Writing Short Stories

Almost everyone dreams some day of writing a short story that sells. In the short story you can create your own world and people. By remembering your hard won experiences and calling your imagination, you can think of endless critical problems and believable solutions to your fictional characters. As you mentally write your short story, you picture the editor’s enthusiasm and reader’s acclaim. You write another story and another – your success skyrockets!

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But dreams like these pay off only if you make them a reality. Reality in the short story means learning how to write – exactly like a doctor or a lawyer must learn the skills of his or her profession – before you can apply your art or talent.

In recent years, short stories have become by far the most popular form of fiction. Hundreds of magazines depend upon them, and paperback publishers have found that collected short stories can outsell any other kind of fiction. So it has become a rewarding form of writing in more ways than one: rewarding both financially and creatively.

It is rewarding creatively because, in the short story, the plot is all – important. That’s why a central part of this course deals with plot idea-finding and plot construction. You will learn techniques for idea – finding that show you how to relate characters to situations and create your own plotfinder. You are shown how to develop plots, building suspense and maintaining interest. You are taught how to draw your characters, using elements of sympathy, empathy and reader identification.

The course teaches you how to write realistic dialogue – essential to maintaining believability in your characters. And your tutor will work with you to evolve your own personal writing style. The techniques you use for the opening and closing paragraphs, the tone of your narrative, the shape of your language, all these factors will mirror your individual style. You have the ability, your tutor will give you the skills and the self-confidence, so that you will be able to write stories that are rich and vivid, the kind of professional work editors are always seeking.

Entrance Requirements

Basic literacy skills and a passion for writing!

Program Duration

Recommended 12 months of study

Programme Outcomes

• Introduction – Correct manuscript presentation – The right way to plot plan – Developing ideas for plots
• How to write the story – Writing style – A natural style – Natural dialogue – Dialect – The apostrophe – Technical aspects
• Getting the story started – Developing the plot plan – The first draft – Introducing the Key Character – Establishing the scene Human Interest – Characterization – Physical appearance – Long or short? – Clothes – Mannerisms – Personality Marketing saleable work – About the magazine – About the story – Grades of markets – The middle market

For a Detailed Course Structure, please click here.

Assessment and Award

Once you have successfully completed the course you will be awarded a Certificate in Writing Short Stories.


Please note that this programme is not registered on the NQF, and as such it is not a credit-bearing programme.

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