Short Story Writing
Whether a short story is meaningful and gritty or light entertainment, a good one is a work of art. It’s a brief encounter. It’s a glimpse into another life. It’s complete and self-contained. With no room for padding, the short story also bares the elements of the writing craft – your writing craft – to scrutiny. It’s like illuminating a single painting on an otherwise empty wall.
The great thing about a short story is that it is short. Whether the word count is in the hundreds or in the thousands, completing it is within your capabilities. It doesn’t swallow up a year or two of your life as a novel might; there is one story strand for you to manage not several and there’s no room for a throng of characters.
Successful fiction writing normally depends upon a mixture of ability and technique. There are no opportunities to allow the characters to 'develop', or for situations to 'arise' as in a novel. Within a few hundred words the story must seize the reader's attention, develop and end - preferably with an unexpected twist.
‘Technique’ is where the London School of Journalism comes in. This course and the one-to-one contact with your tutor will provide you with what you need to develop your own style and skills and greatly improve your chances of becoming a successful published writer.
Lesson 1: Why are you writing short stories
An overview of short stories, problem and resolution, central characters. Why and because...making writing fun. Presentation, spelling and grammar.
Lesson 2: Ideas
Where do we get ideas. The importance of titles. Making openings jump into action. Genres and themes.
Lesson 3: Plots
Plotting and planning. The importance of structure. What is an idea and what is a plot? Writing an outline.
Lesson 4: Pivotal moments
How to construct key moments, when are they important? Making satisfactory endings.
Lesson 5: Characterisation
Emotion and motivation. History and biography. What other influences? Body language.
Lesson 6: Make your characters live
Get your characters to create and show the plot instead of telling it.
Lesson 7: Dialogue
Characterisation is further examined, how characters can be made three-dimensional on paper. What people are can be revealed by what they say and therefore effective dialogue is reviewed.
Lesson 8: Viewpoint
What is it and why is it important? First, second and third person. Narrators and actors.
Lesson 9: Settings
Using your own knowledge and experiences. Research without the info overload.
Lesson 10: Style
The building blocks that make good writing. Power and beauty of language. Editing and polishing.
Lesson 11: Drama and Conflict
Causing an impact. Types of conflict and how they affect your character.
Lesson 12: Markets
Study the market. Magazines, short stories and serials.
Lesson 13: Broadcasting
How the written word differs from the spoken. Making the most of the medium.
Lesson 14: Final Words
Tips and suggestions with some words of advice.
Distance Learning Courses
- News Journalism
- Freelance and Feature Writing
- Freelance and Travel Writing
- Freelance and Music and the Arts
- Freelance and Sports Writing
- Internet Journalism
- Media Law
- Novel Writing
- Short Story Writing
- Writing a Romantic Novel
- Thriller Writing
- Writing a Personal History
- Writing for Children
- Writing Poetry