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How to Write a Short Story Short Course

Key information

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Get to grips with the essential skills of short story writing with our one-day Saturday class, How to Write a Short Story.

Why choose this course?

This November we are introducing a brand new one-day Masterclass in how to write short stories. Acclaimed writer and teacher Katy Darby leads this intensive fiction workshop to help guide you through the key elements involved in writing a short story.

City short courses has an excellent reputation for helping new writers find their feet and guiding them through their journey. By enrolling on one of our writing short courses or one-day workshops, you will join our supportive writing community which shares your passion for fiction writing. This Saturday taster session will allow you to dip your toe in to writing short stories and get a glimpse of what our longer writing courses can offer.

Course overview

Aimed at anyone interested in how short stories and flash fiction work, our practical, focused creative writing class will leave you with the skills you need to build an effective short story.

As a result of attending, participants will:

  • Write a complete flash fiction story
  • Develop this into the basis for a longer short story
  • Expand their creativity and critical thinking
  • Receive professional feedback on work from a published writer and editor
  • Create a ten-point plan to take their writing further
  • Gain insight into the writing industry, including publishing advice
  • Acquire tools and skills for self-reflection and self-evaluation based on improved self-awareness

This is an excellent introductory session which is ideal if you are grappling with the basics of fiction writing, such as character, plot or description – or if you just want to write and don’t know where to start.

If you enjoy this fiction Masterclass, you may choose to enroll on our 10 week Short Story Writing evening programme, which we can offer to students of the Masterclass at a discounted rate.

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

During the course you will learn:

  • How to write flash fiction
  • How to build character
  • How to outline a plot
  • How to use time and place in a short story
  • The market for short stories
  • How to submit your work to competitions and magazines

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

You will be assessed by three criteria:

  • your contribution to class discussions;
  • your in-class work and homework exercises;
  • your piece of flash fiction.

Throughout the day, you will receive ongoing feedback from both your tutor and your peers.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading


  • Carter, A. 2010. Burning Your Boats: Collected Short Stories. London: Vintage.
  • Carver, R. 2003. Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories. London: Vintage.
  • Darby, K. and Potts, C. Eds. 2013. Lovers’ Lies. London: Arachne Press.
  • Gordimer, N. Ed. 2004. Telling Tales. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Hemingway, E. 1994. Men Without Women. London: Cornerstone.
  • Keret, E. 2015. The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God and Other Stories. New York: Riverhead Books.
  • Taylor, J. Ed. 2012. Overheard: Stories to Read Aloud. Cambridge: Salt Publishing.


    A general resource site that includes recent winners of the National Short Story prize.
    Classic short stories to read online.
    A selection of new and old short stories in a variety of genres.
    Actors read new stories by up-and-coming writers. You can read the text or listen online.
    The single most useful site for the short fiction writer submitting or selling a short story nationally or internationally.

Tutor information

  • Katy Darby

    Katy Darby's short stories have been read on BBC Radio 4 and 4Extra, published in magazines including Slice, Mslexia and The London Magazine, and won prizes in several international fiction competitions. Her historical novel The Unpierced Heart is published by Penguin. She has a BA in English from Oxford University and an MA in Creative Writing from UEA, where she received the David Higham Award. Her latest stories are available in the anthologies Five by Five and An Outbreak of Peace.

    She’s a former editor of short story magazine Litro, and is co-founder and director of the award-winning, internationally franchised live fiction event Liars' League ( Katy has written for the TLS, and the Brixton Review of Books, co-edited four anthologies of short stories with Cherry Potts of Arachne Press, and recently judged the Cambridge Short Story Prize and the International Willesden Herald Story Prize.

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