Author Spotlight – Lisa Miller

I know that a lot of my newsletter readers are interested in the writing process, and many are writers too, so I’m delighted to introduce y’all to Lisa Miller, who teaches story structure in a way that makes plotting accessible, even to a “pantser” like me.

What inspired you to create your writing courses?

I was inspired to create my Story Structure Safari class when I realized how many writers needed help understanding the elements of a story and how to make them most effective for the reader. During my time striving to write fiction, I realized how much I didn’t know and yet couldn’t find classes to help me learn. So I created a class I knew I would want to have.

After years of teaching Safari, I continue to see writers struggle with their characters. So this year past year I developed my Creating a Constellation of Characters class to meet that need. The two classes work together to support each other. Students can discover their stories in Safari and the characters to inhabit them in Constellation.

What’s your favorite/least favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about teaching my classes is seeing the brilliant discoveries students make during the process. They so often far exceed my expectations and I am continually learning from my students. Stretching my own ideas about the work and how to improve the classes.

Is there any writing news you’d like to share? (Great reviews, upcoming events, etc.)

  • My Story Structure Safari class this year is in September of 2022.
  • My Creating a Constellation of Characters to Inhabit Your Story or Series is in June 2022.
  • Both are at the Lawson Writer’s Academy on Margielawson.com

I’m also in the process of creating a new class to be added in 2023.

Lisa’s Upcoming Classes:

Story Structure Safari (September 2022):

Beautiful words and exciting scenes aren’t enough to propel the reader through a novel. Stories need a plan, a focus, a solid structure from beginning to end.

In this 30-day course, you will explore the story structure elements, transformational character arcs, and plot that make up powerful, bestselling stories. You will learn how to analyze examples, from bestselling novels, movies, or TV shows, for each story element or concept. A variety of activities and techniques help you hone your skills and infuse these elements and concepts into your own story. You’ll receive feedback from the instructor, and often from other classmates, to aid in your understanding of the concepts as you apply them to your story.

Story Structure Safari’s goal is to help you dig deep into the heart of your story and focus on how to consistently meet or exceed your reader’s expectations.

Creating a Constellation of Characters to Inhabit Your Story or Series (June 2022)

Lackluster, one-size-fits-all characters aren’t enough to keep readers turning those pages and anticipating future books. You need a well-rounded cast of complex, riveting characters to inhabit your story—a constellation of supporting characters to showcase the protagonist Star.

In this month-long class, the Constellation lessons will guide you through:

  • Internal and External Character Development
  • Character Relationships
  • Contrasts, Conflicts, Attractions, Unions
  • Building a multi-layered cast of major and supporting characters to fit your story, genre, and theme

Learn More About Lisa:


Meet George – Lisa’s Animal Companion

From Lisa: George is my 3 year old teenager orange tabby. We adopted him from the local shelter after we lost one of a pair cats we adopted fourteen years ago. Agatha, the tortoise-shell and grand dame of the house became depressed. George was this three month old cutie and Agatha did snap out of depression and turned to distain for this pushy, darling George.

From Babette: As y’all know, I like to chat with my spotlight people’s animals to find out how they help their human do their work. But Lisa’s cat George is not at all interested in helping her work. Here’s what George had to say:

“I don’t have to help Lisa work. She is very focused on getting her work done, and she sets a good schedule I can live with. I don’t have to remind her to stop and rest because she is mindful of her energy. That means I can do what I want, and I love to mess with her, because it makes her laugh.”

So, you don’t help her work, but…?

“I help her to have fun! I remind her not to take her work too seriously. I lay on her papers, chew on her pens, and keep her from focusing too hard on work. I distract her and frustrate her, and she loves it!”

(So, though George doesn’t want to admit it because he takes pride in being mischievous, his habit of not helping does help!)

2 Responses

  • What a great interview with Lisa Miller! Her class “Story Structure Safari” is a lot of work, but it’s a game changer, and Lisa is a dedicated teacher, investing 110% in the class and her students. I’m going to check out her new offering for sure. George the cat sounds like a cutie!

    • Hey, Kimberly! It’s great to “see” you here! I’m thinking of how much fun we had in Lisa’s classes too! Taking interactive online classes is a good way to meet like-minded writers, and I’ve made many good friends–including you–that way. I’ve been a lurker in other classes, but in Lisa’s class, I enjoyed “chatting” with other writers in the class. The opportunity to meet and learn from talented writers like you makes Lisa’s already fantastic class even more worthwhile.

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