August/September 2018 Online: Sandy Vaile – Treat Backstory Like a Pungent Spice

Dates: August 20th to September 16th

Cost: Members-$30     Non-Members-$40

Sprinkle and blend the flavours of your character to achieve an irresistible aroma….

Have you been accused of too much telling or information dumps? Does your character have a fascinating history, but you’re not sure how best to convey it to readers? Avoid the pitfalls of backstory by peeling back the layers one at a time to discover the most effective delivery methods, how much to use, and how to make it drive the main story.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand how to use backstory to develop tension and engage readers.
  • Know where your character came from and is headed, so the backstory is consistent and relevant.
  • Determine which parts of the backstory are important, and which are just filler.
  • Be able to identify where backstory isn’t working.
  • Learn techniques to reveal backstory as part of the story, instead of information dumping.
  • Know when to release backstory for maximum effect.
  • Avoid backstory taking over the whole story.
  • Use backstory as a baseline from which to show character growth.

This popular workshop combines colourful handouts, tailored feedback, videos and live chats to engage participants. There will be plenty of opportunities to apply the learnings to individual work.

Sandy is a strong believer that learning outcomes are increased through collaboration and sharing, so she encourages this in a safe and nurturing environment; however, those who aren’t comfortable with sharing, are welcome to email their homework separately.

What people 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 liked the friendly nature of the learning experience.”

“The workshop was well structured, with information provided at an appropriate pace to enable participants to absorb it and apply it to their own work.”

How to Register:

Online class runs from August 20th to September 16th, 2018, and will be conducted via Yahoo group. Register by paying the course fee ($30 SRW members, $40 nonmembers) on our Payments page.  No Refunds, except in the case class is cancelled.

Shortly before the class begins, the moderator will send you an invitation to join the group. The invitation will be sent to the email shown on your PayPal payment, so if you wish to use a different email address or have questions, please contact

Registration requires 48 hours to process. It is your responsibility to mark your calendars and iron out any difficulties joining the Yahoo group. No refunds, except in the case of class cancellation.