Short story writing

Course Dates: 21/04/20 - 30/06/20
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
Location: FRA - Fashion Retail Academy

A hands-on introduction to the art of writing short stories. You will receive technical advice, creative exercises to generate ideas, and feedback to develop your writing skills.


What is the course about?

This intermediate course is designed for passionate writers and readers who want to explore the art of writing short stories. You will gain confidence in your ability to produce short fiction through a combination of practical exercises, examination of technical issues including plot and character, and constructive criticism from your tutor and fellow students.

Students say: "Great exercises, wonderful atmosphere, and a supportive group of very interesting writers"; "I really enjoyed learning about the various forms of short stories, and how they differ from other types of writing"; "Supportive atmosphere and useful feedback from the teacher"; "Good mix of different genres and prompts to try out.".

What will we cover?

- Generating ideas that will form the basis of sharp, compelling short stories
- Reading modern fiction with a critical eye to gain further understanding of the form
- Examining a wide range of key skills and writing techniques including plot, character, dialogue, structure and point-of-view
- Giving and receiving constructive criticism, and incorporating feedback from readers as you revise and improve your work.

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

- Plan, draft and revise short stories with greater confidence
- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Identify and develop good writing habits
- Continue to learn independently by reading modern short stories with increased critical awareness.

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

This is an intermediate course for students who have some experience of writing fiction (for instance through attending an introductory 'Ways into creative writing' course) and wish to focus on short stories. You should be an enthusiastic reader and have a good grasp of written and spoken English.

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

This is a practical class and the emphasis is on students' stories, produced at home and in the classroom. There will be exercises, homework, group discussion, and sharing of ideas - always in a supportive atmosphere. You will learn to give and receive constructive criticism so that students can begin to learn from each other. Contemporary short stories will be analysed and the group will discuss what they reveal about the art of writing.

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?

Please bring a pen and paper. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet for use during in-class writing exercises if you feel it will help you.

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

You may wish to continue your short story journey by enrolling on Reading for writers: the short story or Write a short story in a weekend. Interested in long form fiction? Try Starting your novel. If you feel ready to submit your work for rigorous constructive feedback, you are also welcome to progress to Advanced fiction writing workshop.

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 develop 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.


Customer Reviews 12 item(s)

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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.

Try it - it 's a really excellent course, with a very supportive tutor
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 17/03/2020)
Very worthwhile
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 12/03/2020)
A great opportunity for writers wanting to develop their work further.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 11/03/2020)
A superb course and a must for anyone wanting to pursue creative writing.
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Review by Denham2000 / (Posted on 07/12/2019)
A thorough grounding in short story writing with a strong practical element
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Review by Robert Bell / (Posted on 27/11/2019)
Go for it.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 20/11/2019)
This is an excelent course and even though Wednesday evening after work is a challenging time to be doing a course, I always felt energised and stimulated by the end of the evening.
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Review by Shamas / (Posted on 20/11/2019)
This course has been a vital part of my short story writing development. The tutor gave excellent feedback on work each week, the critical analysis was both encouraging and insightful. Each class studied an aspect of writing with references and analysis of great short stories and authors, accompanied with handouts to study at home.
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Review by anonymous / (Posted on 07/04/2019)
Zoe Fairbairns is an excellent tutor who really knows her subject. Her knowledge on short stories is boundless. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in short stories and creative writing generally.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 14/03/2019)
A very full and worthwhile course. I would certainly do one again
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Review by Mike / (Posted on 13/03/2019)
If you want to write short stories, this course will provide all the information and encouragement you need to get you started
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 06/12/2018)
If you want to write short stories this will help you - lots of advice and lots of opportunities to practise and get feedback.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/12/2018)
Tutor Biographies
Jonathan Barnes

Jonathan Barnes is the author of three novels. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review and has contributed to the Arts pages of The Lancet. He is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University. He is also the author of several full-cast audio dramas from Big Finish Productions, featuring characters from Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein and Doctor Who.

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: HW294

Please choose a course date 

Tue, eve, 21 Apr - 30 Jun '20

Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £209.00
Senior fee: £209.00
Concession: £84.00

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.