Reading for writers: the short story (a fortnightly course)

Course Dates: 14/01/20 - 24/03/20
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
Location: International House

The best way to write good short stories is to read a lot of good ones first. Dive into the best of short fiction, explore point-of-view, character and pacing, and begin to apply the lessons learnt to your own writing in this fortnightly course.


What is the course about?

This course will help writers of every level improve their writing skills and develop new techniques in fiction writing. The class will explore a wide range of successful short stories and look at ways to help you write your own. There'll be weekly reading assignments and writing exercises.

What will we cover?

Point of view; narrative time; constructing dramatic scenes; shaping an entire story from beginning, to middle, to end. Issues, opportunities and challenges specific to short story writing.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify the basic techniques of fiction
- Recognise the basic techniques of fiction in the work of good short story writers
- Develop these techniques in your own writing
- Recognise what makes a strong short story by reading good short story writers.

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

This class is open to those with some experience of writing fiction. You will need to be fluent in English.

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

You will be assigned several short stories to read every week, and will be assigned a writing exercise.

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.

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

There are no additional costs. Please bring writing materials, and a laptop if you need one.

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

You may wish to join one of our short story writing courses, or continue to hone a specific element of craft such as character or point of view in one of our Craft Focus courses. Check out our prospectus for further information. 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.


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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This course is integral if you want to learn the craft of writing the short story.
Course Rating
Review by Zena / (Posted on 18/12/2018)
Tutor Biographies
Maria Thomas

Maria Thomas is an award-winning writer of short fiction. She has taught writing at the University of Virginia, and as a Promising Scholar and Margaret McBride Lerhman Fellow at the University of Oregon where she studied for her MFA in Fiction. She is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she researches creative writing pedagogy and working on a novel. Maria sits on the editorial board of acclaimed literary journal, Short Fiction.

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.

Book your place

Course Code: HW183

Tue, eve, 14 Jan - 24 Mar '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £129.00
Senior fee: £129.00
Concession: £52.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.