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


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


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

Create characters


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


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


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


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.

Course sessions

member-only access