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"Crafting Nonlinear Narratives" with Varian Johnson

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ACC Highland Campus, rm 2102
6101 Airport Blvd.
Austin, TX 78752

10/14/2017 From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM


Online registration for this class has closed. You can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. Thank you!

$49 for members (sign in for member pricing)


Are you trying to weave together multiple narratives or timelines in your novel or stories?

Do your attempts at foreshadowing seem clunky or too subtle?

Thanks to novels such as Station Eleven and Holes and films such as Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects, the use of nonlinear narration -- a technique where scenes are portrayed out of chronological order -- has become more commonplace in current literature and media. However, there is more to this technique than just jumping back and forth in time. Additional literary devices such as foreshadowing, backstory, point of view, irony, and repetition are all paramount to the success of this technique.
In this class, participants will learn the different types of nonlinear narration, when they're most applicable, and ways to best utilize the technique.



  • You're writing novel with multiple points of view, timelines, or narrative threads (including mystery novels).
  • You're working on narrative structure, especially hinting at future events.



Varian Johnson is the author of six novels, including the Jackson Greene middle-grade series. The first novel in the series, The Great Greene Heist, was an ALA Notable Children’s Book Selection, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, and has been named to over twenty-five state reading and best-of lists. His books for older readers include My Life as a Rhombus and Saving Maddie, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book. Varian has also written for the Spirit Animals middle-grade fantasy series as well as short stories for middle grade and YA audiences. His newest stand-alone novel, The Parker Inheritance, is forthcoming in Spring 2018.

Varian was born and raised in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.



Austin Community College, Highland Campus, Room 2102. You can find an ACC campus map here.



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Online registration will close at the end of Thursday, October 12. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.



Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank Austin Community College for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit