Margie Lawson

Make your writing soar


Write Backstory With Confidence

How to weave the past in without information dump telling

Does your character or location have a fascinating history, but you’re unsure of the best way to express it? 

The Write Backstory With Confidence workshop is for fiction writers who want to avoid information dumps and use backstory to provide character motivation that resonates with readers.

Backstory is the foundation of engaging characters and believable plots. When it’s well integrated and authentic, it drives the main story without killing pace. Learn how to banish boring backstory while maintaining pace and tension, with proven techniques that will enhance your overall storytelling proficiency.

You’ll have seamless backstory in no time!

This workshop will give you the skills to:

  • Banish information dumping.
  • Ensure backstory is consistent and relevant.
  • Select an appropriate delivery method. 
  • Know when to release backstory for maximum effect.

This workshop suits beginners to intermediated writers who want to avoid the dreaded information dumps and deliver character backstory that resonates with readers.

There will be plenty of examples, exercises to practice on, and opportunities to apply what you’ve learnt to your own work. This popular workshop combines colorful presentations with handouts to keep, personalized feedback and plenty of opportunities to apply what you’ve learnt to your own work. 

Curriculum includes:

  • What backstory is and why it’s important
  • How to develop different types of backstory 
  • Significant events and influences
  • A host of delivery devices to choose from
  • How to avoid information dumps
  • Using other characters and internal thoughts
  • The dilemma of whether or not to include a prologue
  • The delicate art of flashbacks that aren’t boring

What students are saying about Sandy’s workshops

“I credit this teacher with a quantum shift in my writing. I can literally see the difference! I’ve learnt so much from you over the last twelve months and my writing just goes from strength to strength working with you.” Nina Campbell

“I am excited that I can see the issues and finally understand where to focus.” Jane Lee

“You are the only course teacher I’ve stayed in contact with and one of the reasons is because you adopt your students like little writing baby ducks. It’s awesome to have you in my corner.” Mindy Graham

“Sandy is unfailingly kind, sharp and able to explain everything in a way that enabled me to apply it immediately to my work.” Ava January

“Love, love, love this class! Highly recommend it and worth every penny. I appreciate how Sandy broke each aspect down and provided examples. She was very involved in providing quality feedback and asking great questions that spurred me to think deeper about my WIP.” EmilyK150


Sandy Vaile

Sandy Vaile is a motorbike-riding daredevil who isn’t content with a story unless there are a courageous heroine and a dead body. She writes romantic-suspense for Simon & Schuster US and empowers modern writers to produce novels they can be proud of (and that get noticed by agents and publishers).

Sandy is an experienced course presenter with a decade of experience in the industry, and prides herself on providing a nurturing learning environment that enables participants to truly absorb the material and apply it to their own work.

In her spare time, Sandy composes procedures for high-risk industrial processes, judges writing competitions, runs The Fearless Novelist Facebook group, and offers coaching and critiquing services.

Also connect with Sandy on Facebook and YouTube.




No more Information dumps!

Rated 5 out of 5
March 30, 2022

Sandy structures the class in a way that you are able to get hands on experience practicing each of the tool to take your backstory to the next level and seamlessly integrate the past while moving your story forward. Highly recommend.

Avatar for Megan Ganesh
Megan Ganesh

So helpful and very clear to follow

Rated 5 out of 5
March 25, 2022

This course is very helpful if you are wondering how to include backstory efficiently. Sandy lays out the steps very clearly and her feedback is insightful and encouraging. Would recommend it.

Avatar for Su Watson
Su Watson

Fun and insightful

Rated 5 out of 5
July 12, 2021

The material was interesting and fun. It helped me understand a lot about the craft of writing effectively using backstory. Sandy Vaile gave us lots of insight on how to use backstory brilliantly, including how, when and where to use it, how to create hooks with it, and when to give a little, and when to use it for maximum emotional impact. I recommend this course!

Avatar for Barbara Giammona
Barbara Giammona

Great Class, Great Instructor, Great Tools

Rated 5 out of 5
June 25, 2021

This class was super helpful in calling me out on my backstory issues - either not enough or too much or in the wrong place or at the wrong time. Sandy's pointed and specific lessons and exercises really gave me the eye to recognize and resolve those places in my work where I leaned a little too hard on my writing crutches. 😀

Avatar for Marcella Burnard
Marcella Burnard

Highly insightful and makes you think

Rated 5 out of 5
November 14, 2020

I was worried that this course may take up a lot of time that I didn't have, but that wasn't the case at all. I really appreciated how flexible it was and that you can do it when convenient for you. The exercises and teaching material somehow miraculously managed to not take up a lot of time but still share important nuggets of information and get you to think for yourself. I definitely had a couple of "aha!" moments. There is no doubt that taking this course and applying what I learned improved my manuscript 100%. I'll definitely be taking what I learned and using it across all my future work.

Avatar for Gina Hollands
Gina Hollands

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