Those Who Forget the Past: Using Backstory to Enhance Your Novel

Presented by Cynthia Owens

September 5-29, 2022
Cost:  Free for RWAOL members.  $30 for non-members.  
Public welcome.

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About This Workshop

In Those Who Forget History: Using Backstory to Enhance Your Novel, students will examine how to use backstory effectively to enhance their stories using elements of a character’s past.

We will cover:
• What is Backstory?
• Flashbacks and How to Use Them,
• The Five Ws of Backstory—Who, What, Where, When and Why—of a character’s past.
• Prologues—how to use a prologue to provide backstory.
• Dialogue—how to manipulate your readers by using a character’s dialogue to hint at backstory.
• Weaving—how to weave backstory into your story.
• Inner Thought—revealing your character’s backstory through inner thought.
• What Do They Want?—how your character’s backstory can affect his goals.
Included in the workshop is a workbook with assignments, checklists, and more. 

About The Presenter

I’m Cynthia Owens and I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.

I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond, and The Wild Geese Series, in which five Irish heroes return from the American Civil War to find love and adventure.

I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and the Quebec Writers Federation. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero. I have two adult children. 

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What You Need to Know

  • Deadline to register:  September 5, 2022.
  • You do NOT need to be a member of RWA® or RWAOL to take this class.
  • RWA® Online conducts all workshops via a discussion board system located on this website.  However, access to the site is restricted by login and password to ensure that the workshop is only available to those that are authorized to attend.  This is not an email loop workshop.
  • For questions, contact us through our contact form.