The Fundamentals of Backstory, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Backstory is crucial when it comes to creating characters whose actions and emotions engage the reader. In order to write three-dimensional characters, you must understand what has happened to them in the past and how it impacts the current story. But the reader doesn’t need to know every detail of a character’s history, and sometimes backstory can turn into an information dump rather than driving the narrative forward. In this workshop, writers will look at techniques for uncovering their character’s unique backstory, determine which pieces are essential to the story, and practice ways to incorporate those pieces without dragging down the plot. 

Saturday, September 26, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Jacqueline Sheehan, PhD is the New York Times bestselling author of The Comet’s Tale, Lost & Found, Now & Then, Picture This, The Center of the World, and The Tiger in the House. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, and essays including the New York Times column, “Modern Love.” She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and around the world. Find out more at