Short Story

Our online short story writing course will teach you to create credible plots and structure your story before showing you how to present your work ready for publication.

What You'll Learn: Course Modules and Content

1. First principlesShort Story course book cover
2. Shaping your characters
3. Characters and plotting
4. Narration and dialogue
5. Writing style
6. Genres
7. The writer at work
8. In the marketplace

One of the enjoyable things about short stories is the sheer variety of the markets for which you could be writing; women’s magazines, local newspapers, competitions and festivals, small press magazines. Your course will show you how to research and meet the demands of these markets but first, you have to learn the disciplines of short story writing. You need to learn how short stories are structured and what makes them work.

Right through your course, you will be working to sharpen your creative skills. So you must start by understanding exactly what creative skills the short story writer needs and at the same time you must be aware of the mistakes that beginners nearly always make, mistakes that make the difference between rejection and acceptance, winning and losing.

You will learn how to: shape your story using construction and pace, start with theme, add your characters, interweave narrative with dialogue and then follow techniques that allow your plot to develop.

First learn the skills, then learn how to adapt them: that is the principle your course aims to teach.


Read a FREE extract from the course book introduction!


Buy your course online today! Your course co-ordinator will email your personalised course materials as a PDF file to store safely on your computer. By emailing your course assignments your professional writing tutor will be able to critique and return your feedback to you faster than using the postal service.

Prefer your course materials by post? Contact our course team or call 01778 392 492 to get a quote (postal charges apply).

Buy Online

Product Price
Short Story (Non Subscriber Price) £260.00
Short Story (Subscriber Price) £234.00
Please Note: Subscriber discounts are applied during the checkout process when your account and eligibility has been validated.

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What Our Students Say

I did the Short Story creative writing course with Writing Magazine and found it to be invaluable. The tutor was very encouraging and I never had to wait too long for the feedback after each assignment. I have since won a short story competition with Writing Magazine and also been short listed for a second short story. The course has been very inspirational.

Helen Chan, Leicester - 10/02/2016

I had a very enjoyable and informative creative writing course through Writing Magazine led by Lynne Hackles. Having kept my fingers to the keyboard and followed her advice, I am now pleased to say that I have had a short story accepted by a magazine. Needless to say I am delighted and feel more than a little spurred on.

Mary Keyser - 10/02/2016

It has been my great pleasure during my first short story course, and the extended one, to have been tutored by Christine Franklin who has patiently guided me through thick and thin. Her kindly constructive criticisms spurred me on to discover I have an ability to write humorously. I have found working with her to be a happy rewarding experience that will be with me always.

James Sainsbury - 10/02/2016

I’m very excited to have Lynne Hackles as my tutor. I have read her pieces many times in Writing Magazine and I also have her book Writing from Life.  I’ve made a start on my first assignment – but it needs some polishing. I’m sure knowing Lynne will be reading it will make me up my game!

Dorinda Cass, Scarborough - 18/02/2016

I am only just reading Unit 3 of this course and I have already learned so much and I'm having great fun too. Registering for this course has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Well done to everybody involved.

Please pass on my thanks and gratitude [for] Stuart's help with my questions. His answer and explanation has helped me immensely to understand where I was going wrong.

Tony Stamp, Hartlepool - 18/02/2016

I really appreciate the friendliness in the communications from [the course coordinator] and Colin, it is making me feel very good about this course.

Steve Orton, Warwickshire - 18/02/2016

Just wanted to say thanks so much to Lesley for her very encouraging feedback on my first assignment. It was fantastic to receive her comments, and they have given me a much-needed confidence boost (not to mention motivation)!

Julie Smith, Cheshire - 03/03/2016

Thank you so much! I just wanted to say a very big thank you to you and the team for all of your support over the course as well as Lesley for all of her advice and kind words. 

The short story course has been invaluable, I've learnt so much and will continue to use the course pack and assignment comments as resources. I will definitely be looking at the course extension, and the other courses available, again in the future.

Mary Lou Fletcher, Stoke-on-Trent - 12/01/2017

My thanks to Lynne for the points made, and for returning my feedback so quickly. I'm really pleased to be learning, and it's a lovely surprise to have such a quick turnaround.

Sharon Whitehead, Humberside - 30/03/2017

John, thank you very much for your comments and advice regarding Assignment 3. I was very pleased that you liked my story and, once again, the recommendations you made have been extremely useful and insightful.

You are helping me understand that writing is a great craft that needs a lot of thought and care. Not only do I need to think carefully about the right and best words to use but it's also where they are placed within a sentence that can make or break the impact or reaction I'm looking for. Your feedback has provided a light-bulb moment for me. I've read about it before and thought I'd understood, however, you providing an example with something I have written somehow made it 'click' in my brain.

Thanks very much. I'm looking forward to implementing your advice in my next assignment.

Karen Kettle, Sandhurst - 30/05/2017

Wow! That was superfast. I hadn't expected a reply from the tutor until next week sometime at the very earliest. Reading Lesley's letter of welcome, her enthusiasm seems to radiate and must be contagious because I find myself wanting to just leave work early, go back to my hotel room and start to write. I won't of course because I have a mortgage and I doubt my company would be as excited about my writing as I seem to be today. I best stay in the office until 5.00pm. I have a number of story ideas I have been making notes about lately so I will mull them over in the hotel tonight and choose one to get started on.

Tony Stamp, Hartlepool - 31/05/2017