humor and fresh writing. Strong deep editing fuel.

I’m proud to share that Brenda Novak, Christie Craig, Kristina McMorris, and Darynda Jones are all Margie-grads. :-))

Analyze your writing. Deep edit your scenes. Make your backstory carry style and power. Make your backstory boost your writing toward a contract or onto a best seller list!

It’s your turn now! Chime in.

Share your thoughts on these examples – or just say Hi!

POST A COMMENT – AND YOU MAY WIN a Lecture Packet or an online course by Margie Lawson or Tiffany Lawson Inman from Lawson Writer’s Academy!

I’ll draw the winning name tonight, 9:00PM Mountain Time. Check back and see if you’re the WINNER!
Please check out my deep editing courses, and other courses offered by Lawson Writer’s Academy. Thank you!

March courses include:

Using the Rule of Six for Plotting
Instructor: Shirley Jump

M&Ms for Characters: Milieu & Motivation
Instructor: Sharon Mignerey

Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More
Instructor: Margie Lawson


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 seventy 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, newsletter, and the 5-day Immersion Master Class sessions offered in her Colorado mountain-top home, visit: www.MargieLawson.com.



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62 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // February 10, 2012 at 1:35 AM  

    Hey, Margie! Welcome. I am so glad Autumn did what I failed to do, she got you here.

    Do you recommend working hard to make your opening perfect early in the process, or does it make sense to write your story or at least get into it and then edit for the things you mentioned?

    I am not a plotter or a 100% pantser.(maybe 75% pantser.)

  2. Rudy // February 10, 2012 at 2:17 AM  

    Love the visual of shattering glass. By the time I feed that much backstory in, my hands are bloody so I'm quite certain the glass is real.

    Very helpful. I need the help. I'm running out of bandages.

  3. Reid Lance Rosenthal // February 10, 2012 at 2:34 AM  

    Great! Employed the concept in a chapter tonight. Great! Am I repeating myself? :-)

  4. Sisters of the Quill // February 10, 2012 at 3:19 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  5. Sisters of the Quill // February 10, 2012 at 3:23 AM  

    Great post. It is a touchy topic. There are many real sticklers about backstory. I believe there are no absolutes. I've seen backstory done well in long chunks - even early in a novel. However, I believe it takes serious talent and a natural voice that hypnotizes the reader to pull it off. It helps to think of backstory, whether a shard or a huge picture window, as a technique that works well IF it helps drive the current day story forward. And IF it is organically triggered by something in the current story. – Karen Albright Lin

  6. Beth Trissel // February 10, 2012 at 5:52 AM  

    Hello Margie and welcome to the Fuzzies. Backstory and how to smoothly work it in and where is so important. Thanks so much for sharing your insights which I shall ponder...

  7. Judy // February 10, 2012 at 7:54 AM  

    Hi, Margie! So glad you could stop by the Fuzzies! As always I LOVE reading your blogs--you always make it seem so easy!! I'm rethinking a beginning chapter of mine in which the information is very important for the young reader to know...

  8. Jessica Aspen // February 10, 2012 at 8:44 AM  

    Boy, do you have a voice, Margie Lawson. I swear I am sitting in the room with you when I read your posts. And I definitely need backstory refreshers from you too! I should post it on my laptop using a big yellow star: Only tiny slivers!

  9. Sherry Isaac // February 10, 2012 at 8:55 AM  

    Margie! I joined Kiss of Death this week, and WOOT! So cool that my first Clues'n'News email was about you and this post!

    Trying very hard to show and not tell my heroine's back story in this snippet from the opening chapter of Ambrosia, book one in a series I have set in Toronto in the 1920s. Here it is:

    The driver held the umbrella aloft, far enough away from his own body to demonstrate good will, yet not so far that he would risk getting wet if this waif on the steps of Union Station were not indeed his charge. “Mrs. Barnes?”
    Tippy to her friends, Tabitha to Aunt Clover, Miss Wellington to her supervisor at the phone company. And Mrs. Grayson Barnes to a world awash in crisp linen, polished crystal and splendid parties. A world she did not know. A world she had no right to.
    She stepped away from the awning’s protection, less than a foot from the shelter of the umbrella, and blinked away the rain. And the tears. “I am.”
    The driver wrapped his fist around the handle of her satchel and held it away from his body, wrist loose, the way Tippy might hold the tail of a dead rat, but kept the umbrella steady over her privileged head until she ducked into the open door and slid into the back seat of the touring car. Model T? Or the Nash 680? Gray would have known.
    Tippy crossed her legs at the ankle, knees together, gloved hands folded in her lap. One false move and her naivete would be as easy to glimpse as her garter. It helped to imagine her elbow cupped in Gray’s guiding palm, his confident whisper low and sensual in her ear. The memory of his voice pinched her diaphragm. Silly girl. Five mere months of marriage and she could no longer breathe without him by her side.
    His touch, his voice, were gone, but his ring was still tight around her finger, too tight, a pain intoxicating and excruciating all at once.
    I miss you, Gray.

  10. Paula Martin // February 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM  

    Great advice, and some excellent excerpts to illustrate the right way to deal with backstory. Tease the reader with just enough, but not too much! I highlight backstory, and if the page lights up, I know there's too much all at once!

  11. Mark Stevens // February 10, 2012 at 9:55 AM  

    Really good advice...why would anyone want to put up a big stop sign in the middle of their story? Since I write crime fiction (and read tons of it) one device I really don't like is when the detective is handed the "murder book" or cold case file and we go on for pages about what happened up that point, all in dry, matter-of-fact back story as the detective "reads" (or as I like to think, as the writer tells us OTHER KEY FACTS he or she is too lazy to slip into the story and do so in less obtrusive fashion). Great column.

  12. Pamela Varnado // February 10, 2012 at 10:03 AM  

    Thanks for the advice, Margie. When I first started writing, I felt I needed to include backstory so the reader would understand my story. I'm a 100 percent better now, but after reading your post I see I still have much to learn. I can't wait to include your tips in my WIP.

  13. Linda Cacaci // February 10, 2012 at 10:06 AM  

    Margie,
    Wonderful info. I printed it out for future reference. Please enter me n the drawing.
    Linda Cacaci
    LinCaca3@aol.com

  14. Christie Craig // February 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM  

    HI Margie,

    Great post. Thanks so much for throwing Divorced, Desperate and Deceived into the mix of examples. Getting that back story in can be hard without making it sound like an info dump.

    Have a great day!

    CC

  15. Elizabeth Essex // February 10, 2012 at 10:12 AM  

    Love the shattered glass visual as well! So helpful and VISCERAL!
    I have two little cheats that help me. First, I tell myself, 'one fact, one feeling at a time.' I use an extra edits color in the middle of my yellow highlights to make sure I keep to that rule, because I have been known to dump!
    And when I find those dumps I ask myself WWMLS? "What would Margie Lawson say?" And I revise. :)

    Cheers, and thanks for the great post!

  16. Gloria Richard // February 10, 2012 at 10:19 AM  

    ENTHUSIASTIC waves, Margie!

    I always LOVE reading your posts. They're mini refreshers on your courses and a writing day energy bar.

    Thanks, PFSW, for bringing Margie to my screen today.

    For those of us in the WWMD (What would Margie do?) camp, the glass slivers of back-story are imbedded in our brains. In a writing craft visual way, that is. Not literally.

  17. Bratty // February 10, 2012 at 10:31 AM  

    This sounds like a terrific class! I see so many large passages of backstory in submissions that I sometimes wonder if authors know there's another way.

    outredgeous at gmail dot com

  18. MelCurtis // February 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM  

    It's a great visual to be able to reach over and just take a little shard of backstory when you NEED it. LOL

  19. Darynda // February 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM  

    What a great post! Backstory is not an easy thing to tackle without it sounding stilted or stagnant. I think the fresher and more interesting you can make it, the better.

    Thanks so much for this, Margie! As always, I learned something.

  20. Linsey Lanier // February 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM  

    Amazing post, Margie. I LOVE the shards analogy. I'll keep that in mind. And your examples were inspiring, as always.

    It took me forEVER to stop padding my first chapter(s) with backstory. My theory was that I didn't have enough main story. Didn't have a plot. Didn't have a story goal. Didn't know what my story was about. I can see that in my early writing. Hopefully, I'm well past that now, but it's always good to be reminded and get some more gems from you.

    If any writer wants to learn how to pack emotion (backstory or other) into a few sentences, take a Margie Lawson class.

  21. Patrice // February 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM  

    Margie,
    Great to see you here. Your info on backstory was great, and so were the excerpts you used as an example. OK, from now on, shards of glass, tiny slivers to be filtered in. I get it. I like it. Before I start to write I do a brief outline and it usually consists of back story so that I know who my characters are and what motivates them. It's so tempting to tell the reader all this wonderful stuff!!

  22. Janet Lane // February 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM  

    Hi, Margie,

    Good advice and excellent examples! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  23. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM  

    Mary --

    I recommend deep editing your opening, when you feel you're starting your book in the right place. :-)

    Great to see you again!

  24. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM  

    Rudy --

    Be gentle with those shards of backstory!

    No stabbing!

  25. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 12:13 PM  

    Reid --

    Glad you already applied what you learned from the blog!

    If you haven't taken any of my courses, you wouldn't know my courses are loaded with deep editing tips, techniques, and systems.

    You also wouldn't know each course has 350+ pages of lectures.

    Now you know! :-)

  26. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM  

    Hey Karen -

    You're right. No absolutes!

    Thanks for dropping by!

  27. Nightingale // February 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM  

    Margie, I had the pleasure (and good fortune) to attend a 1-day class with you at the Fort Bend Writers' several years ago. I am still using your technique with the colored pens and you advice to end a sentence with a powerful word. Please enter me in your contest!

  28. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM  

    Hello Beth --

    Happy pondering!

    Keep in mind, lots more to ponder in my online courses. :-)

  29. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM  

    Judy --

    Thanks!

    Glad you love what you learn in my blogs.

  30. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM  

    Jessica --

    So glad when you read me, you hear me.

    A fun spin-off for Immersion Master Class grads!

    After spending 4 days together from 8AM - at least 9PM, we are well connected!

  31. Anonymous // February 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM  

    Hello Margie,

    You mentioned Mark Sullivan gave you the analogy of the backstory slivers of glass.

    Is that the same author that wrote, Private Games
    Triple Cross
    The Serpent's Kiss
    Labyrinth
    Ghost Dance
    The Purification Ceremony
    Hard News
    and,The Fall Line ?

    I just found his site! I was hoping to find the article that you found the analogy in, to read more. Can you point me in the right direction?

    ~ Curious

  32. Barbara Rae Robinson // February 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM  

    Always nice to have a refresher, Margie. I love that shards of glass analogy.

    Barb

  33. Autumn Jordon // February 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM  

    I have my Margie bible (all her lectures)on my desk and open it often. I open it so often, the varnish on the desk is worn under it.

    If you haven't taken one of her classes, you must. You will learn so much. Caution; they're addicting.

  34. Julie Golden // February 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM  

    Thanks for an exceptionally inspiring and challenging post. I opened a fresh page and practiced with raw scenarios. What fun. I look forward to learning more from your generous instruction.

  35. fOIS In The City // February 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM  

    I loved this post, Margie. We all need to be reminded to put the backstory in, one dab at a time.

    One question: When isn't a current pop fiction novel "fast paced?"

    I get the idea of pacing the backstory, building tensino in the plot, developing believable characters, but I am not sure I am understanding your use of the words "fast paced."

  36. Josie // February 10, 2012 at 1:51 PM  

    Hi Margie!
    I'm waving madly and so thrilled that you're joining our Pink Fuzzy Slipper blog today. And a big thank you to Autumn for inviting you.

    I'm a grad of your wonderful classes and learned so much. Your shards of glass backstory analogy has stayed with me and been most helpful.

  37. Kristina McMorris // February 10, 2012 at 2:36 PM  

    I'm also a huge fan of the shards analogy! And of Margie's lectures. And of Margie. :)

    Thanks for including BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES in your examples! I'm honored and, given the company, very humbled.

  38. Mary Ricksen // February 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM  

    This for me is one of the best blogs we have ever had. I have a terrible time incorporating back story without it being back story! I so appreciate all of the suggestions you have given us here today. A real wealth of information, wonderful information! Thanks!

  39. Haley Whitehall // February 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM  

    Margie, this is a an article that I will print out and re-read for a friendly reminder. I love all your examples. They make the backstory jewels that shine in the story.

    This looks like another class from the academy I'd love to take.

  40. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 7:43 PM  

    Hello Immersion Grad Sherry -

    Yay! You're a KOD'er!

    Loved your example. STELLAR!

    Thanks for sharing your talent!

  41. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 7:44 PM  

    Hello Paula --

    Glad you liked the blog!

    I bet you'd like what you would learn in my online classes too. ;-)

  42. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 7:47 PM  

    Hello Mark --

    Great point about some crime novelists using the Murder Book to share backstory.

    Beyond annoying.

    Great to see you again!

  43. Marsha // February 10, 2012 at 7:48 PM  

    Nice to see this, Margie. Have cut the begining (3 chapters LOL, my ususal) of book 4 so much, a judge didn't get why my character went to another place. It's all about balance, and I will re-read the opening to see where I can slip in those shards of backstory. Thanks.

  44. Cauley Bennett // February 10, 2012 at 7:50 PM  

    I think something ATE my first comment so here I go again -- thank you!! Wonderful information, great visuals -- and perfect timing--boy, did I need to read this today!
    Cauley Bennett

  45. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 7:54 PM  

    Hello Pamela --

    Most newbie writers think they need all the backstory that's in their head, on the page.

    I remember chatting with a writer at a conference who said that the reader needed a lot of backstory for her book. She added--her story didn't get interesting until Chapter 6. Aack!

    If it's not interesting, most agents won't read past sentence six!

    Thanks for chiming in!

    Oh -- and if you haven't taken any of my online courses, please check them out. They are full of deep editing tips, techniques, and systems that I developed. Just go to my web site, www.MargieLawson.com, and click on Lawson Writer's Academy.

    Thank you!

  46. Tami Brothers // February 10, 2012 at 10:04 PM  

    Oh Margie! I am copying this for my file. I have several Margie Lawson articles and I can't thank you enough for sharing your knowledge with us.

    I have heard the best things about your classes and I can't wait to take one.

    Tami

  47. Mary // February 10, 2012 at 10:09 PM  

    I really enjoyed what you wrote back story. What does the reader need to know. I am taking that to heart. Thank you, Thank you!!

  48. Margie Lawson // February 10, 2012 at 11:55 PM  

    Hello Everyone!

    Thanks for dropping by today!

    My day ended up more packed than I anticipated. I will respond to all your comments. :-)

    I just determined the WINNER!

    And the WINNER is . . . . . . . . . . . . . MARK STEVENS!

    CONGRATULATIONS MARK!

    Please email me to coordinate your free online class!

    THANK YOU AGAIN -- TO AUTUMN JORDAN and THE PINK FUZZY SLIPPER WRITERS -- FOR INVITING ME TO BE YOUR GUEST TODAY.

    I look forward to coming back again!

  49. Margie Lawson // February 11, 2012 at 12:05 AM  

    Hey Linda --

    My blog resonated with you!

    Glad you printed it to reference.

    Keep in mind, the info in this blog is the tippy, tippy, tippy top of my writing craft iceberg. :-)

  50. Margie Lawson // February 11, 2012 at 12:06 AM  

    Hello Christie!

    I'm always happy to use examples from your books!

    Thanks for dropping by today.

    See you at National!

  51. Margie Lawson // February 11, 2012 at 12:12 AM  

    Hello Elizabeth!

    Love your writing tips!

    Love your writing!

    Love your books!

    Love that you're a multi-Margie-grad -- and an Immersion Master Class grad too. :-)

  52. Margie Lawson // February 11, 2012 at 12:14 AM  

    Gloria --

    Ha! You're so fun - with your WWMD club!

    Looking forward to seeing your writing in print!

    Immersion Grads Get Published!

  53. Margie Lawson // February 11, 2012 at 12:21 AM  

    Hello Bratty!

    I bet you'd love my online classes!

    If you have questions about any of my courses, please contact me. margie @ margielawson . com.

    Thanks for dropping by today.

  54. Margie Lawson // February 11, 2012 at 12:26 AM  

    Hey Mel!

    Always great to see you online. But so much fun to see you in person!

    Miss you!

  55. Mary Marvella // February 11, 2012 at 2:32 AM  

    Thank you, Margie. You rock!

    Mama Mary(MM)

  56. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 11, 2012 at 9:44 PM  

    Two of my favorites, writing tips from Margie and Kiss of Death! Doesn't get any better than that! Great lesson Margie, this one is a keeper--Melba

  57. Autumn Jordon // February 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM  

    Thank you, Margie, for visiting and sharing. And congrats, Mark!

  58. Margie Lawson // February 12, 2012 at 5:09 PM  

    Darynda --

    I love using your stellar examples!

    Thanks for dropping by the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers!

  59. Margie Lawson // February 12, 2012 at 5:11 PM  

    Linsey --

    Ah -- Thank you!

    I look forward to seeing you in another class sometime!

  60. Margie Lawson // February 12, 2012 at 5:17 PM  

    Patrice --

    Shards of glass backstory - glad the imagery works for you. Now you'll remember how to manage your backstory.

    Thank you for chiming in!

  61. Margie Lawson // February 12, 2012 at 5:18 PM  

    Hey Janet --

    Always great to see your smile!

    Thanks for dropping by.

  62. KathrynB // February 13, 2012 at 7:58 AM  

    Glad I left this window open all weekend and finally got around to reading. Had lots of sickening flashbacks myself, to my first novel!

    Sharing this on Twitter immediately.