Writing short stories: An intensive four-week course with Shelley Weiner

·4-min read
<span>Photograph: Roberto Pastrovicchio/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Roberto Pastrovicchio/Alamy

Learn how to generate ideas, build your structure and craft your short stories, in this four-week course with author and renowned writing tutor Shelley Weiner

Online workshop
Saturday 23 April – Saturday 14 May 2022 over four consecutive Saturdays
2pm-4pm (BST)

Short stories are a funny thing. While technically shorter in length than novels or novellas, they have the power to hold just as much detail, world and story as their larger counterparts. This can make them tricky to construct, as they need to communicate character, tension, conflict and resolution.

If you enjoy reading short stories, or have turned your hand at writing them but would value some expert guidance, this course with Shelley Weiner is your tonic. Over four intense and stimulating virtual sessions, she will draw on her wealth of experience as an author, mentor and creative writing tutor, to guide and inspire you through the process. Through close examination of a selection of both classic and contemporary short stories, paired with practical exercises, you will identify - and demystify - the techniques used by great exponents of the genre, and learn how to craft your own stories.

You’ll see your ideas through from generation to conception, building your structure, finding and amplifying your voice, and shaping your plot. During each live lesson, selected texts will be used as springboards to guide you through the aspect of craft under discussion.

In week one, you’ll be given a jumping off point for a new story and will grow and develop it over the course.

Week 1: Origins

What is a story? From Aesop’s Fables to Cat Person, there are distinctive features that bind and also distinguish them. Discover the concept of story ideas and where to find them, with an introduction to character as the driving force in fiction.

Week 2: Invention

A deeper dive into character and dialogue, and how - and why - these components are core to story development.

Week 3: Construction

Looking into plot and momentum, including causality, structure, the pressure of time and more.

Week 4: Performance

Who tells the story? Viewpoints and voice will be looked at, as well as how to get your words onto the page, and how to find your readers.

Over the course of four weeks, you’ll have the opportunity to explore - from a writer’s perspective - classic works from the likes of Chekov, Hemingway, Alice Munro, Toni Morrison, Miranda July, Zadie Smith, Courtia Newland and Eley Williams. Taught sessions will be complemented by a dedicated Slack workspace, owned by you and your fellow writers and moderated by the Guardian Masterclasses team. Here you will experience constructive discussions and exchange work with your peers. Stretching your capacity for giving and receiving productive feedback will not only equip you with a deeper understanding of the art of short fiction, but also means you will leave the course with a unique and supportive writing community to guide you in your next steps.

For an additional fee of £125, there is the option to have a 30-minute one-to-one mentoring session with Shelley at the end of the course. These are limited to 10 places so early booking is advised.

This course is for …

  • Aspiring, beginner and intermediate writers looking to hone their craft

  • Established writers with a desire to revisit the short story and sharpen their skills

You will be sent a link to the webinar 2hrs before the start time of 2pm (BST).

Tutor profile

Shelley Weiner is the author of five novels, and a renowned creative writing tutor/mentor with a passion for nurturing and guiding writers at all levels. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies in print and online, and have been produced for BBC Radio 4. Shelley has taught and run masterclasses for, among others, the Guardian, Faber Academy, The Literary Consultancy, Gold Dust Mentoring Scheme, The Art of Writing (Florence), and Skyros Writers’ Lab. She has lectured on the Creative Writing MA at Anglia Ruskin University, as well as for Birkbeck College, the Open University, the Taliesin Trust, the British Council in Israel, and Durham University.


Dates: Saturday 23 April – Saturday 14 May 2022 over four consecutive Saturdays
2pm-4pm (BST)
Price: £495 (+ £6.83 booking fee); £620 (+ £6.83 booking fee) for course & one-to-one mentoring with Shelley
Event capacity: 20

This masterclass is available globally. If you are joining us from outside the United Kingdom, please use this time zone converter to check your local live streaming time.

2pm BST | 3pm CEST | 6am PDT | 9am EDT

Sign up to our newsletter and you’ll be among the first to find out about our latest courses and special offers. You can also follow us on Twitter, and read our latest articles and interviews on our blog.

Information on Guardian Masterclasses

To contact us, click here. Terms and conditions can be found here.

By enrolling on this masterclass, you’re helping to support the Guardian, and this allows us to keep our quality reporting open to all.

All Guardian Masterclasses are fully accessible - but please contact us if you have any queries or concerns.

Returns policy
Once a purchase is complete we will not be able to refund you where you do not attend or if you cancel your event booking. Please see our terms and conditions for more information on our refund policy.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting