How to write a short story

Posted By ashley


Something stirs, a glimpse, a question. Maybe a few situations or character ideas suddenly conflate. You remember a feeling, a secret, an image, a clash. You might doodle some notes, even start to write something but fizzle out. Is your story a short story or a novel, or is it a sketch, an anecdote or something else entirely? Can you play it short? Does it have that short, sharp shock quality? How do you go from rough idea to an emotive and engaging story that can be read in one sitting? How do you get started? How do you keep going? Many traps await the unwary.

There’s no one way to write a short story. They can be many things, from a slice-of-life to a headscratcher written in the form of a shopping list. Sometimes they have more in common with poems or films or paintings than novels. They can be mood pieces, voice pieces, or vivid flashes that sum up a lifetime’s frustrations in one swipe. Short stories won’t take years to write, and they provide plenty of opportunities to explore and experiment. They can work as brilliant calling cards between longer projects, or they can become your one true way of expressing yourself as a writer and storyteller.

Whether you’ve not written before at all, or you have some experience but would like to try your hand at short stories, we have a course that will make you fall in love with and eventually master this most beguiling of literary forms.

Introduction to Writing Short Stories with Tom Vowler is a great place to start for beginners. It explains techniques, tips and tricks, all you need to know, in a supportive and friendly online environment. Tom will provide expert, stage-by-stage instructions on how to use the basic building blocks of telling a story, and you’ll have more direct contact with your tutor than on comparable courses.

If the short fiction bug has already bitten you and you’re working on a collection, or if you’ve recently completed the Introduction and would like to carry on, Tom Vowler’s Short Story Workshop offers continual bespoke feedback, regular contact and a great online community where you can test out brand new work or polish completed stories to a publishable standard. Your Unthank School group will become your first audience and your biggest fans. You’ll also be encouraged to submit to Unthology and eligible to submit to our school journal, Unveiled.

We are now taking enrolments for September for both the Introduction to Writing Short Stories  and the Short Story Workshop. If you have any questions or queries, email us at enquiries@unthankschool.com. We’d love to hear your story.