Course Level: All Levels.

Course Summary: This course takes you through the craft of writing the short story, it introduces you to the masters of the form, both classical and contemporary, and affords you the opportunity to write a story each week or work on one or two stories intensely over the eight weeks.

Course Outline:

Each course consists of 8 weekly 2-hour sessions structured as follows:

1. Introductory chat followed by a prompted 10-minute written exercise.

2. An instructive session, based on a PowerPoint/handout on the art of writing where a different element of craft is explored each week.

3. A short discussion referencing the weekly reading assignment.

4. Workshopping weekly written assignments from at least two students.

5. Concluding chat about the writing plans for the week ahead.

The elements of craft covered each week are as follows:

Week 1: Introduction to the short form and story openings.

Week 2: Characterisation, exploring how characters drive a story, or perhaps more accurately, how a character’s desire for something drives the story.

Week 3: Dialogue, what it is used for and what it is never used for.

Week 4: Setting, how time and place can add to your story.

Week 5: language and description, looking at the difference between concrete images and abstractions and how word choice helps to ground your story in a sensual world.

Week 6: Voice and point of view, examining what Maeve Binchy meant when she said the only way to find your voice was to tell your story your way.

Week 7: Plot and Theme, looks at how the plot of a story can revolve around a core question which is based on a central concept (theme).

Week 8: Endings, editing and rewriting, explores how you know, following a revision process, when it is time for the final full stop.

Course Outcomes:

The aim of this course is that every student will have written at least one complete short story by week 8, but more importantly that they have acquired the skills and motivation to continue writing stories. 

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