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Writing the Short Story
Written for both beginner and experienced writers
alike, the course will help you discover how to bring a story to life, from
the development of a plot to creating believable tension that will keep
readers on the edge of their seats. At the end of the course, you will have
a complete short story ready to be submitted, plus all the tools to help you
Getting the basics right
Introduction to the short story. Genre or
mainstream: making the right choice. Nanofiction, short-shorts and
average-length stories. Understanding market needs and wants. The three
types of conflict in fiction. Motivation: Finding what makes your characters
tick. How to use conflict to keep readers on edge. Understanding the
importance of cause and effect. Creating a logical plot. Accountability and
consequences. The first draft. What is a rough draft and why is it
How to build complex characters. What makes a
character memorable. Names and descriptions. Speech and internal dialog as
characterization tools. Choosing the right point of view for your story. How
to avoid point of view switches that confuse your readers.
Building a story
Beginnings, middle and endings. How to hook the
reader: The importance of the first line. Famous first lines and why they
work. Ending: Choosing success or failure for your character. How to leave
your reader breathless. Perfecting Your Work: Steps to a successful final
draft. The importance of “letting go of your inner critic,” plus the roles
of inspiration vs. work. Editing worksheets. Tools to deal with writer’s
The business of writing
How to prepare your manuscript to impress
an editor. Cover letters. Learning from rejections. Finding markets for your
work. Competitions & e-zines: going beyond the print magazine market.
Creating a tracking system.
Provided by instructor as email attachments. Critiques, reading material,
lessons, writing prompts, free-writing exercises, worksheets, market
listings, and many extras.
Students will learn what makes a short story
successful, plus the elements needed to build one. At the end of the course,
the student will have a complete short story ready to be submitted.
About the Facilitator:
Diana Bocco is the author of
over 300 articles, short stories, and essays for national, international and
online publications such as Woman's Day, Marie Claire,
Mothering, Writer's Digest, and Self . She was one of six
writers/reviewers to work on the bestselling book Vegetarian New York:
The Essential Dining, Shopping, and Lodging Guide, edited by Suzanne
Gerber and with a foreword by Paul McCartney. She is also the editor of the
forthcoming anthology Room 636: A New Take on Urban Legends.
Her website is
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Duration: 4 weeks
Scheduled Sessions for 2010:
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following books are not required purchases for this course, but are
highly recommended by the facilitator.
by Stephen King
Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King's On Writing
really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a
tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists.
2006: Novel & Short Story Writer's Market
by Lauren Mosko
The fiction writer's ultimate resource. 500
pages of information from contests to book publishers.
The Art of the Short Story
by Diana Gioia
A robust volume of 63 stories from 52 authors from 20
different countries. This book includes their work, their thoughts
on writing, and a brief biography of each author with some surprising
and insightful facts.