Since joining Unthank as commissioning editor for short fiction, I’ve been fortunate to also teach a couple of courses that explore the complexities and wonder of the short story. My own academic route in creative writing has, I believe, served my craft well, but I appreciate university and the financial and time demands it makes isn’t for everybody. And so I wanted to established high quality and immersive programmes that could be accessed remotely, studied in one’s own time, from anywhere in the world, while retaining much of the intimacy, inclusion and dynamism offered by university courses. I also wanted them to be affordable, to be good value for money.
The Introduction to Writing Short Stories is 8 weeks of everything I know about this challenging and beautiful literary form, taking you through the mechanics and craft of building stories, unlocking its wonderful mysteries. We examine some fantastic exemplars of the form, before workshopping each other’s pieces in order to bring them to life, give them voltage and vitality.
The course is aimed at both emerging and published writers and requires around 4 – 6 hours per week to study.
Emphasis is placed on a supportive and encouraging environment, with lively debates and writing exercises. You will come away brimming with ideas, inspiration and knowledge, as well as a great story or two in the making.
No previous experience writing stories is necessary, just a passion for storytelling.
The Short Story Workshop is a natural follow-up course to the Introduction, although can be taken in isolation. It is geared more towards writers working on a collection of stories, who wish to go deeper into the workshopping process, to have expert feedback on longer pieces of work. This course runs for 12 weeks and again requires around 4 – 6 hours per week.
Crucially, I have recently introduced phone contact for students, in order to overcome the isolation of distance learning. Sessions last about 30 minutes and function as a personal tutorial. We also get together for a group session once a week in the online forum.
More and more students taking these courses are seeing their work published in journals / magazines, placed in competitions, something that thrills me as a teacher.
Do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about either of the courses, both of which begin again on September 1st.
Tom Vowler is an award-winning novelist and short story writer living in south-west England. His debut story collection, The Method, won the Scott Prize and the Edge Hill Readers’ Prize, while his novels What Lies Within and That Dark Remembered Day received critical acclaim. He is co-editor of Unthology and short fiction editor at Unthank Books. Tom’s second collection of stories, Dazzling the Gods, was published in 2018, and his forthcoming novel is titled Every Seventh Wave. Tom teaches for the Arvon Foundation and has a PhD in Creative Writing. www.tomvowler.co.uk