Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

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!

What you will learn

This workshop will give you the skills to:

  • Ensure backstory is consistent and relevant to what is going on in the story.
  • Select an appropriate delivery method.
  • Know when to release backstory for maximum effect.
  • Use backstory to develop tension.
  • Identify where backstory isn’t working and why.
  • Learn techniques for organic revelation, instead of information dumping.
  • Use backstory as a baseline from which to show character growth.

Who should take this course?

This workshop is for aspiring fiction writers from absolute beginners to experienced authors, who want to polish their craft, avoid the dreaded information dumps and create characters who resonate with readers.

Sandy Vaile is passionate about making sure participants fully understand concepts, so there will be plenty of opportunities to apply what you’ve learnt to your own work, examples, colourful handouts and free resources.


Week 1

  • What backstory is and why it’s important
  • How to develop different types of backstory
  • Significant events and influences

Week 2

  • Part 1 of delivery devices
  • Using other characters and internal thoughts
  • Using documents and dialogue

Week 3

  • Part 2 of delivery devices
  • The dilemma of whether or not to include a prologue
  • Using setting and imagery
  • The delicate art of flashbacks that aren’t boring

Week 4

  • Key concepts: Timing, Relevance, Placement
  • Keep all that information organized
  • Putting it all together

What students are saying about Sandy’s workshops

"Helpful, practical and inspirational, Sandy's workshop took my writing to the next level."

"I loved Sandy's dedication to giving the best feedback possible. It's made a huge difference to me already."

“I credit this teacher with a quantum shift in my writing. I can literally see the difference!"

​“I liked the friendly nature of the learning experience.”

Sandy Vaile’s teaching is clear, concise and encouraging.”


Sandy Vaile

Sandy Vaile is a motorbike-riding daredevil who isn’t content with a story unless there’s a courageous heroine and a dead body. She writes romantic-suspense for Simon & Schuster US and empowers modern writers to produce commercial quality fiction.

Sandy is an experienced course presenter with a decade of experience in the industry. She 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 competitions, runs The Fearless Novelist Facebook group, and offers mentoring and critiquing services.

Also connect with Sandy on Facebook and Twitter



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.

Write Backstory With Confidence 1
Gina Hollands

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