Write Better Short Stories

Improving | Fiction
Short stories are little gems. You've already written a few, but now you’re looking for ways to really make them shine.

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This intensive twelve-week course is about building on the writing skills you already have, deepening your knowledge of the short story genre, and helping you to feel more confident about exploring different types of story in your own practice.

You’ll get individual feedback on your work, which will also be workshopped by the group. You’ll take three of your stories through multiple drafts to a point where they are ready to submit for publication.

We’ll draw examples and inspiration from six of the best contemporary stories, which you’ll be given to read in advance of the course. Analysis and discussion of short story writing techniques will be based on these six stories.

– Which are the telling details your reader needs to know, as opposed to the digressions that make the story sag?

– How do you strip a story down to its bones and check that you have a skeleton that will work?

– How do we identify and chop out circumlocution, clichés, abstractions and repetitions?

– How can we find precise words and images which will reveal larger truths through small events?

– How do symbols work in stories?

– How do you avoid writing which is on the nose?

– Many readers believe that the best short stories leave a gap. There’s space for the reader to work, to add his/her own interpretation, to join the dots. How do you leave a gap?

Each session will contain a short writing exercise, tutor-led discussion of a specific technique, and group workshopping of your work. Time for individual feedback is also built into the course.

7th May 2020 - 23rd July 2020

Availability: In stock

13 Places

Sessions take place 7pm–9pm every Thursday evening. Tea and coffee will be available from 6.45pm. Please note: your teaching room will not be available before 6.30pm at the earliest.

Session 1 – The writer as reader; what makes a story work for you ? Identifying key elements. Workshop guidelines.

Session 2 – Dialogue that reveals character and advances the action.

Session 3 – Precise language; what it is and how to use it.

Session 4 – Genre; crime, sci fi, romance. Are there formulas you can borrow?

Session 5 – Research; which might be historical, geographical, or scientific. How can it make the world of your story more convincing?

Session 6 – Symbol and metaphor; how can you invest an individual object with greater significance?

Session 7 – Description; how to extract the telling detail from the purple prose

Session 8 – Humour; how does it work, on the page? Can you turn your hand to writing comedy?

Session 9 – Structure and pace. Why are some stories long and others short?

Session 10 – Voices, and using non-standard English.

Session 11 – The gap; what can be left out?

Session 12 – Opportunities for publication.

An instalment payment plan is available – pay a deposit of £395 to secure your place, and you will be automatically signed up to two monthly payments of £300, on 2nd June and 2nd July.

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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.

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