Writing Short Fiction

Learn how to write small words with big impact

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (see reviews)

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This course was incredibly practical, focussed, encouraging and jam packed with real information, resources and support. Thank you for creating such a thought provoking, motivational and empowering course. I would recommend Writing Short Fiction to anyone interested in writing short stories or flash fiction. I'm ready to take the plunge and start submitting and re-submitting. In short, I'm ready to go.
- Sharmayne Riseley

£90. Six months access.

Part of the WHQ membership

Six week course. Rolling access with membership, or one-off fee for six months single course access.

Join our kickass community

COURSE HOME

Short stories aren’t just easier versions of the novel. They’re a broad, complex and rewarding art form in their own right. Writers’ HQ’s five star online short story course will help you see the bigger picture and compress it into short stories with real punch.

Short stories have been here since the dawn of time. Based in the oral tradition (stop sniggering at the back), they’re the apocryphal family legends our grandmas/weird uncle used to tell us over Christmas dinner; they’re the school-yard urban myths; the sleepover ghost stories; the soliloquies in our diaries; the wine-soaked rants to that random person you cornered in the kitchen at that party after so-and-so dumped you. Short stories are all around us.

But super short stories are not super easy for writers, natch. In fact, the shorter your story becomes, the harder it is to distil what really matters onto the page. I would have written a shorter letter, so the famous quote goes, but I didn’t have the time.

So what makes truly great short fiction? The kind that leaves you dribbling, slack-jawed, and slap-faced when you finish it. The kind you remember forever, like some weird dream-memory. Well. We can’t write it for you, but we can give you a nudge, a shove, and a poke with a sharp stick (whatever floats your boat) to help you on your way. With the help of writing prompts, advice from award-winning short fiction writers, inspiring exercises, and our awesome little online community, you’ll come out the other side with at least one fully formed short story to call your very own – and maybe even send out into the world of literary magazines and competitions…

CURRICULUM

WEEK 1: CONFLICT IS EVERYTHING
Finding conflict in the tiniest of moments, how to capture a character at bursting point, locating the fundamental human truth of your story and throwing you straight in the deep end of story writing

WEEK 2: WHERE TO START? WHERE TO STOP?
Where does your story start and end, and where does it really start and end? The art of the cut – knowing what to leave in and what to leave out. So many great stories to read this week too…

WEEK 3: STRUCTURE, TENSE AND PERSPECTIVE
Writing conventional or unconventional narratives, points of view, when to take a risk and when to play it safe, PLUS video wisdom from Sean Preston, editor of Open Pen, and Bridport winner Vanessa Gebbie

WEEK 4: BUILDING CHARACTER
What are the tricks for making real people in just a few thousand words? How to write good dialogue and spot bad chatter, and make your pretend people interact like real people

WEEK 5: WRITING IS REDRAFTING
Again and again and again – find your focus, cut the fluff, find your theme and come back to your fundamental nugget of human truth

WEEK 6: SEND YOUR STORY INTO THE WORLD!
How to submit a story, where to submit a story, why submit your stories and what happens next?

HOW IT WORKS

1. Enrol
Once you’ve joined you’ll get an email confirming your place and explaining how you access the course. Spoiler: you click a link. Super simple.

2. Read, watch, do
The lessons are a mix of text, images, videos and exercises. To get the most out of the course, try to give yourself at least an hour a day to read or watch the material and do the exercises. We’ve made them as bite-size as possible but also if you wanna do the thing you gotta do the work.

3. No rush
This course is written to be done over six weeks but if you miss a day or something comes up, don’t panic! Go at your own pace. We’ll be waiting for you in the community forums when you’re ready to catch up.

4. No money? No problem
Membership is the cheapest way to access this course, alternatively, if you can’t wait and have no cash, have a look at our bursary scheme.

5. Milk no sugar
Drink plenty of tea, stock up on biscuits, gin for later. Enjoy it. It’s supposed to be fun. Love you. Mwa.

WHAT YOU GET
  • Six weeks of progressive exercises to help you develop your ideas into a polished story (or two, or three, or more…)
  • Advice and guidance on story structure, narrative voice, characterisation, editing/redrafting and submitting your stories to lit mags and competitions!
  • Weekly inspiration, whip-cracking, writing prompts and LOTS of theory
  • Top tips from tip-top authors and story examples from the best of the best
  • A private student forum to discuss ideas, techniques and get advice from fellow writers

Learn tricks and techniques for growing your ideas into complex characters and compelling stories.

Finish the course with at least one short story and a number of transferrable exercises and processes for your continued writing.

Join our lovely little online community to support you through the short story process, plus peer and WHQ feedback.

LOVE FOR WRITERS’ HQ

The scales have truly fallen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I had an idea. I wrote it out for 60k words. Someone said it was more like a short story. I was stuck. Then I discovered Writers HQ… I’ve found my people. This course has literally transformed my work. I now have something that actually reads like the outline for a novel. The teaching methods, materials and support (both from Sarah and Jo, and my fellow plot-a-trons) has been superb. Sensible, practical, intense, with a good splosh of anarchy. I now feel more confident about the actual writing and am also happy that the original idea holds up. Thank you so much and I’m looking forward to the next course (9 month…). It’ll be AWESOME!

Liz

Plotstormers

SUPER SPLENDID IDEA GENERATING JOY! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’d been feeling like I’d lost the ability to generate ideas but this course gave me my confidence back. You’ll get the chance to play around with some really fun exercises and just see what happens! I got at least seven really decent ideas to develop further. It’s great value for money and will really give you a great big creative kick. Five gold stars from me!

Lela

Seven Ideas In Seven Days

Bursting with stories ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve written short stories for a while, but this course gave me loads of ideas about where to find stories and how to develop them. It’s also given me lots of food for thought about my writing process and how to approach (and edit) stories. I really feel the course demystifies everything about short stories, from idea to submission, and I’m looking forward to polishing the stories I’ve written over the past few weeks and trying to find them a home in the world. Thanks, Jo and Sarah

Liz O

Writing Short Fiction

Fantastic reminder of why I write ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Writing has stopped being fun and working through this course has reminded me of the good parts, that I actually love this thing called writing. It’s given me practical ways to get back into writing and I’ve opened up my manuscript again and written for the first time in ages.

Claire Wade

Turbocharge Your Creativity

TUTORS

Sarah Lewis
Half of Writers’ HQ
Procrastinator Level: Set up WHQ and had a baby to avoid writing her novel

Jo Gatford
Half of Writers’ HQ
Procrastinator Level: Set up WHQ and did an MA to avoid writing her novel

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