Becoming a Visceral Warrior!

By Margie Lawson and Tiffany Lawson Inman

A big lovey Thank You to Laura Drake for inviting us back to WITS. Surprise! It’s a mother-daughter duo blog!

What happens to characters when they are in a high emotion scene? They experience emotion.  Duh.

What happens if the writer keeps the POV character in their head, intellectualizing about what they’re feeling, instead of experiencing the emotion physically too? It doesn’t ring true. The scene is not as credible. The reader will fail to become fully immersed in the moment, the character arc, and the story.

Um…that’s not good.

So what do we mean by experience the emotion physically?

Emotion almost always includes a visceral response.

Most of the time without the visceral, you will have a 1-2 punch without the 2.

You need to become a Visceral Warrior.

Visceral warriors push themselves to write visceral responses in ALL of their emotional scenes.  They put visceral responses in the right places. They amplify the visceral responses appropriately for that scene. And they don’t write clichéd visceral responses, they work hard to write original and fresh.

Quickie review of visceral responses: Involuntary physical responses to emotionally triggered stimuli. Responses like accelerated heart rate, sweaty palms, tight throat, dry mouth, clenched stomach, flushed neck and face, pumped up adrenaline, tunnel vision.

If a writer neglects to have the POV character experience a visceral response after an emotionally-loaded stimulus, the scene is usually not as powerful. Not a page-turner.

Today, we are using examples from a few of the hordes of Multi-Margie-Grads (and some Tiffany-Grads) who are visceral warriors.

Analysis of Visceral Responses:

Darynda Jones, Fifth GraveDarynda Jones, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, NYT Bestseller, Multi-Margie-Grad

Nausea punched into my stomach and pushed hard, but I was getting used to the massive adrenaline dumps. I tensed and fought the surge of bile, forcing it down and holding it there.

Analysis: Fresh writing.  Empowered visceral response.  Power words: nausea, punched, hard, massive, adrenaline dumps, tensed, fought, bile, forcing.  Perfect  cadence.

The colossal adrenaline dump that had overloaded my system now needed a place to go. With every ounce of strength I had, I pushed him off, rushed to the wall, and emptied the contents of my stomach onto the concrete foundation.

Analysis: Fresh writing.  The power of three.  Power words: colossal, adrenaline dump, overloaded, strength, rushed, emptied. Compelling cadence.

Romily Bernard, Find Me2012 Golden Heart Winner, and Multi-Margie-grad, Romily’s debut YA will be published Sept. 2013.

Scout Eating Find Me! (781x1024)

Baby Inman eating – er – reading Find Me!

Then I hear the car door slam and my heart rides up my throat with spurs.

Analysis: Powerful! Fresh writing. Shared stimulus and response. Amplified visceral response twice. Backloaded with power word: spurs. Compelling cadence.

The second example from Romily Bernard shares a well-written incongruency. The dialogue cue is incongruent with the visceral response.

“We have a visitor.” Weird how my voice sounds flat and confident when my insides are churning and liquid.

Read that example again.

The dialogue cue, the way she speaks, cues the reader regarding the subtext. Her voice sounds flat and confident. But she’s really terrified. We know she’s terrified because her insides are churning and liquid. She’s covering up her fear for her little sister.

Analysis:  Incongruent dialogue cue and visceral response. Fresh writing.  Complex dialogue cue.  Complex visceral response.  Parallelism.  Compelling cadence.

Fabulous example of using incongruence (which happens multiple times a day in the real world) to deepen character and enrich the scene.

I rub my thumb over the frayed binding, irritation pinching all my insides like I’ve got mosquitoes eating their way out.

Analysis: Wow! Clear action, clear visual: Thumb over frayed binding (of diary).

  • Fresh writing: irritation punching insides. Compelling cadence.
  • Power Words: irritation, pinching, insides, mosquitoes, eating their way out.
  • Backloaded with powerful four-word phrase.
  • Fresh simile: mosquitoes eating way out. That fresh simile could give readers visceral responses!

Threading Visceral Responses:

Katie McGarry, elevator door at RWA, AtlantaHere’s a four-part visceral threading in Katie McGarry’s edgy YA, Dare You To.

This is not the real passage. It will not flow. Several paragraphs and pieces of paragraphs are missing. We included some lines that are the triggers for her visceral responses.

Katie McGarry, Dare You To, Margie-Grad

“So it’s true,” someone says from the front of the class. “Your last name is Risk.”

Clank. Clank. The sound of chains squeezing my lungs echoes in my head.

Two paragraphs later:

Everyone in the class watches me. My hands start to sweat.

The next paragraph includes this visceral:

Panic pushes my heart past my rib cage.

Two  paragraphs later:

Sweat forms along the hairline on my neck as the world sways. It’s been too much: the changes. Losing Mom. Losing Isaiah. Losing my home. I’ve tried. Really I have. I’ve roamed the halls as the reclusive freak show. This answer will change everything again. “Yes.”

Whispers and comments rush through the class like wind from an oncoming thunderstorm.

Skip a few paragraphs, and we’ll find these two sentences in a paragraph:

The bell rings and my teacher’s expression gives new meaning to the term wrathful. A couple of more pounds of chains settle in my stomach.

Kudos to Katie McGarry for empowering this high-emotion section with five visceral responses.

1.    The sound of chains squeezing my lungs echoes in my head.

2.    My hands start to sweat.

3.    Panic pushes my heart past my rib cage.

4.    Sweat forms along the hairline on my neck as the world sways.

5.    A couple of more pounds of chains settle in my stomach.

The first and last lines are fresh, fresh, fresh. Love the way she used chains in the first line and amplified the chains in an unexpected way in the last line. Powerful.

Susannah Scott, Luck Of The Dragon, book coverSusannah Scott Luck of the Dragon, Multi-Margie-Grad

She was done—done, done, done. Her goose was cooked. Charred. Gino would know where she was now. But where was Joey? Her stomach flopped over and fisted under her ribs.

Analysis: WOOT WOOT! Epizeuxis – done, done, done. Goosey cliché twist. Alliteration. Alliteration. Visceral kick with flopped over and fisted under – fresh fresh fresh! Cadence galore.

Now – for examples from Multi-Margie-Grad Laura Drake!

Cover - The Sweet SpotThe Sweet Spot

The sobbing admission burned like drain cleaner as it burst from her throat.

Analysis: Words like sobbing, burned, and burst create a clear emotional visual to the reader. Drain cleaner pops out as an original and dangerous simile. Kick butt cadence.

When black dots shot across her vision, she remembered to breathe.

Analysis: Used visceral action to show visual impairment and by saying remembered to breathe – told reader she wasn’t breathing. Two viscerals in one line! And again, clever cadence.

Delicious flames licked the inside of her skin, urging her on. “Well, then, you go on and lie in that bed, Jimmy Denny. I don’t want to see your face on this property again. Do you hear me?”

The freed flames roared in her ears, and her body shook with righteous crackling heat.

Analysis: Poetic punch of cadence with words like delicious and licked to describe flames on one’s skin. Brilliant and fresh writing.

Then slamming the last line with power words: flames, roared, shook, righteous, crackling, and backloading with heat.  How sad would this have been if she had written, “ She heard the flames crackle and her body was hot to the core.” (cliché alert!)

  • Shared stimulus and response.
  • Amplified visceral response twice.
  • Backloaded with power word: spurs.
  • Compelling cadence.

HER ROAD HOME coverOne more example. This one is from Laura Drake’s August release, Her Road Home.

The first paragraph below is the stimulus for the visceral response.  Viscerally creepy.

At the low, creepy tone, her head jerked up, though she knew what she would see. The concentrated, unfocused stare. Ruddied cheeks. His lips glistening, as if he’d just licked them.

She stood in flash-frozen shock, heart fluttering in scared-rabbit beats. Not again.

Analysis:  Alliteration, flash-frozen, fluttering, parallelism. Fresh, fresh, fresh writing. Kudos to Laura Drake!

Thanks for joining us (Margie and Tiffany) today. We had fun writing this blog together, and we even experienced some mother-daughter visceral hits. Wish you all could have been here!

Before you leave this blog, please know that this was an itsy-bitsy teensy-weensy sliver of our writing-visceral-responses pie.  Sorry, this was NOT a quick glance a guide. It’s not even a Cliffs Notes Version. It’s more like 1/30th of a Cliffs Notes version.

What are we saying?

There is SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN in order to become a Visceral Warrior. But don’t worry, we know you can do it!

Margie’s online course, Visceral Responses: Beyond Hammering Hearts, is loaded with dozens of teaching points, a slew of dissected and analyzed examples, hundreds of learning opportunities.

POST A COMMENT on the blog and you could win a spot in the Visceral Responses course. The class runs August 15 – Sept. 15. We’ll draw the winner’s name Thursday Night, 8 PM, Mountain time. If you win, and you’re already registered for the course, your registration fee will be refunded.

Check out all the online courses offered by Lawson Writer’s Academy.

WITS own Laura Drake teaches on online class for LWA in September, Submissions That Sell! She should know. She got contracts for seven books before her first book was released!

Lawson Writer’s Academy — Upcoming Classes:

1. Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts, Aug. 15 – Sept. 15
Instructor:  Margie Lawson

2. Fab 30: Advanced Deep Editing, A Master Class, Aug. 12 – Oct. 20
Instructor:  Margie Lawson

3. Story Structure Safari, Sept. 1 – 30
Instructor:  Lisa Miller

4. Submissions That Sell!, Sept. 2 – 27
Instructor: Laura Drake

5. World Genesis: Building a World from the Ground Up, Sept. 2 – 27
Instructor:  Suzanne Lazear

About Margie

Margie LawsonMargie Lawson—editor, international presenter— teaches writers how to use her psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques to create page turners.

Margie has presented over eighty full day master classes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Writers who have studied her material credit her innovative deep editing approaches with taking their writing several levels higher—to publication, awards, and bestseller lists.

To learn about online courses through Lawson Writer’s Academy, Margie’s 4-day Immersion Master Classes (in 2013: in Colorado, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Columbus, and on Whidbey Island), her full day and weekend Master Class presentations, keynote speeches, Lecture Packets, and newsletter, visit

Tiffany Lawson Inman, headshotTiffany Lawson Inman (NakedEditor) claimed a higher education at Columbia College Chicago. There, she learned to use body and mind together for action scenes, character emotion, and dramatic story development.

She teaches Action, Choreography, Physicality, Violence, and Dialogue for Lawson Writer’s Academy, presents hands-on-action workshops, and will be offering webinars in 2014. As a freelance editor, she provides deep story analysis and dramatic fiction editing services. Tiffany will be off maternity leave and back on-line before the end of the year! Stay tuned to WITS to see Tiffany’s upcoming guest blogs, contests, and lecture packets.

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142 Responses to Becoming a Visceral Warrior!

  1. Rebecca White says:

    Thank you thank you! I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that rivets me to a book, and visceral writing is it! –Now all I have to do is learn how to work it into my own writing. You guys just made my day!

    • Laura Drake says:

      Rebecca, take Margie’s class, Visceral Rules. She not only teaches you the essentials – since she’s a psychologist, she somehow worms it into your brain, so you just start writing them… it’s magic, I swear!

    • Rebecca —
      Writing fresh basic, complex, and empowered visceral responses will add power to your writing. I developed deep editing techniques and systems that I teach in my other online classes. Empowering Characters’ Emotions is the first of my writing craft courses — and it has over 350 pages of lectures.
      I teach ECE online in January, but lecture packets are available for most of my courses. I don’t want you to miss out on all the other power editing tools you could use!
      Thanks for being the first to post!

  2. Margie and Tiffany … thanks so very much. I always enjoy your visits to WITS, love your examples and each time I learn something new and fresh. These posts, your classes, your packets, all give us a smack and say hey, wake up, there is more to learn 🙂

  3. Diana Beebe says:

    Great examples, thanks to both of you! I recently purchased your Empowering Characters’ Emotions lecture packet and look forward to digging in, Margie.

  4. Wow, wow, wow. Wonderful examples. Loved them all. I always enjoy Margie’s visits to Writer’s in the Storm and this time you brought Tiffany and your sweetie pie granddaughter. Thank you and I hope I win!

    • LOL! She is a sweetiepie little baby, isn’t she?!!? She has a way of sparking creative juice in a way I have never known 🙂

      Now you will be reading one of your favorite books and zeroing in on all the tasty visceral responses!


    • Hugs to Immersion Grad Suzanne!
      I had the best time with you, and with all your NYT V V Immersion sisters in Atlanta. Can’t wait to immerse with you again. Keep the deep editing power and Hertz’isms going strong!

  5. Jaye Garland says:

    The visceral response that spoke to my heart was Romily Bernard’s. In that one sentence, it’s clear that whoever is in that car is trouble. I’d buy that book based on that one line. Seriously, it was that good. I attended Margie’s workshop in Atlanta this summer and would love to learn more. Thanks for the post on WITS!

  6. Reblogged this on Ella Quinn ~ Author and commented:
    Adding physical emotion to your writing from WITS.

  7. Tricia Tyler says:

    Margie and Tiffany, Your timing for this blog couldn’t have been better. I am in the middle of revisions and this was exactly what I needed to remember to-fingers crossed-make it better. Love the examples given. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

    • Tricia – ya know, I think we could sense there were revisions going on today in the writing cosmos and we tossed on our mother-daughter-superhero-editing-capes and zoooomed onto WITS with all this good stuff to learn — JUST FOR YOU! 🙂

      You are very welcome for the kick in the butt.

      Hope you frequent WITS daily, because there is SO MUCH to learn on here!

      Maybe someday we will be using examples from YOUR writing in our classes or on a blog post.

      Thanks for stopping over!

  8. Addy Rae says:

    This is something I really struggle with, and I really appreciate you blogging on the topic. Thank you!

    • Addy, the more you learn, the less you will struggle 🙂 That’s what becoming a warrior is all about!

      Thanks for being her today!

      • Addy Rae says:

        True enough, but the more you learn the more you see there is to learn. But you tend to have better tools over time I suppose. 🙂

    • Addy —
      Keep in mind that this blog is not just the tip of the deep editing iceberg, it’s a few ice shavings off the tip.
      Ha! That was a fun cliche twist. 😉

      • Addy Rae says:

        Daunting but not yet discouraging. I’m still working mostly on learning to do large, sweeping revisions for the most part; I haven’t even come close to deep editing. It will take time. 🙂

        • Addy —
          Writers learn to write to the deep editing I teach. They catch a lot of things while they’re writing, and fix them on the screen.
          When the fix requires more time, they make notes like NQR for Not Quite Right and keep on writing. Later, they do a FIND on NQR and know what they need to strengthen, or add.
          You’d be surprised how fast you can learn to make small changes that have a big impact. 🙂
          Happy writing!

  9. Vicky Green says:

    Thank you Margie and Tiffany for this inspiring post. I’m ready to become a Visceral Warrior and get my creative juices flowing. And thanks to WITS for these informative and educating blogs. I always take away something from them.

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Thank you for reading today, Vicky. Glad we could put something in your creative power juicer.

      See you next time!

    • Hey Vicky —
      Way too long since I’ve cyber-seen you! I’d love to see you in person sometime …
      You’ll be a strong Visceral Warrior!

  10. Margie! Tiffany! I’ve missed these mini lessons. I’ll go for a major soon.

    The two of you never fail to super-charge my writing JuJu. I look at my pages, and ask whether the lines will someday warrant use as good examples ion WITS or Margie Grads Blog.

    [BONUS! Thanks so MUCH for a peek at tootsie-roll-leg Baby Inman. She is a cutie.]

    I read The Sweet Spot. LOVE. IT! Whoop! I must share my love. *scrambles to add GR and Amazon and B&N reviews to TA-DA list*

    Susannah, Luck of the Dragon resides on my Kindle. It’s next up on TBR. Why is it taking me so long read it? Well, when a well-written book hits my TA-DA list, my goose is charred (love that) from the first page until I reach the end. I know that’s going to happen when I begin to read LOTD.

    Thanks, Laura, for bringing Margie and Tiffany magic to my writing day.

    • Laura Drake says:

      Oh, thank you, Gloria! Can’t wait to return the favor with YOU!

    • Gloria – soooooooooooooo good to see your energetic words on my screen today. You make my day too 🙂

      And WOOT WOOT to hearing you will be ready for a MAJOR lesson soon. That means you will be gracing the halls of LWA before the end of the year, right? Loads of classes to chose from.

      Big hugs n baby wiggles to you!

    • Gloria —
      Always fun fun fun to see you, cyber and in person!
      You’ll love Susannah’s LUCK OF THE DRAGON. You’re right. You’ll reduce your stress if you allow time to read LotD straight through.
      You should see my grand-cutie read books by Margie-grads. She devours them. 🙂
      And today, she took a pen out of my hand. That baby is destined to be a writer!

  11. Cathy G says:

    Wow! Thank-you for the great examples and the inspiration!

  12. Sherri Valentine says:

    Wow! Vivid examples. I am inspired. 🙂
    And, I learned a new word: epizeuxis. Although, I had to rely upon my 5″ thick 1968 Webster (and, of course, the internet) for the definition, ’cause “epizeuxis” is missing from my desk-top Merriam-Webster’s newest Collegiate edition.
    Every time I read one of your (Laura & Marge & Tiffany) posts I leave a better writer. Thanks!

    • We aim to please!

      Yeah, I need to invest in a bigger dictionary too. I will be using my old ones as yoga blocks.

      Glad you were here today and got to soak up some inspiration.


    • Sherri —

      Epizeuxis. You don’t speak Greek? 😉

      You were smart to find the definition.

      Epizeuxis is one of thirty rhetorical devices I teach writers in my Deep Editing course. The full title: Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More!

      Rhetorical devices enhance style and structure and cadence. They’re uber-powerful.

      • Sherri Valentine says:

        What’s the difference between your Deep Editing? EDITS System course and the Fab 30: Deep Editing course you are teaching this month? Forgive me if you’ve already told us and I missed it.

  13. This is what I’ve been looking for. The magic that makes a book unforgettable. I’m off to sign up for Margie’s class.

  14. I love Margie and her classes. I count my lucky stars that I happened upon her website. Not only did I get some stellar learning ops from the classes, I got the best editing group ever.

    • Carol —
      Margie-Grads are brilliant writers and brilliant editing partners. I bet you all deep edit each other all the way to bestseller lists!
      Looking forward to working with you in Fab 30!

  15. Terri P says:

    Margie and Tiffany,
    Thank you for this mini lesson! I always LOVE the examples you give for amping up your writing because not only do I learn to write better, but I find great new authors to love! I’m writing a very different heroine than what I normally do and she is a VERY visceral warrior. Can’t wait to put some of these lessons to the test.

    P.S. I LOVE BIG lessons too!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      You are certainly welcome! It’s actually my favorite part of example hunting too! And I cringe to think I might not have found those authors otherwise! So glad you have a viscerally able character to play with.

      Have fun challenging your writing!

    • Terri – –
      Sounds like you created a powerful heroine. Capturing that power on the page is a fun challenge. Can’t wait to work with you again!

  16. I’m finishing up my second Margie class and plan on taking more. Love reading all your posts!

  17. Great post, Margie and Tiffany, and great examples. Getting the visceral just right and twisting clichés is a constant brainteaser!

  18. Kaye Munroe says:

    Have you all ever thought of compiling these blog entries into a book on writing? I have shelves full of books on writing & have taken courses at schools all over the country, and I swear I’ve learned more here than anywhere else!

    (P.S. I’m not making this comment because I want to win a slot in the class. Right now, I’m not well & can’t sit up long, so I hope whoever wins enjoys the class but it can’t be me.)

  19. Visceral, that’s it! That’s what I’m working on right now. Ooh, and I like the thought of becoming a warrior. I need to be on guard at all times. Those were excellent examples. Thank you sooo much! On guard! Visceral. A warrior. 🙂

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Karen, you crack me up! I am now picturing my mom and I in full Xena warrior princess garb 🙂

  20. So honored to have my sentence intermixed with these great writers! Thank you Margie and Tiffany. I’ve taken Margie’s intensive class 3x and done all her online classes. I even read my work out loud for the first time in her living room–you talk about a visceral response!

    Every writer has teachers who have helped them dig deep and realize their potential. One of those amazing teachers in my life is definitely Margie. She helped me find the deep in deep POV and emotional writing. Her mind is as brilliant with the written word as her heart is with connecting with students.

    All my best,
    Susannah Scott
    Debut author, Luck of the Dragon, Entangled Covet (6/13)

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Well, Susannah, even though it’s not the WIP that we worked on together, I will still be looking very closely at your action and any violence in there! I am sure it is fab fab fab!

      Loved diggin in and seeing all the viscerals. 🙂

      When are you coming back to the mtn?

    • Susannah —

      Your comment gave me a visceral response!

      Thank you for your viscerally-powered words. I loved every picosecond I worked with you in those three Immersion classes. And I hope I get to work with you in person again.

      Your writing is enviably strong. Thanks for giving me so many fab examples to use in my lectures and powerpoints. 😉

  21. Kate Fall says:

    Tweeted this. It’s hard to get those visceral responses fresh and avoid the viewpoint character who sounds like she needs to go to the gastroenterologist! This course is just what I need.

  22. Callene Rapp says:

    Great examples as always. I noticed that two of the examples were in first person. Does it seem easier for people to render visceral emotion when writing in first person? Or does it matter as long as a) you have a visceral! and b) it’s well written?

    • darynda says:

      You probably aren’t asking me, Callene, LOL, but I would say not at all!!! Third person should be just as visceral, and it shouldn’t make a difference as long as you are in deep POV. In fact, writing viscerally takes you even deeper and makes that connection between character and reader even stronger. I don’t think any of it’s easy. You just have to really be in your character’s head.

      • Callene Rapp says:

        Darynda, I’m flattered that you answered, so yeah, I was totally asking you, LOL! I suppose I should have figured that out intuitively, but I see so much written in first person I was curious. A lot of YA is first, which is the genre I’m writing in. I know a well written story trumps POV, but I’m always looking for a way to do it better, ya know? Thanks for your reply.

        • Hello Immersion Grad Callene!

          Darynda’s answer is perfect. Psychologically-powered writing always wins!

          Miss you. Can’t wait to work with you in an Immersion class in 2014!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      You took words right out of my mouth (cliche alert)

      Callene, you have to be deep. Writing visceral really pushes you to examine each moment. Makes sure you aren skimming over top of what is really happening to the character in the scene. You want impact in your story? Write visceral.

  23. darynda says:

    Thanks for including me, guys! I’m so honored to be in such amazing company! ~D~

    • Darynda —
      Your writing is so fresh and strong, the visceral responses you write give the readers visceral responses!
      Thanks for working so hard when you deep edit. You make your writing carry amazing power. And you give me the best examples to use when I’m teaching!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      You had better get your talented self to Colorado soon. I am green-monster-on-my-shoulder envious of all the time my mom has spent with you!

  24. Merry Muhsman says:

    Love, love, love these ladies. If you’ve ever thought about taking a class from either Margie or Tiffany, just do it! Don’t even hesitate. I’ve learned so much from both of these women. In fact, I worked with Tiffany on a chapter that needed severe help. It was at the end of the book. I went back to the beginning to revise more. By the time I got to the end and my “Tiffany-ized” chapter, I didn’t even recognize it. I just thought “damn, that’s good.” I’ve had the same experience with Margie. Thank you both for writing in today, and I’m so glad I took a break from work to read it. I feel energized again.

    I’m waving “Hi” at Darynda. Huge fan. You cannot write those books fast enough! 😉

    Thanks Laura for a great blog.

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Where is the love button on here? Thank you, Merry.

      It makes teaching even easier when your students are applying the edits just the way they should be applied and the writing looks better every time I get to look at it. Yeah, that’s the good stuff 🙂

      Woot woot! ENERGY ENERGY!

      Hope some of that bounces back at me. Little Inman put me through paces last night.

      I can’t wait for more sleep! Then I can start on another blog and other such writing/teaching/editing endeavors.

  25. Wendy Beck says:

    This is fantastic! I was in your workshop at RWA Nationals. Such a short hour but I made tremendous changes in my manuscript. Would love the entire class!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Wendy, pop over to and read about her Immersion Master class! Imagine what 5 straight days of learning would do for your writing 🙂 not to mention you would get to hang out on the mountain and breathe in all that fresh air!

    • Wendy —
      An hour workshop is just a blink. A full day master class seems dashing dachshund fast to me too. 😉
      Very cool that you learned something in a one hour workshop that helped you add power to your WIP. Hope to see you in my August class!

  26. Janet B says:

    I learn so much from reading these fabulous examples of visceral responses. They make my day!
    : )

  27. A Margie post is like a Margie class–inspiring, invigorating. It’s a lung-full of oxygen on a smog-alert day. Thanks for the reminders. 🙂

  28. What an inspiring visceral post! More evocative than simply making my heart pound. Thanks for sharing! I aspire to visceral warrior status someday…

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:


      Make that day today! Grab an emotion filled scene out of your WIP and tackle that sucker! Don’t allow yourself to use any visceral reactions that you have ever read before. Ever!

      It will be hard at first but with time your brain will be used to it and your writing will shine shine shine.

      Sorry, it seems I picked up my cheerleading pom poms today and am using them to type on the iPad 🙂

    • Hello Immersion Grad Mel!
      You are becoming a visceral warrior. We need a chant and a visceral warrior dance!

  29. Julie Glover says:

    More fabulous examples! Seeing what works on the page inspires me to dig, dig, dig deeper. And if I don’t start reading Darynda Jones by this fall, I’m an idiot. Every time I see her excerpts, I think, “I MUST read those books!” Thanks, Margie & Tiffany!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      It is so refreshing to get on here and see familiar names! Thanks for poppin over, Julie!

      And yes, you must read Darynda’s stuff! She is beyond fresh and her story and her pacing ROCKS!

    • Hello Immersion Grad Julie!
      You’ve got your Immersion grad shovel. Dig, dig, dig into deep editing and empower your WIP. I know your writing. You can write as fresh as Darynda. And keep the power on every page too, like Darynda.
      Now that you told the world you need to read Darynda, I bet you read FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT this weekend! 🙂

  30. Of course, I love this! Timely reminder to re-read my notes from my Margie classes 🙂

  31. marsharwest says:

    Hey, Margie. Waving to my Stellar Scribes Sisters, Callene and Rashda. Yes, Rashda, time to look over the notes again. Pull out the packets and rattle those lazy brain cells. With VERMONT ESCAPE, my first published work out now (with a huge thanks to Margie), and Truth sent off to my publishers with fingers crossed they’ll like it, I’m moving on to adding more of that viisceral pop to number 6 and yea, finally, finally planning for # 7.
    Can’t thank you enough for sharing your knowledge, Margie and to WITS for having you here. I’m FBing & Tweeting and posting on loops. 🙂

  32. Efthalia says:

    What a marvellous post and I really would love to do the Visceral Rules class. It’s right where I’m at, at the moment. Need loads more visceral.


  33. Beth says:

    This is SO what I’m fighting to add to my writing on a consistent basis!

  34. Christy Hayes says:

    Even reading your 1/30th examples help spur the creative juices. Thanks for the mini-lesson.

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Christy, your name seems familiar to me, where do you live? Thanks for popping on for the mini-lesson. Many more to come 🙂

  35. cmrose2003 says:

    Wow! I absolutely loved this post! I loved the way you presented the examples and analysis. So easy to follow. I will definitely keep your classes in mind. Thanks so much!

    Cheryl Rose

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      You are very welcome, Cheryl! Hope to see you on here again, lots lots lots to learn 🙂

  36. Oh, wow, Margie, it’s already been too long since my June Immersion with Margie down in Crandall, TX. I’m still working my way thru examples and notes trying to power up 2 stories. This post gives me more to study. I love the visceral. When I’m more observant to my own reactions, I feel those things. Now, if I can only get them on the page. Thanks for the reminder & I would love to win the extra course.

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Janet, I heard that was one hot immersion class!

      Maybe next time you can meet us on the mountain, then we can play too.

      I teach a class for writers using acting techniques to reach further inside yourself for those visceral and emotional reactions, and I’ll be joining my mom for some immersion fun next year, teaching that, and writing choreography.

      Come on, you know you wanna immerse yourself again! 😀

  37. Heather Miller says:

    Such a great post! While I knew that Darynda Jones had taken Margie’s courses, I wasn’t aware that Katie McGarry had as well. Their writing is so visceral and real, and I’d love to take this class to develop those skills.

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Heather, go to Margie’s website, I think she has her pinned grads listed on there! And yes you can be just as super as these ladies 🙂

  38. Oh, my gosh! These examples are phenomenal. Make me see I have some work to do. I also recall I purchased one of your courses a couple months ago and *forgot I had it*!!!!! Uhhhh, I’m hopeless! 😦 I’m thinkin’ I need to apply those spurs from Romily’s example to my backside!

    Sheri Humphreys

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Sheri, you are holding GOLD right there-Crack it open and upgrade your writing craft brain!

  39. prisakiss says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful examples! They make it easier to understand and see the concept so I can try to be more aware in my own writing! I guess I’m in training to be a Visceral Warrior now!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Indeed, Prisakiss! And LWA classes are like warrior bootcamp!

      Thank you for joining us today. Always a good day for learning.

  40. Susan Dunn says:

    Wow! This is terrific. Why is so hard to come up with these innovative ways to express emotion? All the examples are wonderful. I never know when to actually write the word for the description, or if it’s ever needed.
    Obviously, I’m a candidate for your class. 🙂

  41. Linda Joyce says:

    I’m looking forward to the class!


    Linda Joyce

  42. Pingback: Becoming a Visceral Warrior! | Linda Joyce Contemplates

  43. WOW, what great examples. They beat the tired old ones I use. I have copied this blog for inspiration and hope my body language improves. Carolyn Rae Williamson, Carolyn Rae Author, facebook, Romancing the Gold, coming soon from Noble Romance.

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Yeah, we don’t want any tired old reactions, blah! Fresh n true to the moment and character. Thats what we want! We teach pubbed and unpubbed at LWA, come on over, join in the fun, Carolyn! 😀

  44. Hello There: I’ll be taking the visceral Emotions class on August 15th. The examples presented by these fab writers are phenomenal. Words are wonderful companions.

  45. Susan Dunn says:

    I love the way you always include examples. I’m trying to apply these even as we speak. LOL!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:


      So glad we could assist you so quickly! LOL

      What genre are you mastering with these visceral reactions?

  46. selenafulton says:

    What fantastic examples. I went to one of your workshops in 2011. Unfortunately, I was meeting Hospice directly afterward, so I don’t remember much of it, except that I wanted more when I could concentrate. You are awesome for sharing this with us.

  47. Sylvie says:

    Love the examples–always a good refresher!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Hi there, Sylvie! So glad to see you on here!

    • Hello Immersion Grad Sylvie!
      I miss you! Always great to see you online, but I prefer the awesome in-the-flesh Sylvie, so to speak. 😉 Hope I get to see you in person sometime in the next year.
      Happy deep editing!

  48. Love this stuff. I always find new authors I have to have 🙂 Thanks for featuring FIND ME, Margie!!

    • tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

      Romily, hope you don’t mind that we let Baby Inman eat your book 🙂 she just looked so cute doing it, we had to take that picture! That night i didn’t talk to my hubby for a few hours cuz was reading it. He forgives you 🙂

      Fyi-I might be emailing you in the next month to request use of your action and violence scenes for a class lecture. Because I simply must must must!

  49. Amazing blog as always! I am so proud of all you Margie-authors. Look how awesome you are! Super examples.

  50. Not only do I become a better writer by taking Margie’s classes, I get a lot more books to buy for my Kindle! Win, win!!

    Such great examples of NYT writing!! What I love is that eventually these jewels get drummed into my head well enough that I can *see* them as I write. I was rereading a recently written scene, and I swear, I saw it in Margie colors! The good, the bad and the utter lack of green. lol

  51. tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

    Lori, you will be gracing our blogs with kickbutt examples in no time. I am predicting by this time next year or sooner! Just thinking bout some of your story gives me chills!

  52. tiffanylawsoninmanisnakededitor says:

    Thank goodness for , so much better than putting my hand in an old hat 🙂

    The person who wins an LWA online class is ——- Selena Fulton


    Please email Margie::::: address is:  margie (at) margielawson(dot) com  

    THANK YOU ALL for joining my mom and I for our first (and most certainly not last) coauthored guest blog here at WITS. And thank you, WITS for letting us stomp around on here for a few days a month. Always a good crowd.

    Catch us next month for even more writing craft greatness! 

    …always be learning

  53. Jackie Rod says:

    Thanks for all the great tips, Margie and Tiffany. I enjoyed the workshop at RWA, and I’m looking forward to the class.

  54. Karen Duvall says:

    Hey, Margie, is this the class I won last time? I know it’s for an August class, but I don’t know which one.

    As for visceral responses to emotional stimuli, this is a good reminder. Thanks, Margie!

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