Do you want to take your short stories to the next level?
This intermediate course builds on the expertise acquired at an introductory level, providing more depth and a wider range of reading and approaches to fiction. At this level you will acquire and experiment with more techniques, broaden the possibilities you’re ready to explore in your writing, and reconnect with finding a sense of play and adventure in your writing. By the end you will have a final draft of a short story.
This course is ideal for people who have already started their fiction writing journey. You will be someone who writes regularly, and you’ll likely be working on a longer project. You might have completed a long-form course more recently, or you might be returning to writing after a period of absence and be looking for renewed structure and support.
Monday 12 February 2024
18 weeks (please see course schedule below)
By the end of this course you will have…
- Developed your creative practice
- Analysed and deconstructed devices and techniques used in literary narratives
- Developed observational skills, and learnt how to use memory creatively
- Studied and considered different types of writing
- Practiced and enhanced your use of plot, character, dialogue, and description
- Revised and edited your writing, and advanced your work to a finished draft stage
- Enhanced your writer’s voice and begun to define the themes which most interest you.
Why study with National Centre for Writing?
National Centre for Writing has been supporting writers to develop their craft for over 25 years. Our online tutored courses are developed in partnership with University of East Anglia, home to the prestigious School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, which boasts award-winning alumni including Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Anne Enright. Our course tutors are all published writers, many of whom have studied or taught at UEA themselves.
While there are many online courses available to you across the world, ours are unique in offering:
- One-to-one feedback on up to six assignments, directly from your course tutor
- A tailored learning experience with 15 students maximum
- Flexibility to progress through the course anywhere, any time
- Support and structure to develop a writing routine
- Skills and knowledge to improve the craft of writing
- Confidence in your ability as a writer
- Opportunity to join our NCW Alumni, an international network of like-minded writers and translators.
My output has improved a thousand-fold in both content and quality, which is all I could ask of an online course. I feel much more at ease with my writing, this is a real bonus as I lacked confidence at the start.
Module one – Getting Started and Beginnings
In this module, you’ll not only explore how and where writers get ideas from, you’ll also discover how you can collate and use them to their best effect. You’ll look at what technology can do to help in the early stages of ideas generation and capture, and you’ll also embark and maintain a writers journal (evidence from this will form part of your final assessment at the end of the course). This module will cover the practical elements that affect all writers, including finding the time to write, and you’ll discover the methods and tricks other writers use. You’ll also look at how to begin a longer piece of fiction, and your assignments throughout the course will invite you to submit a piece of writing either based off a prompt from the tutor or from an existing work in progress.
Module two – Characterisation and Dialogue
This module will introduce you to some of the different character types that are used across fiction, including non-western literature. You’ll look at the ways the conflict and obstacles a character experiences create the plot of your story and you’ll get to know you characters better. You’ll compare character-driven to plot-driven narratives and you’ll take inspiration from the world of script and screen writing to create compelling dialogue.
Module three – Perspective and Setting
In this module you’ll look at the ways perspective and setting impact the way the reader views the narrative, and you’ll also work through the different points of view available to you as a writer. Within this, you’ll discuss how what is noticed can depend on who is noticing, and the power dynamics within this. You’ll also play with perspective in your writing.
Module four – Defamiliarisation, Getting Unstuck, and Style
This module will cause you to make strange the familiar, helping you to unlock your writing and prevent writers’ block. You’ll also look at the ways research can aid your writing, and the ways in which other writers can support your work. In this module, you’ll also take a deeper look at your own writing style, the language you use, and the ways this impacts on the stories you tell. This module will contain a 1-1 tutorial with your tutor.
Module five – Plot and Structure
You’ll discuss the different types of structure available to you as a writer in the module, paying particular interest to the structures which are most common across cultures. You’ll look at plot and consequence in your own writing and discuss movement and progression in your narratives. You’ll also read examples from short stories and novels which use non-standard or innovative structures, as well as ‘plotless’ novels.
Module six – Revision and Ending
In this final module, you’ll hone in on the trickiest part of writing fiction: rewriting and self editing. You’ll learn the difference between a structural edit and a line edit, you’ll pair up to exchange work with your fellow writers of feedback, and you’ll discover the tips and tricks that writers use to edit their own work.
There will be two live sessions for this course, which will take place over Zoom.
Timings for these live sessions will be confirmed shortly.
How does this course work?
We have partnered with digital learning platform Teachable to host our self-paced courses. The platform is accessible across a range of devices, simple to use, and does not require any specialist equipment.
We want to make sure that you get the most out of our tutored online courses and feel confident that you’re choosing the right course. Each course contains a mixture of teaching content, reading to prompt discussion, writing exercises for you to hone your skills, and group and one-to-one feedback.
Click to read more about how they are structured and what equipment you may need.
How to apply
Apply to this course today — places are on a first come first served basis and limited to a maximum of 15 students to ensure a tailored experience. To apply, we ask that you submit:
1. A 500-word sample of your work
2. A one-paragraph introduction to yourself.
Email [email protected] to apply. Please format your email’s subject line: ‘[your name] application for Next Steps Fiction’. Applications are assessed and places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Application deadline is 5pm BST on Monday 5 February 2024.
You can pay for the full course upfront today, or by instalments. For details of our instalment plan, please email [email protected].
Megan Bradbury is a British writer, tutor, and mentor, and author of the critically acclaimed novel, Everyone is Watching (Picador, 2016). Described as a ‘beating heart of a novel’ by Ali Smith and ‘kaleidoscopic’ by Eimear McBride, the novel was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, and was listed as one of the Guardian’s Best Books of 2016. Bradbury is a graduate of the Creative Writing Prose Masters programme at the University of East Anglia, and has been awarded the Charles Pick Fellowship, an Author’s Foundation award, and numerous grants from Arts Council England. She has written for the Irish Times and the Times Literary Supplement. She is also an experienced artistic collaborator and a previous recipient of the Escalator Literature Prize. www.meganbradbury.com
Compared to the many other online writing courses — I’ve done many — the personal contact was tremendous.