How to write a short story
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
What is the course about?
This hands-on course uses a series of guided exercises to get you writing in new ways, exploring unfamiliar territory and discoveirng new connections and turning points. You'll be led through the process of drafting a short story from beginning to end, and will come away with an improved critical understanding of what makes a good story.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- How to begin a story
- Finding and developing characters
- Exploring structure and turning points, contrast and conflict
- Establishing mood and themes
- Being imaginative with language and symbols
- Finding endings, setting up epiphanies, twists, and denouements.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Complete a first draft of a short story.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous experience of creative writing is required, though practised writers will also benefit from stimulating approaches to generating new material. Fluent written and spoken English is essential.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
- Existing writing will be analysed and discussed to find out what makes a story successful
- You'll participate in a variety of writing exercises that will produce characters, plots, and new ideas
- Group feedback and constructive criticism offered to individual students.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No additional costs. Please bring a pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit runs term-long 'Short story writing' courses in the evening and daytime, as well as a range of 'Writing fiction' courses that will teach you essential skills and techniques. You may also be interested in 'Reading for Writers: the Short Story.'
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
Vicky has been teaching creative writing at City Lit since 2018. She has also taught for the Open University, London South Bank University and the University of Greenwich, and she reads for the manuscript assessment agency The Literary Consultancy. Her short fiction has appeared in new writing anthologies published by Picador, Granta, Duckworths, Serpents’ Tail and Bloomsbury. Her nonfiction essay 'Into the Valley' was mentioned in Best American Essays, 2013. Her short story collection 'Live Show, Drink Included' was published by Holland Park Press in 2018 and is long-listed for the £10,000 Edge Hill Prize. One of the stories is in Best British Short Stories, 2019.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.