The Five Day Short Story

Improving | Fiction
Five days, one story – master the art of the short story during this week-long intensive online course.

This creative and inspiring examination of the art of the short story examines the form from a writer’s perspective.

It is also a hands-on experience, turning theory into practical effect as each participant is nurtured and guided towards the completion of a story from beginning to end.

How it works:

The course runs online over five consecutive days. The day is broken up into two teaching sessions, one in the morning and one after lunch, followed by writing time in the afternoon.

Each morning session you will look at a masterpiece of short fiction which you will have had the opportunity to read in advance. The works will be examined in terms of their historical and literary context – and, as importantly, will be used to illustrate essential elements of fiction, such as characterisation, setting, and narrative structure. The aim of this course is to incorporate theory with practice, and we'll mix teaching time with discussion and individual exercises.

Workshops will also enable you to share your own emerging story with your tutor and the rest of the group. By the final day, you will have produced a short story for inclusion in a group anthology (collated as a pdf for the online version of this course) – tangible evidence of the accumulated skills and a memento of a creative and productive week.

12th - 16th July 2021

Availability: In stock

15 Places

Monday 12 July

10.30 – 12.30: Introductions and examination of the short story form. Ideas and where they come from. Playing with the Book of Ruth as a source of ‘what if?’ Characterisation – discussion and individual exercise.

Lunch break

13.30 – 14.30: Students introduce their own short story projects. Discussion and guidance on submission and peer reviewing.

14.30 – 16.30: Writing time: You can stay on in the Zoom room to do that if you'd like a bit of company, or log off if you'd prefer to work alone (you can also write later in the day if that's more suitable for you).

Tuesday 13 July

10.30 – 12.30: The classic form. Examining Chekhov, as one of the nineteenth-century masters, with a particular look at ‘The Lady with the Lapdog’ in terms of voice and style: who tells the story and how? A short practical exercise relating technique to the text.

Lunch break

13.30 – 14.30: Short story workshop, in which participants read and receive feedback on their emerging story.

14.30 – 16.30: Writing time

Wednesday 14 July

10.30 – 12.30: Introduction to Hemingway and 'The Killers', focusing on dialogue. Dialogue exercise in pairs or threes.

Lunch break

13.30 – 14.30: Short story workshop

14.30 – 16.30: Writing time

Thursday 15 July

10.30 – 12.30: The influence of Jorge Luis Borges (with reference to his story, Death and the Compass). Narrative structure, particularly looking at crime fiction. Group exercise – ‘Whodunnit and why?’

Lunch break

13.30 – 14.30: Short story workshop

14.30 – 16.30: Writing time

Friday 16 July

10.30 – 12.30: Alice Munro and The Beggar Maid. Guidance and discussion on openings and endings, followed by analysis of the openings and endings of the five short stories studied in the course. Keeping going – sustaining writing momentum and short story opportunities.

Lunch break

13.30 – 14.30: Review of each short story completed during the five days and the launch of the FIVE DAY SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY, in which all are featured.

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Shelley Weiner is an acclaimed novelist, short-story writer and journalist who has, over the...

"There's no point staring at a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike - to get your creative muscles working you need to start writing, reviewing and sharing your work."

Helen Shipman