Winning Retreat with Margie Lawson

A winning retreat with Margie Lawson began with Sacramento Valley Rose RWA’s three-day writing retreat at Stanford Sierra Camp. Located on Fallen Leaf Lake near Tahoe, California, speaker Margie Lawson evoked my muse like none other. She has a diverse history from holding a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology to Directing an Impotence Clinic. And when it comes to analyzing a manuscript, she makes the task interesting, exuberant, unique. She isn’t afraid to tackle the most challenging manuscript issues.


Check out my example of a BASIC sentence:   Marcus’s voice caused Anna to shiver.

Using one of Margie’s techniques, I SUPER EMPOWERED the sentence:

At the sound of Marcus’s voice, Anna’s body quaked from the roots of her scalp down to the tips of her toenails and every cell in between, awakening a volcano on the fringe of exploding.

By expanding the description, the reader will connect to Anna’s reaction to Marcus at a much deeper level. And notice the use of the POWER WORD (exploding) deliberately placed at the end to give the sentence an extra punch.


The Edit System uses different colored highlighters to differentiate between dialogue, backstory, setting, and a few more.

By applying this system to my manuscript, visually I was able to spot where I needed to add dialogue, setting cues, or reduce introspection. And so on.


Familiar (sampling):

  • Analogy
  • Metaphor
  • Simile

Not So Familiar (sampling):

  • Conduplicatio
  • Symploce
  • Zeugma

By taking Margie’s classes, I’ve learned to take a ho-hum manuscript and transform the pages to an eye-popping, mouth-dropping, with tingles on top experience!

And you can, too, with Margie’s expertise.

If you’re interested in learning more about Margie’s techniques, check out Margie Lawson’s website. She offers all kinds of craft support and on-line classes and even private retreats. A complete schedule of appearances can be found on her site.

Fallen Leaf LakeAlso, the resort, located at an altitude of 6,380 feet and surrounded by snow-tipped peaks, is open to groups of 30 or more and offers full service gourmet meals, boating activities, hiking, bonfires, and much, much more. For additional information and how to schedule your group’s retreat visit Stanford Sierra Camp.


4 thoughts on “Winning Retreat with Margie Lawson

  1. I agree, Cyndi, the retreat was just what I needed to re-vive my lackluster manuscript. So glad you got to join us in the Sierras for a great weekend!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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