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

Course Dates: 29/09/24 - 08/12/24
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: Online
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.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £75.00
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Reading for writers: the short story (a fortnightly course)
  • Course Code: HW196
  • Dates: 29/09/24 - 08/12/24
  • Time: 10:30 - 12:30
  • Taught: Sun, Daytime
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 11 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Annabel Banks

Course Code: HW196

Choose a start date  

Sun, day, 29 Sep - 08 Dec '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Any questions?
or call 020 4582 0415

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

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.

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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

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 an ethusiastic reader and fluent in English.

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

You will be assigned short stories to read every week and writing exercises. You will learn through interactive tutor presentation, discussion and analysis of published works, and feedback from the tutor and your peers on your own work.

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?

There are no additional costs. Please bring writing materials.

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

You may wish to continue developing your skills in Short story writing, or if you are ready to submit your work for rigorous critical feedback, you may wish to progress to Advanced fiction writing workshop. If you would like to develop your understanding of writing craft further you may enjoy the Reading and writing group, in which students will read, discuss, and complete exercises from a seminal craft text.

Our Craft Focus series is also available to writers who wish to focus on an isolated element of fiction writing craft. We offer short intensive courses in developing character, plot, setting, point of view, and more. See our website or contact the department for advice on how you can build a programme of fiction writing study.

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.

Annabel Banks

Annabel's is a writer of poetry and prose. Her short story collection, Exercises in Control, was published by Influx Press in 2020 and was longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. Other work can be found in literary journals and anthologies including Granta, The Manchester Review, Shearsman, The Stockholm Review, Under the Radar and 3:AM. Her writing has received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, with further nominations for the Queen's Ferry Press Best Short Fictions, Blazevox's Bettering American Poetry, Best News Poets [US] and the Derringer Awards, and was longlisted for the Royal Academy/Pindrop Short Story Award. Recently, Annabel was commissioned by the BBC and the University of Cambridge to create original works, while her story 'Not the End of the World' received a special mention in the Galley Beggar Short Fiction Prize. You can read more about her work at

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.