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 story from beginning to end, and will come away with an improved critical understanding of what makes a good story.
Students say: "Great teacher, great environment and group"; "A fantastic, succinct course which really helped me to kick-start my writing"; "Very well-taught and inspiring - I gained valuable knowledge to help me write better short stories"; "Super-stimulating - I have confidence and many more ideas to work with now."
Tom McKay is a writer and lecturer. He currently teaches creative writing at The Open University and at London's City Lit. He publishes mainly short stories and poems - and is currently working on an extended piece of non-fiction, along with publicising his latest short film 'Interview with a Piano'. He co-founded 'Liars' League' - an award-winning monthly night of performance fiction which takes place in central London.
City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors 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.
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.
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.
All students are invited to join us at City Lit Talks Back, our monthly performance night for City Lit writers. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and there's no need to book in advance. Visit www.citylit.ac.uk/citylittalksback for more details or if you're interested in reading your work. Students are also encouraged to submit to Between the Lines, our annual anthology. Learn more at www.citylit.ac.uk/betweenthelines. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details