Short story writing: evening

An introduction to the skills of short story writing. Learn strategies for creating or finding short stories, and narrating them - how to start, how to keep going, how to finish, and how to keep stories short without sacrificing essentials.

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Key course information

22/04/15 - 08/07/15

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12 weeks

19:40 - 21:40

Fees ?
Full fee: £182
Senior fee: £182
Concession: £62

KS - Keeley Street

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Course outline

What is the course about?

Introducing you to the skills of short story writing.

What topics will we cover?

How short is a short story? How long? How can you structure a short story? Should you write with a specific audience in mind? How do you make every word count? How do you find that telling detail? Do all stories have to be made up, or are they out there, waiting to be found? Who publishes short stories, and what is the best way of approaching them? How can you claim time for writing? And other related topics.

By the end of this course you should be able to:

- Write a very short story at one sitting
- Write a longer short story over a longer period, without it turning into a novel
- Assess your own work, making good use of other people's critical comments
- Identify and develop good writing habits
- Find short stories in your everyday life and the lives of other people
- Respond with sensitivity and helpful criticism to the work of other students
- Learn from published short stories
- Know where to find information about opportunities to publish your work.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is for students who are already writing - perhaps in different forms - and now want to concentrate on short stories.
You should also be an enthusiastic short story reader.
A good grasp of written and spoken English is assumed.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This is a practical course, and the emphasis will be on students’ stories, whether written at home or in class. There will be some formal teaching, and discussion of published work, and what it can teach us. You will be expected to write stories in class and at home, and present them for group discussion. You will also have the opportunity to hand in several stories to the tutor for detailed assessment.
For this course, writing is more important than reading, but please read as many published short stories as you can and be ready to talk about what you have learned from them.

The Tutor
Zoe Fairbairns' short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio Four and have appeared in anthologies including Tales I Tell My Mother, Despatches from the Frontiers of the Female Mind and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. She has also published stories in magazines such as Quality Women's Fiction, Cosmopolitan and The Mechanics Institute Review. Her latest collection, How do you pronounce Nulliparous? Is published by Five Leaves. She has taught creative writing at the Arvon Foundation, at Morley College, in schools, in prisons, and at a shelter for homeless people. She has run writing workshops at the University of Minnesota USA, Deakin University in Australia, and the University of Havana, Cuba. Her novels include Benefits, Stand We At Last, Here Today, Closing and Other Names. Her latest book, Write Short Stories and Get Them Published – Teach Yourself, is published by Hodder Education.
For more information, please go to
City lit reserves the right to change course tutors or venues from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor/venue.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will need pen and paper. And it will help if you can bring photocopies of your work for distribution to the class.

Do I need to have an interview before I can enrol?


What feedback will I get?

You will receive regular feedback from your tutor throughout the course, as and when appropriate. At the end of the course you and your tutor are asked to assess the progress you have made. From the portfolio of short stories that you write during the course. From the fragments of stories that never quite made it but which you are hanging on to for future use. From the feedback on your writing that you will receive from the tutor and fellow students.

How will I be able to give my views on the course?

Please complete the evaluation form at the end of your course. These are monitored and help us to continually improve our courses.

How do I find out if I can get some support for my learning?

You may be interested in: education and careers advice; financial and childcare support; disability support; support for Deaf and hearing-impaired students; dyslexia support; English and maths support; counselling, and library services (supported learning centre). To find out what may be available to you, and how to apply, see page 340 of the 14/15 course guide, or visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Information and Advice Shop, open Monday to Friday 12:00 – 19:00 during term time, and Monday to Friday 12:00 – 17:00 out of term time. See the course guide for term dates and further details.

Who can I contact for further information?

Tel: 020 7492 2652

Advice times:

During term-time Monday 17.30–18.30 Thursday 12.30–13.30

To enrol on a course, call 020 7831 7831.

Select another date / day / time

Dates Day(s) Time Duration Location Fees Snr Conc Code Availability
01/10/14 to
Wed 19:40 - 21:40 12 weeks KS - Keeley Street £182 £182 £62 HW024 Full » Select
14/01/15 to
Wed 19:40 - 21:40 12 weeks KS - Keeley Street £182 £182 £62 HW025 Available » Select
22/04/15 to
Wed 19:40 - 21:40 12 weeks KS - Keeley Street £182 £182 £62 HW026 Available » Select

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Tel: 020 7492 2652

Advice times:

During term-time Monday 17.30–18.30 Thursday 12.30–13.30

To enrol on a course, call 020 7831 7831.

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