Writing Short Fiction: Inside and out


This course allows you to practise composting, germinating and growing ideas for short stories. Along the way, you will learn technical aspects of the craft and examine what makes successful short stories work.

You will write and write, and take big steps towards finding your own voice. Become part of a close-knit group and receive constructive and compassionate feedback on your attempts at short fiction.

You will need:

  • An email address that you are willing to share with other course participants
  • Access to an electronic device outside of class time – to receive course readings and share stories via email.

Target audience:
Anyone who wants to write short 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:
Session 1: Introductions, in-class writing exercises, workshop guidelines, and 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 submitted their work the previous week. Technical aspects of the craft are discussed in these workshops.

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.

The tutor will provide you with extensive feedback on your stories during group workshops, and will write a detailed assessment on one story you’ve chosen.

You will need to set aside time for reading and writing between classes. Course readings and resources will be sent via email so you will need access to an electronic device.

Tea and coffee are available at the start of each session. You are also welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Class limit
This course is limited to a maximum of 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.

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.