Writing Fiction: Master the Short Story

Fundamentals of Fiction Writing

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Get the tools you need to begin writing short stories in WRITING FICTION: MASTER THE SHORT STORY

Do you dream of writing fiction, but you don't know how to begin? In this five-week course, you'll learn the fundamentals of narrative craft:

  • how to create complex characters
  • how to choose the best point of view for your story
  • how to structure your story
  • how to write dramatic, believable dialogue
  • how to draw readers into your fictional world with description

Who will benefit from this course?

Writing Fiction is designed to help beginning writers learn the skills they need to begin writing fiction. It is an introduction to fundamental elements of narrative craft. No prior experience in fiction writing is needed.

Intermediate and advanced writers working on long-form fiction should consider Novel in Nine or the accelerated course Novel in Five.

What is included in this course?

Writing Fiction: Master the Short Story includes:

  • 8 video lessons
  • 16 written lessons
  • 10 assignments
  • 5 quizzes

Each module focuses on an essential element of narrative craft (see schedule below).

Practice what you've learned with engaging assignments.

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.

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, WRITING FICTION provides a great foundation for anyone interested in writing and publishing short fiction.


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.


By the end of this class, you will have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of narrative craft. You will have completed several exercises in short fiction and will have a clear understanding of how to write a short story.

Would you like to receive feedback on your work?

Please note: This is not a workshop course. If you would like to receive feedback from the instructor on your final story, please purchase the Critique Add-on.

Enroll now and get started today!

"As an aspiring author with a demanding full time job, I do not have time to read and critique other students' works as is often the method in other writing workshops and courses. The one-on-one interaction with Michelle was perfect for me. I enjoyed the combination of reading and watching videos for each of the modules. Michelle's feedback on all my assignments were both helpful for improving my stories and encouraging me to keep going."

- Karen M.

Your Instructor

Michelle Richmond
Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels and two award-winning story collections. Her books have been published in 31 languages and optioned repeatedly for film and television. 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have access to the course?
You will have access to this course for 12 months. You will get a new module each week. After completing the course, you will have unlimited access to all modules until one year from your enrollment date.
When will lessons be available?
The introductory module and Week 1 module will be available the moment you enroll. After that, you will receive access to a new module each week. Your second module will be available 7 days after you enroll, your third module will be available 14 days after you enroll, etc.