Gain a better understanding of the elements which make up a compelling short story. These include character, plot, setting, dialogue, conflict, and dramatic structure, along with other aspects of story writing and editing your work. Through written exercises you will explore each of these areas and discover how they can be used to start a new short story, to improve an existing short story, or to provide the springboards from which a number of short stories can be written.
Working in a supportive, encouraging environment you will give and receive feedback on each other’s work. A one-to-one meeting with your tutor will give you the opportunity to get feedback on a piece of writing of up to 1,700 words (can be an excerpt – see preparation section below for more information). There will be plenty of time for independent writing in and around the inspirational College and Gardens.
Whether you’re planning to write literary short stories, flash fiction, commercial magazine short stories, or simply don’t know, the focus will always be on making your story the best it can be. Guidance will be given as to the potential markets for your stories and the process of submitting work for publication will be discussed.
By the end of the week you will have completed at least one short story. You will have developed an understanding of the interaction of character, plot and story; of the importance of dialogue for creating engaging characters; and how stories are structured. You will leave with increased writing skills, new ideas for short stories and with the confidence to write them.
A feature of the Summer School is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace further opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course.
Several early evening creative sessions (5.10pm - 7pm) are planned throughout the week. Extra activities will differ this year in response to social distancing. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:
• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work
• Sign up early evening tutor-led drawing sessions in the garden
• Time to relax or explore in the tranquil West Dean Gardens
• Take a break from your course with some free time on Tuesday afternoon, from 3.30-5pm
• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios
Timetable for Summer Schools
Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.
Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.
6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).
8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students should vacate their rooms by 10am please.
Ruth Brandt’s short stories and flash fiction have been widely published. She won the Kingston University MFA Creative Writing Prize, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Write Well Award and Best Small Fictions Award. Her short story collection No One has any Intention of Building a Wall will be published by Fly on the Wall Press in 2021.