Many writers begin with the short story. Through writing short stories they are able to experiment, learn the fundamentals of narrative composition, and have the satisfaction of completing something to a high standard in a relatively short period of time. The short story form can be the most flexible and satisfying to work with.
Shena Mackay likened the short story to a magic box, Hermione Lee described it as being like a polished pebble, and Helen Simpson said that it is like a gin and tonic. What did these writers mean? On this module you will gain an understanding of the appeal of short stories to readers and writers, and the limits and possibilities inherent in the form.
The module is designed to introduce you to the work of a range of short story writers, whilst helping you to develop your skills in crafting short fiction. You will be asked to study particular stories each week, but you will also be expected to pursue your own interests in reading. You will be encouraged to “read like a writer” and to reflect on that reading in critical commentaries to accompany your finished work. The skills required for writing short stories are also key to working in other forms, so this module will help you to develop as a writer whatever your plans and ambitions may be.