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Unravel your characters and their worlds.

Join Jeni Chappelle, Tiffany Grimes, and Carly Hayward as they pull at the threads that form your character and help you craft a fully developed story.

February 4-7 2021

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For four days, work virtually with these three professional editors to explore every aspect of writing three-dimensional characters, from inception, into drafting, and through revisions.

Story Threads: Unraveling Character will help you bring new depth and dimension to every character you create. This virtual retreat includes a deep dive on major topics that influence characters, as well as discussions and exercises on:

  • Creating realistic and well-developed characters
  • How characters and plot influence each other
  • Defining your character’s internal and external struggles
  • And more!

And of course, plenty of time for writing.

All participants will also receive feedback on 10 pages of their manuscript from one of our professional editors + other writers at the retreat.

NOW offering: Build Your Own Retreat

We have made Story Threads even more customizable. Now you can choose only the portions that will help you most, without having to do the whole retreat. Each session, masterclass, and even the critique groups are now available a la carte, and you’ll still be able to join in writing sprints and engage with the community for all four days.

Click here for full Build Your Own Retreat details.

Jump to: Editors Registration Classes

What's included

February 4-7, 2021
  • Three-day masterclass that goes deep into one topic for the whole weekend
  • 4 one-hour sessions on common issues that relate to characters in fiction
  • Daily critique groups + feedback on the first 10 pages of your manuscript
  • Lots of time for writing while connecting with other writers

Because our Unraveling Character Virtual Retreat has 3 editors, each participant will be able to pick from 3 masterclass topics and 12 session topics

Jeni Chappelle
Tiffany Grimes
Carly Hayward

Cost: $895

Want to build your own retreat? Click here for Build Your Own Retreat details and cost.

Story Threads Spot Images


Jeni Chappelle

JENI CHAPPELLE is a freelance novel editor with ten years’ experience, cofounding editor and board member for Revise & Resub (#RevPit), and EFA and SCBWI member. Jeni loves working with authors of all levels to shape their stories and bring their books out into the world. She hosts two podcasts for authors, Indie Chicks and Story Chat Radio. She considers herself a hobbit (minus the big, hairy feet) and lives in a tiny town near Charlotte, NC with her family and way too many pets.

Tiffany Grimes

TIFFANY GRIMES is a developmental editor and designer who helps writers flourish and bloom. She has an MFA from Hamline University in writing for children and young adults. Her writing has been published in Feels Blind Literary, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Microfiction Monday Magazine, The Fiction Pool, Ruminate Magazine, and HerStry. When she’s not editing or designing websites, she loves hiking, backpacking, sipping Earl Grey tea, snuggling with her cats, and just about every kind of craft.

Carly Hayward

CARLY HAYWARD is a developmental editor who helps authors find their voice and bring their book to light. With 10+ years in publishing, she’s worked all over the industry, including at a big 5 publishing house, a small press, and an agency. She is a #RevPit editor and a co-host on Story Chat Radio. When not reading or working she lounges with her husband being vastly amused by their cats or binge-watching TV.

Registration Details

The retreat is committed to an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion. We encourage participation from writers in the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, neurodiverse, and other underserved communities, and authors in those communities will receive priority. Story Threads does not tolerate harassment of attendees or team members in any form.


There are limited spots for this virtual retreat, so writers must complete a short application. The editors will review the applications and then notify the selected participants via the email provided on the application. Any writer 18 or older may apply. All topics will focus on fiction only in any genre for ages 10 and above.

Cost: $895 for the full retreat
Deposit: $250

Deposits hold your place and are non-refundable.* Deposits are applied to your total registration fee. Payment plans are available.

Please contact us directly if you need financial aid. Authors from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, and other historically marginalized communities will be given priority.

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Apply Now


Available Add-ons

Additional Session Recordings

  • $200 for an additional 4 sessions
  • $350 for all sessions

Retreat Packages

Contact editors directly to schedule

  • 1-on-1 Coaching Sessions (60 minutes) - $90
  • Query and 1st 50 pages Critique - $125
  • 10% Retreat Discount on any services offered by the editors

Masterclasses (90 minutes each day for 3 days)

You’ll choose 1 of the following topics:

Your Story’s Fingerprint: Voice with Jeni Chappelle

One of the vaguest concepts in writing is voice. We know it when we see it, but if you struggle with voice in your writing, how do you fix it? While voice may seem like some mystical power that some writers naturally possess and others don’t, it’s a skill like any other—which means it can be practiced and taught. Through interactive exercises and group discussion, you’ll learn to define and identify voice and its elements, distinguish between the kinds of voice a writer needs (yes, there’s more than one!), and concrete techniques to apply these concepts to your own writing.

Connection, Depth, and Heart: Deep POV with Tiffany Grimes

Deep POV (point-of-view) is intrinsically linked to character development. Readers need an emotional connection to the protagonist— Why should we care? Why should we keep reading? In this three-day master class, we’ll discuss how to bridge the gap between the reader and the characters to create in-depth, realistic, characters that come alive on the page. We’ll learn about the levels of narrative distance, mine stories to see how authors achieve deep POV, and complete writing exercises to learn how to apply a deeper POV to our current manuscripts.

Character vs. Self: Internal Conflict with Carly Hayward

The basis of all your character’s actions throughout your story can come down to their internal conflict. It defines how they react, what they need to solve, and how they relate to others around them. Internal conflict is the best way to deepen your characters and to show their arc throughout a story. In this master class we’ll use discussions and exercises to carve out emotional wounds in your character—then we’ll salt those wounds. We’ll create a heart-wrenching impetus, learn about what causes conflict, find ways to poke at your characters and reveal their triggers, and delve into the consequences of those conflicts.

Sessions (1 hour each)

You’ll choose 4 from the following topics:

  • Laugh It Off: Using Humor to Reveal Character in Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction
  • The Big Bad Villain: Antagonists in Fiction, or How to Create More Nuanced Antagonists
  • Everybody Lies: Using Unreliable Narrators as a Plot Device
  • Sexuality, Drugs, and Abuse: Writing Hard Topics Through a Young Adult and Middle Grade Lens
  • Know Your Tropes: Understand (& Subvert!) Cliches to Delight Readers
  • They Grow So Fast: Create Masterful Character Arcs
  • Character Agency: What Is It, and How Do I Get It?
  • No Small Roles: Strong and Realistic Secondary Characters
  • Goal, Motivation, Conflict:The How, the Why, and the What of Character Actions
  • Disability Representation: The Dos and Don’ts of Authentic Disabled Characters
  • To Kiss or Not to Kiss: Romantic Tension
  • Community Matters: Creating Deep/Realistic Non-Romantic Relationships

Plus the editors are putting together some special surprises!

Ready to take your characters to the next level?

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Apply Now