Get the tools you need to write and publish short stories.
New session begins April 24, 2017. GO HERE to enroll in the spring session.
In this detailed, nuts-and-bolts course, you'll learn how to create complex characters, craft a compelling plot, write dramatic and believable dialogue, choose the best point of view for your story, draw readers into your fictional world with description, and hone your narrative voice.
Every week, you'll get new lessons and a related assignment. Each video and written lecture will focus on an essential element of narrative craft (see schedule below). In the final week, we'll discuss revision and how to submit your stories for publication.
Each module includes writing assignments to help you practice what you've learned and deepen your understanding of the material, as well as suggestions for further reading. The discussion forums provide a place for you to discuss what you've learned and ask questions of the instructor.
If you've always wanted to write a story but don't know where to begin, this course is for you. Taught by a New York Times bestselling author with more than a decade of experience teaching creative writing to graduate students, MASTER THE SHORT STORY provides a great foundation for anyone interested in writing and publishing short fiction.
Would you like to receive feedback on your work?
If you would like to receive feedback on your assignments from the instructor, please purchase the Critique Add-on.
Week One: Characterization
Learn to create complex characters whose motivations and desires drive your story. Understand the primary methods of character revelation, and discover techniques for making your characters stand out. Define your protagonist and use his or her desires to help plot your story.
Week Two: Point of View
Learn the major points of view and how to use them. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of each point of view, and learn how to choose the best point of view for your story.
Week Three: Structuring the Short Story
Plot and structure are not the same! Learn the difference, and see how an improved structure can take your story from blah to brilliant. Discover the basic blueprint that works for all kinds of stories in any genre.
Week Four: Setting and Description
Learn how to ground your reader in place, and how to make the world of your story come alive through sensory details. Get past abstraction and understand the difference between significant detail and unnecessary description.
Week Five: Dialogue
Get your characters to talk. Learn how to deepen characterization through dialogue, and how to create conversations that progress the plot. Learn techniques for making dialogue sound authentic, and avoid the pitfalls that make for stilted dialogue.
Week Six: Plotting the Story
Learn how to create suspense, create a compelling arc, and construct a strong beginning, middle, and end. Understand the difference between plot and structure.
Week 7: Voice and Theme
Learn how to develop your own unique voice. Discover how theme works with plot and character to make a story both meaningful and layered. Learn how to use thematic connections to make a story collection more desirable to publishers.
Week Eight: Revising and Publishing Your Story
You have a draft and you're ready to roll, right? Not so fast. The story isn't finished until you've revised. Learn how to identify weak spots in your story, improve pace through line edits, and find your story's true beginning and ending. Generate a cover letter and a list of outlets for publication.
By the end of this class, you will have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of narrative craft. You will have written and revised a short story, and you will be on your way to submitting it for publication.
Enroll now and get started immediately!
When you enroll, you'll have instant access to Module 1. Each week, you'll receive a new module packed with video and written lectures, a discussion forum, and an assignment. You'll have full access to the course for six months after your enrollment date, so you can revisit all of the materials at any time.
NO-RISK GUARANTEE: If for some reason the class does not meet your needs, cancel any time within the first two weeks for a full refund.
Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels and two award-winning story collections. Her books have been published in 30 languages. She has taught in the Masters of Fine Arts programs in creative writing at the University of San Francisco and California College of the Arts and has served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at St. Mary's College of Moraga, Bowling Green State University, and Notre Dame de Namur University. She has also designed and taught novel writing courses online for Stanford Continuing Studies. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press. She lives and writes in Paris.