Short Story in a Weekend

Discover how to craft a compelling short story in this intensive weekend course.

What makes a memorable short story? This thee-day course, run by our partners at Faber Academy, introduces you to the essential elements of a successful short story. You’ll experiment with a variety of ideas and techniques in a supportive online environment, learning how to shape a story and hone your ideas. By the end of the weekend, you should have a complete first draft.



Course Director

The Short Story in a Weekend course is an intensive course which is suitable for people who already have some experience of writing and would like to develop their skills further. The course is suitable if you:

  • Thrive under deadlines and enjoy a challenge
  • Want to learn the techniques short story writers use to craft compelling pieces of fiction
  • Are a novelist keen to try your hand at short fiction or a short story writer looking to develop their craft
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate a weekend to focus on your writing

Tutor Susmita Bhattacharya will guide you through the process of creating a compelling short story. Over the course of a weekend, Susmita will introduce you to a variety of techniques for creating short stories, giving you the opportunity to experiment with a variety of ideas before choosing one to take forward and develop into a complete first draft. You'll work as part of a supportive community of fellow writers, sharing feedback as you continue to write and edit throughout the weekend.

Friday evening: Influences
This session focuses on influences and inspiration – what inspires other short story writers to write? What are your own influences and inspirations? We believe very strongly that a good writer is a good reader, and the more you can get in the mindset of ‘reading like a writer’, the more you will get from creative writing. This session we’ll use close reading as a springboard into your own practical writing assignments.
Saturday morning: Ideas
We’ll experiment with sparking different story ideas before getting stuck into the writing proper. We’ll hear writers talking about where their ideas come from, and explore different starting points for short stories. You’ll carry out more close reading of selected texts and work on practical writing assignments in preparation to begin drafting your final piece. You’ll have the first of two group webchats.
Saturday afternoon and evening: Time to write
You’ll begin writing the first draft of your short stories. Using the starting points we’ve explored, you’ll begin to expand your ideas. You’ll have writing time to work on your first draft, with prompts and stimulus to help guide you if you’re feeling stuck. Plus optional reading and watching activities, and forums for group discussion.
Sunday morning: Endings
You’ll finish your first drafts and explore the topic of endings. We’ll hear writers discussing different approaches to what makes a satisfying resolution, and sharing their insights on crafting good endings. We’ll draw on close readings of selected texts to apply to your own short story. Using what we’ve gleaned, you’ll work towards completing your first draft ready for editing, and reflect on the writing process. You’ll have the second of two group webchats.
Sunday afternoon and evening: Editing
In this final session we’ll concentrate on editing. We’ll hear writers talking about how they go about editing their work, which areas of a short story need particular attention, and sharing their top editing tips. We’ll carry out close reading of the original and edited versions of a story, and you’ll apply your findings to your own editing process. Finally, you’ll post your completed short story of up to 3,000 words for peer comment and feedback.

You’ll learn in Faber Academy’s online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can balance your learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a small group of fellow learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the sessions.

You’ll learn from:

  • Podcasts from Course Tutor Susmita Bhattacharya
  • Short videos from authors and industry experts
  • Online guidance notes and directed prompts and exercises devised by Course Director Tom Bromley
  • Specially selected reading extracts and suggestions for further reading
  • Two live group web chats with your tutor to answer your questions
  • The support of an online community within the virtual classroom
  • Writing exercises and prompts to help you experiment and practise your own writing, from the first session onward
  • Online discussions with writers in your group and the chance to share and give feedback on each other’s writing

You’ll need:

  • A free weekend
  • A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
  • A laptop or computer* with:
    • A reliable broadband internet connection
    • Speakers or headphones
    • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
    • Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
    • Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
    • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free

*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

Join the Faber Academy alumni After your course, you can join the online alumni where you’ll meet the growing network of past Faber Academy students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing. Within the online alumni area you can:

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum and access an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Meet alumni from other Faber Academy courses and groups and share your work for feedback on our alumni critiquing forum
  • Join in on discussions about reading, writing, editing and ideas on our general discussion forum. This is also where we share news and useful info
  • Retain access to our resources area, which has interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people online using the alumni area live chatroom. We also host live chats with guest tutors, authors, agents, editors and publishers

Commission a report on your work If you’d like to receive a personalised, detailed report on your final piece of writing from your course tutor, this is available at an extra cost. You’ll receive detailed written feedback assessing your ideas and writing, plus advice on what steps to take next.

Taking things further If you'd like to continue on to another Faber Academy course, you'll receive a discount. Please get in touch for more details.

This is a Faber Academy course, so you’ll need to book through their website.

What our students say...

I have looked at the Faber and Faber courses a number of times but was uncertain about how effective online learning would be. Last weekend I took part in the short story online course and I got so much out of that. It showed me how quickly you could build a community online and how helpful group feedback could be in improving your writing. I found the multifaceted approach of videos, elements to read and writing exercise particularly good. I hope a longer course will help me develop and become a better writer.


What our students say...

Full marks to the intensive short story course. I came away with new tools and techniques and renewed confidence in my writing. I’ve since won two short story competitions, one with the story I wrote during the course. The support and feedback from fellow participants were invaluable.


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