Online: Writing Short Stories

Nick Earls

Monday 19 April to Friday 28 May 2021, online

Full Price: $660
Member Price: $495
Conc Price: $430

What makes the best short stories some of the most compelling writing to read? The writer’s craft and the choices the writer has made. This online writing workshop focuses on key aspects of short-fiction craft, and how to approach making the kinds of choices that deliver compelling short stories.

Is this course right for you? Read our FAQ>>

While Ryan O’Neill’s Getting Started With Short Stories is not an official pre-requisite, this interactive online course is well suited to writers who have taken that course or similar, or who have made a start on writing short stories. Sections focus on specific writing ‘tools’, approaching each tool with the intention of developing the participant’s ability to use it more consciously and powerfully than they have before.

This course involves submitting writing exercises. In addition to giving and receiving peer feedback, participants will receive tutor feedback. In weeks one to four, participants will submit short writing exercises, and in weeks 5 and 6 will work toward a draft of a short story.

Week-by-Week Course Breakdown

Week 1: Character
Using the prompts and steps provided, participants will begin to develop a character who might be a protagonist in a short story.

Week 2: Place/setting
Characters exist in a place and engage with it in their own way. This session looks at how to develop place, how to reveal it and how to make conscious use of place in delivering their characters on the page.

Week 3: Structure
Working on character leads to story ideas. This session focuses on shaping those ideas into a short story, and particularly addresses how to keep the focus on the business of the story, how to contain the story and how to stress test their plan.

Week 4: Detail and writing (i)
Detail can be a powerful tool for revealing character and place, and triggering conversations and action. This session looks at how to treat the accumulation and selection of details as a deliberate step. Participants take the tools learned in weeks one to four, apply them to their story plan, and begin to write their story. Participants should submit their first page (300 words approx.) for feedback.

Week 5: Writing (ii)
Guided by peer and tutor feedback on their page and on their own review of their progress, participants write further into their story – to the end of it, if feasible – and submit their work again for peer and tutor feedback. Nick Earls will provide feedback on the first 2000 words (which may be the entire story).

Week 6: Revising and publishing
Participants will engage in peer feedback on their week 5 submissions while learning techniques for revising and researching publication opportunities.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Participants will learn:

  1. How to discover and develop story through exploring character
  2. How to make deliberate and powerful use of detail as a storytelling tool
  3. How to develop, contain and manage ideas when planning and writing a short story

Participant Requirements

We’ve designed this online course to meet your learning needs. You can work through the lesson material, ask questions, and engage with fellow writers throughout the course. Internet access and confidence using basic computer software are essential for this program. Please read our FAQ before enrolling.

There are no live meetings during this course. You will receive an email with an invitation link to join the online classroom by 10am on the day the course starts.

Please expect to dedicate a minimum of three to four hours per week to this course, noting that the amount of time needed to read, respond to discussions, write, revise and critique will vary from person to person. If possible, please allow more time for writing in weeks four and five. 

Lessons open on a weekly basis. You will have the week to work through the content. There will be some writing exercises and the opportunity to provide peer feedback. Both the writing exercises and peer feedback will have weekly deadlines.  If you have questions, check out our most frequently asked questions.

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