Short story writing

Course Dates: 25/09/19 - 11/12/19
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: KS - Keeley Street

A hands-on introduction to the art of writing short stories. You will receive technical advice, creative exercises to generate ideas, and feedback to develop your writing skills.


What is the course about?

This intermediate course is designed for writers and readers who want to explore the art of writing short stories. You will gain confidence in your ability to produce short fiction through a combination of practical exercises, examination of technical issues including plot and character, and constructive criticism from your tutor and fellow students.

Please note this course will now take a break week on Wednesday 9 October 2019. Accordingly an extra session has been added on Wednesday 11 December 2019.

What will we cover?

- Generating ideas that will form the basis of sharp, compelling short stories
- Reading modern fiction with a critical eye to gain further understanding of the form
- Examining a wide range of key skills and writing techniques including plot, character, dialogue, structure and point-of-view
- Giving and receiving constructive criticism, and incorporating feedback from readers as you revise and improve your work.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Plan, draft and revise short stories with greater confidence
- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Identify and develop good writing habits
- Continue to learn independently by reading modern short stories with increased critical awareness.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an intermediate course for students who have some experience of writing fiction (for instance through attending an introductory 'Ways into creative writing' course) and wish to focus on short stories. You should be an enthusiastic reader and have a good grasp of written and spoken English.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This is a practical class and the emphasis is on students' stories, produced at home and in the classroom. There will be exercises, homework, group discussion, and sharing of ideas - always in a supportive atmosphere. You will learn to give and receive constructive criticism so that students can begin to learn from each other. Contemporary short stories will be analysed and the group will discuss what they reveal about the art of writing.

All writing courses at Build will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.

For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a pen and paper. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet for use during in-class writing exercises if you feel it will help you.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You may wish to continue your short story journey by enrolling on Reading for writers: the short story or Write a short story in a weekend. Interested in long form fiction? Try Starting your novel. If you feel ready to submit your work for rigorous constructive feedback, you are also welcome to progress to Advanced fiction writing workshop.

Our Craft Focus series is also available to writers who wish to focus on an isolated element of fiction writing craft. We offer short intensive courses in developing character, plot, setting, point of view, and more. See our website or contact the department for advice on how you can develop a programme of fiction writing study.

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for Build writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 5 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This course has been a vital part of my short story writing development. The tutor gave excellent feedback on work each week, the critical analysis was both encouraging and insightful. Each class studied an aspect of writing with references and analysis of great short stories and authors, accompanied with handouts to study at home.
Course Rating
Review by anonymous / (Posted on 07/04/2019)
Zoe Fairbairns is an excellent tutor who really knows her subject. Her knowledge on short stories is boundless. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in short stories and creative writing generally.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 14/03/2019)
A very full and worthwhile course. I would certainly do one again
Course Rating
Review by Mike / (Posted on 13/03/2019)
If you want to write short stories, this course will provide all the information and encouragement you need to get you started
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 06/12/2018)
If you want to write short stories this will help you - lots of advice and lots of opportunities to practise and get feedback.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/12/2018)
Tutor Biographies
Wendy Brandmark

Wendy Brandmark's collection of short stories, He Runs the Moon: Tales from the Cities, was published by Holland Park Press in 2016. She won first prize for the short story in the Bridport Prize 2016. Her stories have appeared widely in magazines, including North American Review, Stand Magazine and The Warwick Review. Her last novel, The Stray American, was longlisted for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. She has reviewed fiction for the TLS, The Literary Review and The Independent. She has taught creative writing for twenty years and is a tutor on the Oxford University MSt in Creative Writing.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HW030

Please choose a course date 

Wed, day, 25 Sep - 11 Dec '19

Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Full fee: £209.00
Senior fee: £209.00
Concession: £84.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

Download form & post

Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.

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