Looking Back or Moving Forward: The Importance of Backstory and Flashback in Your Fiction

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Taught by Joe Pfister

Joe Pfister is a writer, teacher, and Tecmo Super Bowl enthusiast living in Windsor Terrace. His fiction has appeared in such publications as PANKNew World WritingJuked, and decomP, among others. He is a graduate of the MFA Writing program at Sarah Lawrence College and currently serves as an online instructor for The Eckleburg Workshops, annual juror for The Scholastic Writing Awards, and fiction editor of The Boiler Journal.  

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Backstory. Flashback. What is the difference? How much is too much? In this discussion-based craft workshop, we will read and analyze key examples from well-known authors such as Nick White, Alice Munro, and Sally Rooney, and will explore the ins and outs of tense, point of view, and narrative momentum when deciding where and when to employ flashback and backstory in your own fiction. You’ll leave this two-hour course armed with new tools and a deeper understanding of how to employ these different techniques and why.

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