Novel Revision Series: Interiority, Backstory & Flashback

Saturday, August 18th, from 10:00am-5:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: Intermediate
Adult (18+)
This class is full

"A writer need not move inexorably toward the finish line. The asides, the exhales, are allowed. They are required.” — Edan Lepucki

Novels are imaginative interfaces: together, the author and the reader create a living landscape that is complete, immersive, and charged with meaning. But how does a writer go about triggering this supreme act of co-creation? We allow the reader to experience the exterior world from inside a particular character. Interiority, backstory, and flashback can allow us to do exactly this in ways that give deeper meaning to the story. They can add important dimension to main characters, but they have to feel organic.

In this discussion-based craft workshop, we’ll read and analyze key examples from great recent novels and we’ll ask ourselves a series of revision-related questions such as: Do you have too much backstory or flashback in your novel—or could you use a little more? Are there artful ways to use these techniques that help the reader understand your character’s central motivation? Writing exercises will allow us to put what we’ve learned to work in ways that can improve your novel greatly.

One or two free-writing exercises will allow us to put what we’ve learned to work in potentially surprising ways. Participants are also invited to bring in relevant passages from their own novels in progress for potential sharing and revision exercises.

Part of GrubStreet's Novel Revision Series, led by Tim Weed and designed for those who have either finished or are nearing completion of a novel draft. Take every class in the series or simply choose the craft topics that are relevant to the revision challenges you face with your novel in progress. Classes include:

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Timothy Weed
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Previous Students Say

  • "Lots of Practical Tips"
  • "Very Well-Organized"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Workshop
  • Lecture
  • In-Class Reading
  • Class Discussion


  • The Novel

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