Fiction for the Way We Live: Writing Short Stories with Aiden O’Reilly
Date: September 14, 2022
Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Duration: 6 weeks
Level: Beginner | Emerging |
Cost: €165 (€150 Members)
This workshop will take place in-person at the Irish Writers Centre building.
The short story is the natural art form for a view of life as fractured and in flux. It is for the voices of those whose lives do not form a coherent unity. (Frank O’Connor said it is for a ‘submerged population’.) Participants read the works of some classic and modern short story writers and borrow techniques from them. They look at plotting an outline, openings, voice, character and style. There will be a focus on rewriting and editing.
Based around close readings of classic (including in translation) and modern short story writers, writing exercises will take place every week in class leading to the completion of two short stories.
Week 1: Introduction via classic short stories. A look at Frank O’Connor’s seminal text. A look at traditional story-telling and stories in native North American culture. Reading list of short stories that give voice to a ‘submerged population’.
Week 2: Plotting, impetus, drama. Storyboarding a favourite book/movie. Drafting an outline of a story. (Following O’Connor’s suggestion)
Week 3: Description – embodied and dynamic descriptions. Dialogue technicals. Check on progress in developing story from outline. Reading list of short stories that make use of the surreal/horror/New Weird or psychological deviance. Writers include (TBA)
Week 4: A look at plotless writing / experimental writing (examples from Joanna Walsh, David Rose and others). Editing exercises
Week 5: Editing workshop: Participants swap short stories for editing.
Week 6: Rewriting. Workshop feedback. Opportunities and Resources to advance your writing.
Participants will complete two full short stories, and do a variety of exercises in-class.
Aiden O’Reilly’s debut short story collection Greetings Hero was published in 2014. He studied mathematics, and has worked as a translator, a building-site worker, an IT teacher, and a property magazine editor. He won the biannual McLaverty award, and his fiction and essays have appeared in The Dublin Review, The Irish Times, The Stinging Fly, Litro Magazine, The Bookseller, The Missouri Review, the Winter Papers, the DRB, and many other places.