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These intensive writing weeks are there to give you some space, to rack up some word count, as well as to create some new material from prompts.


As well as the below exercises you should be working intensively on your novel this fortnight! Brag about your word count on the Word Count Forum – which you will find a link to in the introduction page of this course.

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red avatar 5EXERCISE: Backstory

Think about your main character, and imagine a dramatic episode from their past (ie. before the story commenced). It can be traumatic, joyful, terrifying, or any combination, but it should be something that changed their perspective forever.



  • Write up this scene in first person present tense. Use as many sensual details as you can and really immerse yourself in the moment.
  • Aim to write at least 1000 words.
  • If you want to share your writing please do so on the Backstory Forum. If you do share your work, you must come back and read at least one other piece of writing and share some critical feedback on the work.

Perhaps you might not use this scene you write in your story, but you will know a lot more about your character once you are done.


On Giving Constructive Feedback To A Colleague: The Feedback Sandwich


When giving feedback use what is known as a ‘feedback sandwich’. This means comment on something that is good in the writing, then make a suggestion as to how you think it could be improved, and then finish it off with another positive comment.

Reading and giving feedback to other writers is a way to develop your ability to work out what works in writing – sometimes you can see things in their writing that you cannot see in your own.


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