What is the course about?
This hands-on course uses a series of guided exercises to get you writing in new ways, exploring unfamiliar territory and discovering new connections and turning points. You'll be led through the process of drafting a story from beginning to end, and will come away with an improved critical understanding of what makes a good short story. It will help you to come prepared with an idea you would like to shape into a story.
Students say: "Great teacher, great environment and group"; "A fantastic, succinct course which really helped me to kick-start my writing"; "Very well-taught and inspiring - I gained valuable knowledge to help me write better short stories"; "Super-stimulating - I have confidence and many more ideas to work with now."
The Tutor: Jonathan Barnes is the author of three novels. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review and has contributed to the Arts pages of The Lancet. He is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University. He is also the author of several full-cast audio dramas from Big Finish Productions, featuring characters from Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein and Doctor Who.
Build reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.
What will we cover?
- How to begin a story
- Finding and developing characters
- Plot and story structure
- Establishing mood, themes, and subtext
- Being imaginative with language
- Finding the right ending.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Complete a first draft of a short story.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for beginners comfortable learning at a fast pace. Enthusiastic readers welcome! Fluent written and spoken English is essential.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will learn through interactive tutor presentations, analysis and discussion of published short fiction, and a series of guided writing exercises. You'll be encouraged to share your written work for constructive feedback from your peers and the tutor. You may find it beneficial to spend some time after class developing your story.
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?
No additional costs. Please bring a pen and paper and your ideas! You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to use during in-class writing exercises if you feel it will help you.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Build runs term-long Short story writing and Writing fiction courses in the evening and daytime, that will teach you essential skills and techniques. You may also be interested in learning more about short stories in Reading for writers: the short story.
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