Writing Short Stories

Write and edit a complete short story and learn essential fiction-writing techniques on our course from award-winning short story-writer Cynan Jones.


Jun 09 2022 - Jul 21 2022

Write a story

Produce a complete story on this course


Hosted on our bespoke learning platform


+ £145 for a 500-word report


If you love short stories and want to learn how to write really good ones, then this is definitely the course for you. Maybe you’re just starting to write creatively and want to find your way forward through working with a form that’s concise and manageable? Maybe you’re an experienced writer who wants to hone your skills and write stories that will provide a great showcase for your work? Or maybe you’re totally besotted with those perfect worlds-in-small that are the best short stories, and want to create them yourself …  On this brand new six-week online course, award-winning short-story writer and novelist Cynan Jones will take you through the process of writing and editing a complete story, equipping you with all the tools you’ll need to produce something original and special.

Right from the off, Cynan sets a writing exercise that helps you to produce a ‘base text’ – and then, week by week, shows you how to work deeper and deeper into your material to transform it into a polished story. By the end of the course you should have written a complete short story of up to 3,000 words, which you can choose to share with your fellow students. You’ll also have the chance to sign up for a written report on your story from one of our team of expert editors.

Every week Cynan will also set writing tasks to help you practise the techniques you’re learning – often bringing them to bear directly on your story-in-progress. As well as the videos, materials and exercises set by Cynan, all students will receive a short piece of written feedback on one writing task from one of our team of editors at some stage of the course.

Join this course to go on a complete writing journey – discovering the wonders of the short story form, finding out about some of the great stories in our literature, and learning how to write and shape your own stories to the best of your ability. Cynan’s teaching materials are practical and empowering; the teaching videos feature demonstrations of the points he’s making – and the resources include some pieces of his own writing-in-progress, generated through the writing exercises and techniques he uses in the videos and presented as case studies.

This course – like all of our online courses – is designed for flexible study. You can take part at times to suit you and from wherever in the world you are.

‘[Jones] does something genuinely thrilling with the confines of the short story: for 6,000 words the reader exists only in the lived present moment, in a mental space where life is stripped to its bare essentials’
Jon McGregor, Reservoir 13


Cynan Jones, Author

Cynan Jones is the author of five novels, published in over 20 countries. He has won the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Prize, a Betty Trask Award, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award, and the BBC National Short Story Award, for which he was also on the 2019 judging panel. His short stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies and in journals and magazines including Granta and The New Yorker.  He has also written a screenplay for the hit crime drama Hinterland, a collection of tales for children, and stories for BBC Radio. His latest work, Stillicide, is a collection of twelve short stories commissioned by Radio 4 and published by Granta. Cynan was the RLF Writing Fellow at Aberystwyth University, and as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature was a member of the RSL Open Panel, convened to elect writers from under-represented communities. He has worked extensively with schools and writing groups, and tutored on short fiction and editing for the Arvon Foundation and Literature Wales.


Weekly Teaching Modules

We give you the tools to help you write your story with confidence

Work through six weekly modules comprising teaching videos, substantial notes and tasks. Cynan Jones uses a practical and empowering teaching method to help you generate a 'base text' and then craft it into a polished short story.

Editing on a computer

Dedicated Teaching Videos

Award-winning author Cynan Jones guides you through the course

Watch specially filmed, informative teaching videos, presented by Cynan Jones - featuring demonstrations to help you gain a clear understanding of how to apply the techniques to your own writing.

Resources & Notes

Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials which are yours to keep

You’ll get access to plentiful notes and teaching resources - including extracts of early drafts of Cynan's own writing as case studies showing how to develop and refine your story.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses - find your writing community

Upload your completed tasks, give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.

Weekly Tasks

Tailor-made tasks help you put the lessons into practice

Work your way through Cynan's weekly tasks, including timed writing prompts which use 'trigger lines' that might spark a new story, editing tasks to help you find the the heart of your story and exercises for developing dialogue and characters.


Get feedback from your peers and an expert CBC editor

Sharpen your editorial eye through offering comment on other students' work and get their feedback on yours. An expert CBC editor will give brief written comments on several of the students' practical assignments each week, with all students receiving feedback on a task at some stage of the course.


You can follow the course at your own pace, but to get the best out of it, allow plenty of time each week to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the writing tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum. We encourage all students to offer positive, constructive feedback to each other in the forum as the course progresses.

It’s important to be working on writing and editing your short story (of up to 3,000 words) throughout the six weeks. At the end of the course, we invite students to share their finished story (written with the help of the course). This is not a submission to the agency but an opportunity to get peer feedback.

(NB: if you’re looking for one-to-one tutorials and tutor-led writing workshops as part of a writing course, do take a look at our longer, selective writing courses – these aren’t included in this course).


All students will be given the option to purchase feedback on their final task from a CBC editor (a published author with relevant teaching/editorial experience).

  • CBC report: For an additional fee of £145, you can obtain a detailed 500-word report on your work (of up to 3,000 words) from one of our editors.
  • CBC report + tutorial: For an additional fee of £240, you can obtain a 500-word report from one of our editors and have a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with them to discuss your work.
Handwriting your novel


Each week students will gain access to a new module packed with practical advice for how to develop, write and edit short stories. Our bespoke learning platform features separate forum spaces for all six teaching modules, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. Our online learning space allows students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to.



How to get down to writing – including exercises to help you generate a ‘base text’ that can be shaped and crafted into a story to be proud of.


Stop, Look, Listen

How to interrogate your text to decide on the shape and purpose of the story you’re writing, and how you want your reader to think and feel about it.


Who, and In What Place?

How to develop vivid, memorable characters and settings for your story – and figure out the best narrative perspective to tell it from.



Learn some great techniques to make your words really sing out from the page – and discover the joy of cutting to help you hone and refine your story.


Detail and Dialogue

Find out how to connect with your reader’s experience through showing rather than telling; use all five senses to bring your text to life; and write effective zingy dialogue.



Advice on what to do with your finished story – including information on competitions, magazines, online opportunities, agents and publishers.


We’re excited to have you join our community of writers. Choose your preferred option from the right-hand-side and click the ‘Pay & Enrol’ button by 7 June 2022 (Midnight, end of day). Make sure that you agree to the Terms and Conditions.  If you have a discount code you can input the details at payment. You will be shown a secure credit card form for payment. Once you have paid you will receive an email confirming your enrolment.

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