Writing Short Fiction: Course Outline

Lesson 1 – Telling Stories
Sent on the first Monday after you sign up, our first session will focus on short stories as an
art form, using the ideas of different authors as a guide. We will test out different methods
for generating ideas, before considering how to identify ones worthy of development.


Lesson 2 – Finding a Voice, Building a Plot
This session explores the concept of ‘The Writer’s Voice’. We all have authors we love, but
what does it mean to have a distinctive voice and how do we develop our own? We also
think about story versus plot, and look at how to create active reading experiences. 


Lesson 3 – Creating Memorable Characters
Once we have a plot, we must decide who should tell it. Focusing on some of the most
vibrant characters in fiction, we’ll explore how to make characters appear authentic, and
how to give them a life both on and off the page.

Lesson 4 – You Don’t Say?
What people say and what they mean are two very different things, but how do we show
this in writing? We’ll think about how to generate authentic-seeming dialogue, but also how
to communicate through the words-beneath-the-words. 


Lesson 5 – The Point of Point of View 

In this session, we consider the possibilities different points of view open up to writers. This
will extend beyond first, second and third person to different types of narration, including
unreliable, limited and omniscient, and techniques such as free indirect speech.  


Lesson 6 – Being Original
Here, we look at how to introduce more originality into our writing. What tricks can we
learn to help us avoid predictable plots and stock characters? This session will help you
break out of old writing habits and embrace the unknown! 


Lesson 7 – Narrative Structure
We’ll explore alternative ways of structuring stories, including non-linear, episodic and
crescendo narratives. We will think about which structures suit which types of stories and
test out different models. 


Lesson 8 – All In The Details
This week we will focus on sentence-craft, turning objects into the subjects of sentences
using strong verbs, and incorporating multi-sensory imagery into our writing to help readers
to immerse themselves in our worlds.


Lesson 9 – Show Don’t Tell?
It’s one of the most famous writerly maxims, but what does it really mean? We’ll look at the
importance of telling and showing, and learn about figurative language: what tools are
available to us when trying to point to further meaning within our stories?


Lesson 10 – Editing
Our final session focuses on how to redraft your work to add professional polish, and how to
maintain a healthy perspective on editing. You will also receive guidance on next steps,
including suggestions for further study and publication opportunities. 

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