Date: September 5, 2023

Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm

Duration: 6 weeks

Level: Beginner | Emerging |

Cost: €165 (€150 Members)

Location: Irish Writers Centre

This course will take place on Tuesdays (six sessions in total). 

Course Summary

From nailing a solid idea to the excitement of penning that vital last sentence, this course will examine the different elements of short story writing including character, setting, voice, structure, plot, pacing and dialogue. The most important question is: who is telling the story and why? Each week we will have a close reading of a short story by a published writer to see how they did it. We will also peer-group work inprogress. By the end of the six weeks you will have a good first draft of a short story 

Course Outline

Week One: Sourcing Ideas. Using real life content (newspapers, fake news, social media) you will decide what you want to write about and write the first few paragraphs in class.  

Week Two: Voice. How important is voice in a short story? How does it inform style, content, shape, structure? 

Week Three: Character. How they’re motivated, what drives them to action, what stops them getting what they want.  

Week Four: Plot. What’s really going on? Short stories are nearly always two things happening at once: a story beneath the surface (the unsaid or compressed) and a story above the surface (how symptoms play out as behaviour).   

Week Five: Pacing and Progression. New possibilities open up, how will your character handle what’s thrown at them. How will they find a way out of their dilemma?  

Week Six: Conclusions & Consequences. What has changed for your character, where are they now? How do you let them go?


Course Outcomes

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the complexity and layering that happens in a short story and will be clear about how to tackle writing them. 

June Caldwell is an award-winning short story writer who has written for radio, short story anthologies, literary journals, and her own collection Room Little Darker. Her debut novel Little Town Moone is forthcoming from John Murray. In 2020 she curated an exhibition at the Museum of Literature (MoLi) on Nuala O’Faolain’s ground-breaking memoir Are You Somebody? June has facilitated workshops at various festivals, libraries, and Mountjoy Men’s Prison, and judged numerous short story competitions.