Writing Short Stories

Improving | Fiction
Learn the craft of short story writing, then create and polish three new stories with an award-winning writer. Includes two masterclasses with internationally acclaimed masters of the form.

Please select:

Please select one type of payment

Short story is both the simplest and most difficult species of fiction. It can be any length, from Hemingway’s six-word classic ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") to thirty thousand words, by which time it is in danger of turning into a novella. It can, like a snapshot, record a fleeting impression; or it can develop an intricate and complex plot. It can be in any genre from Sci-Fi to Romance to Literary. It may reveal an epiphany, or have a twist in its tail, or contain a symbol which reverberates poetically. But whatever kind of story you’re interested in writing, crafting it is a skill which must be learned.

As A. L. Kennedy says, 'A short story is small in the way a bullet is small.' The writer needs to cut and cut again, for maximum impact. Every word must earn its place.

In this course we’ll look at the craft involved in writing a good short story. We’ll read extracts from a range of great stories in order to analyse how they work and what you as a writer can take from them to use in your own writing: how plot, structure, voice, setting, character and language combine to create a compelling fictional world. We’ll focus on beginnings and ends, and on how to know what to cut. The first half of each session will cover one of these topics, using extracts, exercises and tutor-led discussion. For the second hour we’ll workshop your work and give you constructive feedback. Learning to critique fellow-writers’ stories will further help you to see the strengths and weaknesses in your own.

The last two weeks of the course will feature masterclasses from Adam Marek and Lucy Caldwell. At the end of the course, all students will receive detailed email feedback on their final submissions, from Jane.

3rd October 2019 - 19th December 2019

Availability: In stock

15 Places

Sessions will take place 7pm–9pm every Tuesday night for twelve weeks. Below is a session breakdown, which is subject to change, but should give you a good idea of what to expect.

Session 1 — What is a short story? Definitions, and ways of getting started. How our workshops will work.

Session 2 — Who’s telling the story? The first person narrator, point of view, voice.

Session 3 — Characterisation: how do you create a compelling character, and how much can you draw on life?

Session 4 — Where? Setting, place, and atmosphere. How to make your setting a key player in your story.

Session 5 — How’s it written? Language and style, sentence structures and rhythm, tense.

Session 6 — Key skills: dialogue; showing not telling; being concise.

Session 7 — Autobiography into fiction; using life.

Session 8 — Longer, novelistic, and linked stories: plotting and structure.

Session 9 — Shorter stories: the glimpse, the glance, epiphanies.

Session 10 — Rewriting, criticising, cutting. Submitting work to websites, competitions and magazines.

Session 11 — Masterclass with Adam Marek.

Session 12 — Masterclass with Lucy Caldwell.

Note: Three people's work will be work-shopped each week. Work submitted for discussion by the group can be a complete story or simply a passage(s) on which you would value constructive criticism, of up to around 2,000 words.

Click here for more information +


Jane is an award-winning novelist, short story writer and radio dramatist. Her story collection Hitting Trees with Sticks was shortlisted for...



Come to one of the world's great literary cities and study creative writing at Faber Academy's home in historic Bloomsbury. Our London courses take place at Faber and Faber's offices.

View Map
View Map