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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

The Art of Backstory

No Longer Enrolling

  • $85.00 Non-Member
  • $75.00 Member

Class Description

Backstory has gotten a bad reputation for good reason: by definition backstory takes your story backward in time, potentially stalling momentum and tension. But your characters have a past and that past affects who they are and what they want. Understanding your characters' background can deepen motivations (why they want what they want) and solve plot problems (what they do next). How do you weave a character's past into the narrative without overwhelming readers and slowing the pacing?

This seminar will offer tools designed to help you incorporate backstory subtly and effectively, including in-class writing prompts, and will help you learn more about your protagonist’s relationships with other characters and how they inform backstory. By the end, writers will be able to use their characters’ past to provide context to their present, understand their protagonist's internal and external motivation, and increase suspense by using past events to create expectations of future developments.

For fiction and nonfiction writers.
Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!