How Fiction Works: A Study of Narrative Using Works by John McGahern

Linenhall Library, Belfast. May 13 & 14, 2019. 10am–5pm, both days.
Claire Keegan will direct this fiction writing course using works by John McGahern to explore and demonstrate the mechanics of writing and narrative structure.

1. The Leavetaking

2. “Christmas”

3. “Parachutes”

4. “The Conversion of William Kirkwood”

How do stories begin? How and why does an author make an incision in time and build tension? How is a reader drawn into a narrative? Why is a reader sometimes not drawn in at all? Keegan will discuss the structure of a narrative and go into what she calls the much-neglected middle, the trunk of the story. Are endings natural? Why do stories need to end, to find a place of rest? The discussion around endings will focus on falling action, emotional consequences and inevitability. Participants will also examine the differences between the short story and the novel. This course will be of particular interest to those who write, teach, read or edit fiction — but anyone with an interest in how fiction or reading works is welcome to attend. To book your place, contact ckfictionclinic@yahoo.com  Tuition is £300. A 50% deposit secures.

 

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Claire Keegan’s story collections include Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, translated into 17 languages, have won numerous awards. Her debut, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. “These stories are among the finest stories recently written in English,” wrote the Observer. Walk the Blue Fields, her second collection, was Richard Ford’s Book of the Year in 2010, and won the Edge Hill Prize, awarded to the strongest collection published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award, then the world’s richest prize for a single story. New Yorker readers chose Foster as their story of the year. It was also published in Best American Stories is now on the school syllabus in Ireland. Keegan has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops on four continents.

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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.

 

The Short Story with Claire Keegan

Short story course held on 13 and 14 April at The River Mill’s Retreat, Co. Down. 10am to 5pm, both days.

This weekend course will explore the short story using works from the anthology You’ve Got to Read This (ed. by Ron Hansen and Jim Shepard). Participants will be asked to consider:

  • How fiction works — and why it sometimes doesn’t

  • Where and when stories begin and how and if this differs from the novel

  • The differences between a short story and the novel / a chapter

  • Beginnings, Middles, Endings: Narrative Structure

To book, contact ckfictionclinic@yahoo.com. Tuition is £300. Lunch and tea are provided for all. There are only two places left. Visit CKFictionClinic for full details.

Claire Keegan has written Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, translated into 17 languages, have won numerous awards, and have been published in The New Yorker, Best American Stories, The Paris Review. Keegan has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops on four continents.

*NEW* Writers’ HQ Flash Quarterly Competition

writers' hq flash quarterly competition

Writers’ HQ wants your words! So send 500 of your best to their new flash fiction competition, running quarterly throughout 2019.

It’s free to enter, open-themed, with no restrictions on genre or style. PLUS win yourself up to 12 months Writers’ HQ membership and get access to over £1000’s worth of online creative writing courses as well as UK one-day writing retreats.

ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE

Deadline: 31st March
Word limit: 500 words
Entry fee: FREE! (But optional donations to our bursary fund are welcomed)
Prizes: 

  • 1st place: 12 months Writers’ HQ membership + 3 one-day writing retreats
  • 2nd place: 6 months Writers’ HQ membership + 3 one-day writing retreats
  • 3rd place: 3 months Writers’ HQ membership + 3 one-day writing retreats

Find the full guidelines (for the love of all that’s shiny, please read the guidelines) and entry form HERE

Writers’ HQ Online Writing Short Fiction Course (plus membership discount!)

 

Short stories aren’t just easier versions of the novel. They’re a broad, complex and rewarding art form in their own right. Writers’ HQ’s new online short story course will help you see the bigger picture and compress it into short stories with real punch.

Short stories have been here since the dawn of time. Based in the oral tradition (stop sniggering at the back), they’re the apocryphal family legends our grandmas/weird uncle used to tell us over Christmas dinner; they’re the school-yard urban myths; the sleepover ghost stories; the soliloquies in our diaries; the wine-soaked rants to that random person you cornered in the kitchen at that party after so-and-so dumped you. Short stories are all around us.

But super short stories are not super easy for writers, natch. In fact, the shorter your story becomes, the harder it is to distil what really matters onto the page. I would have written a shorter letter, so the famous quote goes, but I didn’t have the time.

So what makes truly great short fiction? The kind that leaves you dribbling, slack-jawed, and slap-faced when you finish it. The kind you remember forever, like some weird dream-memory. Well. We can’t write it for you, but we can give you a nudge, a shove, and a poke with a sharp stick (whatever floats your boat) to help you on your way. With the help of writing prompts, advice from award-winning short fiction writers, inspiring exercises, and the awesome little Writers’ HQ online community, you’ll come out the other side with at least one fully formed short story to call your very own – and maybe even send out into the world of literary magazines and competitions…

BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW or sign up for the full WHQ MEMBERSHIP for access to all seven of our online courses and exclusive discounts and freebies!

Sign up for monthly membership before 31st December and get 25% off your sign up fee with promo code WHQERSRULE25

short fiction online writing course

 

FREE short story critique with the Writers’ HQ Writing Short Fiction course

short fiction course

Get a FREE 3,000 word story critique when you book onto the next Writers’ HQ Writing Short Fiction online course (starting 18 Sept) using promo code CRITMEBABY

Spend six weeks immersed in the art of the short story with Writers’ HQ 5-star online course AND get feedback on the story of your choice (up to 3,000 words) with a special one-off promo code: CRITMEBABY.

The WHQ course is designed to fit in around busy lives, working hours, kids, attention-seeking partners, household chores and inevitable procrastination. Inspiring exercises, writing prompts, advice from award-winning short fiction writers, and a supportive online writing community will help you come up with some brand new ideas and explore a range of approaches and techniques to get the very best out of your short fiction.

And at the end of the course, submit a story to the Writers’ HQ tutors for detailed, one-to-one feedback and critique!

 

The next Writing Short Fiction course starts on 18 September

 CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR PLACE

(and don’t forget to use promo code CRITMEBABY at the checkout to get your free critique!)

 

Still not sure? Here’s what a few past students have said about the course (more reviews here):

writers hq short fiction course writers hq short fiction course writers hq short fiction course writers hq short fiction course

Silver, Gold, and Some Hard Cash

gold thingsWe’ve got a silver-themed contest with a looming deadline; six new themes for Issue 8: The Gold Issue; and an increase in our cash prizes.

There’s still one last chance to be part of The A3 Review‘s Issue 7, The Silver Issue. This month’s theme is SILVER THINGS, so make sure to get your sparkly work in by Saturday the 26th August. Click here for glittery inspiration and to submit. The issue will also include a story by guest flash-fiction writer Kathy Fish alongside the winners of the last 5 months of contests, and this month’s winners, too.

In other news… The A3 Review‘s founding editor, Shaun Levin, is launching a new online writing course, How to Map Your Book. The course is suitable for writers at all stages of a book project, so if you’re putting together a collection of short stories, you might want to check out the details here.  There’s an early-bird rate for bookings up until the 20th August.

Do please spread the word about our new themes for Issue 8: The Gold Issue. Naked and Nude, Windows, and Betrayal are just some of the dramatic themes coming up! And, because our submission numbers are up, we’re able to increase the prize money from this issue. Click here for inspiration and more details.