The course includes 10 sessions of 2 hours each and will last 10 weeks
2 big awards
The course will finish with a special event and two awards: Best Short Story & Readers' Award
beat your best
Face the ultimate challenge - yourself - and beat it like it owes you money
Join the course and get access to our exclusive, member-only forum to share your works
Creative writing is about disinhibition (allowing yourself to write) and craft (structuring, shaping, polishing). The course will look at both sides of this balance.
Tom Phillips, tutor at the Short Story course
along the way
a. k. a. lesson plan
Find your inspiration
Where do stories come from? Undertake challenges which inspire you to create stories – e. g. tell a story based on:
• A specific object or combination of objects
• On a painting, photograph or piece of music
• A series of prompt questions
• Free writing
Understand narrative structure
• Use the Hero’s Journey to write a fairy tale, myth or Hollywood blockbuster
• Read and be able to identify the structure of short stories such as Salinger’s ‘A Perfect Day For Bananafish’
• Understand the three-act structure by identifying how it works in movies
Whose story are you going to tell?
• Create a character using only an adjective and a noun
• Develop your character using character profiling
• Take your character out to lunch and find out what makes them tick
• Give your character a moral dilemma and see how they react
Who is telling the story?
• Tell a simple story from different viewpoints
• Read and be able to discuss the viewpoints used in short stories like James Joyce’s ‘The Sisters’
Learn how conflict/drama work and understand how to use dialogue:
• Break your story down into scenes using a ‘event / location / character / detail / association’ plan
• Write a scene using only dialogue
• Read Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ and identify how a single-scene, dialogue-heavy story works
Where and when is your story happening?
• Write about a specific place that you know – what are its stories?
• Read and identify how writers bring places to life in short fiction, but also in poetry, travel writing, etc.
• Write about ‘home’. What does that mean?
Keep it short
Understand how ‘less is more’ by:
• Writing your story in the shortest possible way (without just summarizing it)
• Writing your story with specific constraints (e. g. without using any adjectives; using only concrete nouns; as if you are a camera and don’t know anything about the characters at all, etc.
• Starting your story as close to the end as possible
Write for an audience
Understand how to make your writing a ‘public (and publishable) object’ by:
• Exploring philosophies and techniques of revision
• Becoming the ‘first reader’ of your own work
• Workshopping your story with the group
• Learning about the publishing industry, the role of the internet etc.