short

story

Write your best short story yet

10 sessions

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

forum

Join the course and get access to our exclusive, member-only forum to share your works

Core philosophy

 

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

Specific challenges

along the way

 

a. k. a. lesson plan

 
Find your inspiration

1

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

2

    • 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

Create characters

3

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

Understand viewpoint

4

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’

Make scenes

5

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

Understand setting

6

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

7

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

8

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.

Course sessions

member-only access

 
  • 01

    GETTING STARTED

    Core philosophy

    A few key thoughts

    What does a short story need?

    Where do ideas come from?

    Additional material

  • 02

    Narrative structure

    What is structure?

    Health warning

    Understanding structure

    Archetypal plots

    The Hero’s Journey

  • 03

    Building a world

    To plan or not to plan?

    Planning techniques

    Planning examples

  • 04

    Building Characters

    How many characters to create?

    Main characters

    Minor characters

    Character profiling

    Additional techniques

  • 05

    FINDING THE RIGHT VIEWPOINT

    Why is viewpoint important?

    Who should be telling the story?

    Types of viewpoint

    The perspective of time

  • 06

    Scenes, Conflict & Dialogue

    What makes a good scene?

    Scene length & flow

    What makes good dialogue?

    Common dialogue problems

  • 07

    Setting & location

    Location coming alive

    The role of location

    How to describe location?

    10 tips on writing about place

  • 08

    Revising your work

    Key revision points

    From writer to first reader

    The revision process

    Things to look out for

    Editing & proofreading

  • 09

    Genres & markets

    The rise of genre fiction
    Where to get your work published
    How to make a submission
    Self-publishing pros & cons
    Life as a writer

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