Crafting Short Stories

Gretchen Shirm

Saturday 28 October 2023, 10am-4pm

Full Price: $210
Member: $155
Conc Member: $135

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This short story writing course with Gretchen Shirm takes place at Writing NSW in Sydney.

The short story is the most elegant and penetrating of fictional forms. It is also, notoriously, one of the most difficult forms to write. Join novelist and short story writer Dr Gretchen Shirm for this workshop that provides guidance on this form and gives students an excellent understanding of key aspects of narrative and story structure.

Is this course right for you? Read our FAQ >

In this workshop, participants will discuss the short story form as a narrative in miniature, looking at Ernest Hemingway’s ‘iceberg’ theory, and the way the short story often works by what is left unsaid. You will consider examples of short stories as different ways in which the short story structure can be realised, such as through precision, absence and clarity. Participants will also examine ways of finding voice and the techniques of short story writers such as Anton Chekhov, Helen Garner, Anne Enright, Lauren Groff, Melissa Lucashenko, and Elizabeth Strout, to name a few.

Since endings are often defining of the short story form, you will discuss different approaches to endings and how an ending might be uncovered as we write. Finally, you will also consider the way the short story, though small, expands outwards, drawing in meaning that extends beyond its own words.

Expected learning outcomes

Participants will:

  1. Gain an understanding of the short story form, and how to distinguish it from other forms of writing
  2. Gain an understanding of the mechanisms that make a short story work, and learn how to structure their own stories
  3. Learn what sort of material and experience is apt for the short story, and learn the art of compression via the form
  4. Learn the delicate art of the short story ending and how an ending can illuminate everything that comes before it.

Participant requirements

Pen and paper, fully charged device optional. Participants will be required to complete some pre-course reading. Please read our FAQ before enrolling.

If you have questions about this course, please contact us.

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