Short Story Workshop with award-winning writer Kiare Ladner – starts October 30.

Wednesday evenings, 6.45pm-9.15pm; dates October 30, (no class November 6), November 13, 20, 27, December 4, 11; cost £99; venue Collage Writing Room, Wood Green Works, 40 Cumberland Road London N22 7SG. Click for details of courses. To book, email kate@collage-arts.org

The short story – liberating to get down, exacting to get right! Over six intensive sessions, we’ll explore the art and craft of the form. In doing so, we’ll look rigorously at your own stories, alongside a diverse range by other writers. From the traditional to the experimental, from character-based to thematically driven, from stories that expand a moment to those that cover a lifetime, we’ll discuss what works, how it works and why it works. Come along if you’d like to be inspired, motivated and challenged in your practice. All levels welcome.

Kiare’s short story ‘Van Rensburg’s Card’ was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018. She has a Creative Writing PhD, which focused on short fiction (stories and novellas) while exploring Italo Calvino’s concept of lightness. Before this, she did a Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia for which she was given the David Higham Literary Agency Bursary Award. Her short stories have been shortlisted or received honourable mentions in competitions including the Bridport Prize, the Short Fiction Competition, the Short Sharp Stories Award, storySouth Million Writers Award and Glimmer Train. Kiare Ladner’s debut novel Nightshift will be published by Picador in autumn 2019.

Writing Short Stories with Cynan Jones

Write and edit a complete short story and learn essential fiction-writing techniques on Curtis Brown Creative’s brand new six-week online course, Writing Short Stories led by award-winning short story writer Cynan Jones. Cynan won the Betty Trask award for his novel The Long Dry and he won BBC National Short Story Award in 2017, for which he was on the 2019 judging panel . His short stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies and in journals and magazines including Granta and the New Yorker.

We interviewed Cynan to find out more about his love of short fiction…

You won the BBC National Short Story Prize for your story The Edge of the Shoal in 2017 and now you’re on this year’s judging panel for the prize. How does it feel to come full circle? And what do you look for when reading short stories for competitions?

Judging the competition has certainly pointed out what an extraordinary thing it was to win. Ultimately, all a writer can do is write as strongly as he or she can, and work on a story until it’s the best possible piece they can produce. What happens to that story is a product of the work and attention put in. If nothing else, I know I’ve really worked hard to write strongly. In many ways then, it feels less of a circle and more of a starting point! What next? I’m always aiming to challenge myself.

The sense a writer has challenged him or herself is in the best stories too. You read great pieces and think, ‘How!? How did they write that?’ Such stories feel both totally impossible to write, but as if they couldn’t be written better.

When reading stories for competitions I look for that. Stories that take narrative risks and show the technical ability to make those risks pay off. That’s much rarer than you think.

What initially inspired you to start writing in short fiction?

I think several elements led me to shorter forms. Firstly, the thing of reading a story from start to finish in one sitting. I loved that as a reader and – as most of us are copyists when we first start writing – wanted to replicate that experience.

I also think that, even in my initial attempts at serious writing, the way my prose hit the page lent itself to shorter form. I aimed always to put a picture down as simply and powerfully as I could and relied on the reader to think and feel in response. That meant I didn’t write a great deal of explanation or back story, or direct a reader how to react. In itself, that makes for fewer words.

In retrospect, perhaps too there were constraints as to how long I could really dedicate to the process of writing when I first started. I usually had about three months for writing at the beginning of the year before the freelance work I did at the time really got going. Perhaps that made me feel I needed to write something I could start and finish in one block. (Which loops back to the first thing I mentioned here, about the immersive experience of starting and finishing something in one go.)

We’re thrilled to have you on board as the teacher of our brand-new Writing Short Stories course. What’s your favourite part of teaching?

Probably how teaching makes you dig into your own process and really work to understand it so you can pass what you know on.

Other than the help of the world-class authors I read, I taught myself to write. Because of that, it’s only since teaching that I’ve really dissected exactly what it is I do, and that’s helped me take things further.

Could you share your top three tips for writers who want to start writing short stories?

Read.

Work at the craft.

Don’t write to be published.

Read the full interview with Cynan over on the Curtis Brown Creative blog.

Curtis Brown Creative’s brand new Writing Short Stories course led by Cynan Jones is open now for enrolment. It starts on October 17th 2019.

Short Stops readers can get an exclusive 10% off by using code: SHORTSTOPSCBC

 

30 Days of Writing, An Online Course

30 days course30 Days of Writing is an interactive online course that encourages and supports writers in the process of writing a book in a month. For the thirty days of the course, the focus will be on your writing, on finding the right voice to tell your stories in, and on exploring ways to expand and layer a collection of short stories.

The course is led by the writer and tutor, Shaun Levin, editor of The A3 Review and author of Seven Sweet Things, A Year of Two Summers, and the writing guides, The Writing Notebooks.

30 Days of Writing is right for you if:

  • you want to create a substantial amount of writing in a short period of time
  • you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the collection you want to write and would appreciate some guidance and detailed feedback
  • you have an idea for a book but are not sure how to go about writing it
  • you like working in the company of others, but also enjoy the comfort of writing in your own space and at a time that suits you
  • you have notes and fragments towards a book, and would like some input on how to organise everything and keep going
  • you’d like to experiment with different ways of putting together a book, whether using text on its own, or combining text with photographs and illustrations

Tutor: Shaun Levin
Dates: 1-30 November 2019
Fee: £380

For just over £12 a day, you’ll receive:

  • detailed feedback
  • daily writing prompts
  • customised prompts and suggestions
  • 2 x one-to-one consultations
  • the company of other writers from around the world
  • 2 x the 12 Doable Writing Projects Writing Map
  • and the support to figure out what it takes to write your next book.

For more details about 30 Days of Writing, click here. Please email maps@writingmaps.com for any questions about the course.

Write a Book in June. It’s doable!

30 days

30 Days of Writing is a practical online course for writers who’d enjoy the challenge of putting together a book in a month.

The course is especially suited to anyone who’d like to take on a short story project not necessarily linked to a book project you’re working on. It’s an opportunity to create that passion project you’ve been mulling over for years, and to explore different concepts of what consitutes a book.

The course is run by the writer Shaun Levin, who is also the editor of The A3 Press, a new chapbook press, and the creator of Writing Maps.

The online course is devised so that you can start a project from scratch and complete a first draft by the end of June. The course is a month-long commitment, and will benefit anyone who’d like the inspiration and support to write daily for 30 days alongside other writers from around the world.

To find out more about the course, please click here.

Whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, hybrid writing, creating comics or illustrations, we’ll look at how to create a layered and dynamic work. Some of the elements we’ll focus on will include: movement in time and place, conflict and tension, chronology and tone, as well as ways to enhance your text through research and the inspiration of genre companions.

The primary focus throughout the course will be your daily practice of writing and the creation of your book.

Dates: 1 June – 1 July 2019

Fee: £260 (£200 early-bird rate before 30 April)

limited to 15 participants

About the tutor: Shaun Levin is the author of Snapshots of The Boy, A Year of Two Summers and Seven Sweet Things, amongst other books. He has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years and has worked closely with writers at all stages of their journey towards publication.