Writing Fiction: Inside and out


Become part of a close-knit group and share your writing, and ideas, with constructive feedback and laughs. In this course, you will examine, with new understanding, how successful stories work. You will practise composting, germinating and growing ideas for stories and learn the technical aspects of the craft. Along the way, you will write and write, and take big steps towards finding your own voice.

Pre-course activity:
Approximately two weeks before the start date, you will be sent a course workbook with instructions to:

  • Complete of a brief pre-course survey. 
  • Read a fiction extract or short story (included in the workbook).
  • Complete a short fiction writing assignment (about 100-words).  You will need to bring up to 13 printed copies of your completed assignment to the first class.

Target audience:
Anyone who wants to write fiction, whether they are a practiced writer or a beginner, will love this course.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will have:

  • discerned how successful writers have constructed their narratives
  • learned many ways to kick-start your own writing
  • germinated and grown story ideas
  • collaborated to constructively respond to each other’s writing
  • identified the technical aspects of writing and practised editing your own work.

Course outline:
Each session examines an extract from fiction or a very short story. You will do at least one short writing exercise and discuss the writing from five students.

Session 1: In-class writing exercises, workshop guidelines, positive workshopping of your pre-course writing assignment, discussion of writing prompts.

Sessions 2–8: Each class starts with a writing exercise from a prompt on the board. This is followed with an examination of published fiction. The group will ‘workshop’ the writing of five students who will have handed out copies of their work the previous week. You each have three opportunities for the class to comment on your work. You will learn as much or more from discussing others’ work as you do from discussing your own.

You will need to set aside time for reading and writing between classes.

Tea and coffee are available upon arrival at each session.

Class limit:
This course is limited to 12 participants, so please enrol early.

Susan Pearce is the author of Acts of Love (Victoria University Press, 2007) and has published short stories in various journals. She is a former teacher of the Short Fiction course at the International Institute of Modern Letters.

‘Susan's manner was excellent in managing to keep things light and amusing when they could have got quite ponderous’ – Writing Short Fiction participant, 2015.

‘Excellent tutor, very supportive, encouraging and willing to share her knowledge and expertise.  Very thoroughly prepared and a well-designed course’ Writing Short Fiction participant, 2015.

‘Supportive and constructive’ – Writing Short Fiction participant, 2015.

Relevant links:
International Institute of Modern Letters

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email: conted@vuw.ac.nz

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.