Writing Short Stories – Advanced
Master the art of writing short stories with Naomi Wood, winner of the 2023 BBC National Short Story Award.
Inspiring and practical, with weekly teaching and workshopping on Wednesday evenings, this new nine-week Zoom course will help you develop your technique and learn how to write taut, powerful stories where every word counts.
Each week, you’ll join a group of 15 talented writers to discuss what makes a great piece of short fiction, with examples from celebrated classics to prize-winning contemporary stories used to illustrate a key element of the craft. Your tutor, award-winning short story writer and bestselling novelist Naomi Wood, will look specifically at how to begin and end a story, develop characters and voice, use imagery, and show the passage of time. She will also provide guidance on editing and how to get your stories out into the world.
You’ll also have the opportunity to discuss one of your stories with Naomi during an in-depth one-to-one tutorial, and attend two exclusive masterclasses with special guests including Fiction Editor for The New Yorker Deborah Treisman as well as an eminent short story writer and top literary agent.
This course is ideal for those already at work on short fiction – perhaps you enjoyed our six-week online Writing Short Stories course and want to take the next step. Or maybe you’ve been submitting to competitions and journals or have published in other forms and would like to improve your knowledge and appreciation of the genre.
The course will run from 24 April to 19 June 2024.
Naomi Wood is the award-winning author of three novels, The Godless Boys (2011), Mrs. Hemmingway (2015) and The Hiding Game (2019), and the short story collection, This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (2024). Her stories have been published in the Mid-American Review, Washington Square Review, Joyland and Stylist, and have been shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize, the London Magazine Short Story Prize and longlisted for the Galley Beggar Press Story Prize. ‘Comorbidities’ won the 2023 BBC National Short Story Award.
Mrs. Hemingway has been translated into sixteen languages, won a Jerwood Prize, and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and was a Richard and Judy Book Club Choice. The Hiding Game, set in the Bauhaus in the 1920s, was longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, and shortlisted for an HWA Gold Crown.
Naomi lives in Norwich with her family, and teaches creative writing at UEA and Curtis Brown Creative.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
- Live teaching on Zoom: On Wednesday evenings tutor Naomi Wood will deliver teaching sessions of one hour, forty-five minutes. Each session will include an hour of workshopping (three students will have their work discussed each week), followed by teaching on topics including how to begin and end a story, establish a strong voice, use imagery to powerful effect, handle causation and express time. Reading will be provided in advance of each session and examples discussed during the class.
- Writing workshops: You’ll get a dedicated workshop centring on a 3,000-word story (or extract from a story) during the course. Workshops offering in-depth feedback from your fellow students and tutor and are also designed to help develop your self-editing skills. Three stories will be workshopped per week – with discussion continuing on our bespoke, interactive forum after class.
- One-to-one tutorials: Each student will have a 45-minute tutorial with Naomi, based on a 5,000-word story. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss what’s working well in a story and what could be improved, as well as address any specific concerns you have about your writing of short fiction.
- Industry masterclasses: Join two exclusive live Zoom sessions – one with celebrated short story writer Kevin Barry and his literary agent Lucy Luck (C&W), and one with Deborah Treisman, Fiction Editor for The New Yorker. Our special guests will draw on their experience of writing and publishing short stories and share their insights with you. You will have the opportunity to ask questions.
- A community of writers: Our selective process means that you will be joining a peer group of 15 students working at a high level. Many of our former students have found trusted readers with us and formed strong working friendships that go on long after the course is over.
- Alumni services and submission support: At the end of the course, you’ll be given access to a range of exclusive writing services, available only to the alumni of our selective courses. These services include one-to-one mentoring, editorial reports on your writing, and submission reports on your ‘pitch package’. If you would like to submit your stories formally to the agents at Curtis Brown and C&W, the CBC team will help you to do so. Read more about the opportunities available to our alumni here.
Students will attend two live sessions with leading literary agents, authors and publishers.
Please note that the precise dates of sessions, details of course speakers, and weekly reading are subject to change.
BEGINNINGSWeds 24 April, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
STRUCTURE & SHAPEWeds 1 May, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
VOICE & FORMWeds 8 May, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
Guest Masterclass with author Kevin Barry & literary agent Lucy LuckWeds 15 May, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
DESIRE, RELATIONSHIPS, CHARACTERSWeds 22 May, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
IMAGEWeds 29 May, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
Masterclass with Fiction Editor for The New Yorker Deborah TreismanWeds 5 June, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
THE HYDRAULICS OF TIMEWeds 12 June, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
ENDINGS & COURSE CONCLUSIONWeds 19 June, 7–8.45pm (Zoom)
The course fee of £1,100 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque before the start of the course. However, if you are unable to pay the full fee upfront, let us know and we can arrange an instalment plan.
READY TO APPLY?
Our application form asks some questions about you and your writing – and it also asks you to send us a short story of up to 3,000 words. (Alternatively, you can send us an extract from a piece of short fiction along with a brief overview of what happens in the rest of the story – totalling no more than 3,000 words). Please note, to be accepted on to this course you do not have to be a published short story writer. However, if you have been published in web or print journals/magazines please let us know in your application.
The CBC team will select applicants based on the quality of the writing sample provided. The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sunday 24 March, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 28 March 2024.
We read all application material promptly after the closing date and make our selection of students swiftly at that time. However if you require an earlier response from us in order to be able to take part in this course, please email us with full details and we will consider and respond on a case by case basis.
If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
We have one scholarship place available on this new course. This short story scholarship will award one talented writer with limited financial means a place on our Writing Short Stories – Advanced course. Deadline Sunday 31 March.
Write innovative short fiction with expert teaching, workshops and tutorials from award-winning short story writer Naomi Wood.