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Short Story Writing Course

syllabus - contributors - videos - ask a question - special offers - free courses for authors

I'm currently developing a comprehensive course about the art of short story writing.

The course will be presented in video format and will offer detailed short story writing advice, many writing exercises, short story case studies as examples, guaranteed publishing opportunities, flash fiction advice, critiques, mentoring, help with editing and much more.

Short Story Writing Course

The course has been written and filmed. Pictures taken during the photoshoot have been peppered throughout the page below. The videos were filmed at Screenology Go in Bristol.

Chris Fielden Short Story Writing Course

The videos are currently being edited. Once production is completed I will have to build the 'course' section of the website in Teachable and finish off the resource documents that accompany the videos.

I hope to have the course ready for release by the end of 2018.

Edward Field, Mel Ciavucco and Chris Fielden

I will be offering a free taster course, so that prospective students can see if they like the style before purchasing the comprehensive course.

Chris Fielden Short Story Writing Course Performance Area


Below is the syllabus for the free course. Below that you will find the syllabus for the comprehensive course.

Free Taster Short Story Writing Course

  1. Introduction – who I am, why I'm qualified to tell you anything about writing and the topics covered in the free course
  2. 17 Short Story Writing Tips – lots of useful advice including many of the common mistakes short story writers make
  3. Writing Exercise – a 'free writing' exercise that will help get your creative juices flowing
  4. An Opportunity To See Your Words In Print – you will be given the opportunity to write for a specific opportunity that GUARANTEES publication
  5. Thanks And Cheers Me Dears – some final tips, plus details of the full course's syllabus and how to sign up

Short Story Writing Course Set

Comprehensive Short Story Writing Course

  1. Introduction – outlines the entire syllabus and presents a magic short story writing formula
  2. Competition Judging Criteria Analysis – an in depth look at the criteria used to judge the To Hull And Back short story competition
  3. Writing Exercise 1 – stimulating spectacular story ideas of stunning significance
  4. Short Story Case Study 1 – listen to a short story that has been published 5 times
  5. Short Story Case Study 1, In Depth Analysis – the competition judging criteria from the second video is applied to the case study – the story’s strengths and weaknesses are discussed in full
  6. Writing Exercise 2 – creating incredible characters
  7. Flash Fiction Writing Challenges – this video includes multiple case studies and input from other writers, editors and judges
  8. Writing Exercise 3 – have your work critiqued and published via the flash fiction writing challenges
  9. 7 Point Short Story Writing And Publishing Plan – a unique plan students can use to help them write and submit successful short stories
  10. Writing Exercise 4 – think like a professional editor and find the mistakes
  11. Short Story Case Study 2 – listen to a competition winning short story that has been published 4 times
  12. Short Story Case Study, In Depth Analysis – how I used the 7 point plan in practice to write and publish the story
  13. Writing Exercise 5 – undertake the 7 point plan
  14. Thanks And Cheers Me Dears – end of course summary and details of how to claim your writing goody-bag

Transcripts of the videos will be made available to all the students who purchase the comprehensive course.

Mel Ciavucco and Sara Eriksson

Course Tiers - Bronze, Silver and Gold

The full course will be available in bronze, silver and gold pricing tiers, to cater for different budgets and critique/mentoring requirements.

Bronze Silver and Gold Quills

The pricing has yet to be finalised, but here is what will be offered at each tier.


  • Full access to free short story video course with transcripts
  • Full access to comprehensive short story video course with transcripts
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group
  • 1 x flash fiction critique
  • Lifetime discounts on story critiques
  • On completion, a bronze writers' goody bag


  • Full access to free short story video course with transcripts
  • Full access to comprehensive short story video course with transcripts
    Access to an exclusive Facebook group
  • 2 x flash fiction critique
  • 2 x short story critique (up to 4,000 words each)
  • Lifetime discounts on further story critiques
  • On completion, a silver writers' goody bag


  • Full access to free short story video course with transcripts
  • Full access to comprehensive short story video course with transcripts
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group
  • 2 x flash fiction critique
  • Flash fiction 1 on 1 mentoring session
  • 2 x short story critique (up to 4,000 words each)
  • Short story 1 on 1 mentoring session
  • Lifetime discounts on further story critiques
  • On completion, a gold writers' goody bag

Edward Field

Course Contributors

Various editors, writers and competition judges have very kindly contributed to the course. They are (in alphabetical order, based on first name):

Allen Ashley

Allen Ashley

Allen Ashley is an award-winning editor and prize-winning poet. He works as a critical reader for the Christopher Fielden Agency and also as a creative writing tutor in north London, UK. He is the sole judge for the annual British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition.

Edward Field

Edward Field

Edward Field is a writer, editor and the author of Permission to Rage: The Book on How to Complain Effectively, as well as three children’s plays currently on the South African curriculum. He writes and edits fiction, non-fiction, speeches, corporate presentations & brochures and his work has appeared in anthologies, on websites and in publications including The Stage, Breathe, Reflex Fiction, To Hull And Back and Idle Ink.

Ian Tucker

Ian Tucker

Ian writes stories to entertain himself whenever he is left alone long enough. Hence most of his stories are short. They are also generally silly. A range of these stories appear on his website – – and he has featured twice in the To Hull And Back anthologies. He lives in Bristol when he can.

Lesley Truchet

Lesley Truchet

Lesley is native English, lives in France and has been writing for several years. Writing her first novel, she has short stories, articles, poetry and blogs published in print and online. She is a member of Writers Abroad, an international online writing group for expat writers

Lorraine Mace

Lorraine Mace

Lorraine Mace is the humour columnist for Writing Magazine. As well as being head judge for the Writers' Forum monthly fiction competitions, she writes two columns for the magazine. She is a tutor for Writers Bureau and also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service.

Mel Ciavucco

Mel Ciavucco

Mel is a Bristol-based writer who has been published online and in print. She has made appearances on BBC2 and Radio 5 Live. She is a judge for the ‘To Hull and Back’ short story competition.

You can find Mel at Write Kerfuffle:

Michael Rumsey

Michael Rumsey

Over the years, Michael has had a few successes with stories and articles. Then, along came retirement, allowing time to meet the flood of website opportunities. He writes at least one piece a week, mostly flash fiction (150 published), but especially enjoys producing the longer factual studies, like Portrait Of A Painter and others on his Facebook page:

Mike Scott Thomson

Mike Scott Thomson

Mike’s short stories have been published by a number of journals and anthologies, including The Fiction Desk, Litro, Prole, Momaya Press, National Flash Fiction Day, and Stories for Homes. In 2014 he won the inaugural To Hull And Back humorous short story competition, run by Chris Fielden.

Nastasya Parker

Nastasya Parker

Nastasya Parker has been published twice in the Bristol Short Story Prize anthologies. Her story 'The Maze' won the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Prose Prize in 2017. She is an American expat living in Gloucestershire, longing for root beer. Witness her staggering through the novel-writing process on her blog:

Rhiannon Lewis

Rhiannon Lewis

Rhiannon Lewis grew up on a farm near Cardigan on the West Wales coast. Her debut novel,My Beautiful Imperial, was listed by the Walter Scott Prize Academy as a recommended novel for 2018. Her short stories have won awards: 1st prize, Frome Festival 2017, Writers' Forum 2016, runner-up Hammond House 2017, shortlisted Bristol Prize 2018, longlisted InkTears 2018, Brighton Prize 2018.

Tina Smith

Tina Smith

Tina is currently working on her first novel. She also writes short stories and film scripts. In 2014 she won ‘Best Horror’ at the Limelight Film Awards and an award at the British Horror Film Festival.

Thank Yous

I'd like to thank all of the contributors for helping to make the course more valuable to students.

I'd like to thank Steve Tuffin for reviewing the course for me, and sharing his experience as a creative writing tutor.

Stephen Tuffin

Stephen Tuffin

Stephen is a creative writing lecturer with the Open University. He writes flash and short fiction and has performed his work at the Bath Literature Festival, The Brighton Fringe and A Word in your Ear – Bath. His stories have been published in the NFF anthology, Fictive Dream and Literally Stories, among others.

Stokes Croft Writers

I'd like to thank Christie Cluett, Mark Rutterford, Steph Minns and Thomas David Parker, all of whom are members of Stokes Croft Writers, for their help with proofreading and critiquing early drafts of the course.

Short Story Writing Course Filming

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Special Offers

In the meantime, while I'm developing the course, I have negotiated some exclusives deals on popular short story and flash fiction writing courses for my website users to take advantage of.

1. Flash Fiction Magazine's Flash Fiction Writing Course

Flash Fiction Magazine Writing Course

Flash Fiction Course - Exclusive Discount: SAVE 5%

Flash Fiction Magazine run a popular writing course called 'How to Write Flash Fiction with Skill' which includes clear guidance on the art of writing very short stories, one-on-one mentoring, a 30 day money back guarantee and access to an exclusive Facebook group.

Shannon, who runs the magazine and website, has kindly offered my website users an exclusive 5% discount on all of their courses.

To take advantage of this special offer, use this discount code at the checkout: CHRIS

Flash Fiction Magazine

The courses are open for sign up for 9 days each month. Timings vary, but they usually close on the last Thursday of the month. For full details, check out the Flash Fiction Magazine website.

Jake TS Wryte is a student who has undertaken the 'How to Write Flash Fiction with Skill' writing course. He has very kindly written about his experiences for my website. In his post, Jake talks about what the course offers - including example exercises, feedback, critiques etc. - and shows how the course helped him to write a flash fiction story that has been accepted for publication. You can read Jake's post here.

You can also sign up to Flash Fiction Magazine's free Authors Only List, to receive lots of free writing tips and advice.

2. Professional Writing Academy's Short Story Writing Course

Professional Writing Academy

Writing Short Fiction Course - Exclusive Discount: SAVE £170

I've undertaken interviews and chats with students for the Professional Writing Academy, as part of their Introduction to Writing Short Fiction course (you can see them below).

Christina and Susannah, who run the academy, have kindly offered an exclusive discount to my readers.

You can save £50 on the course fee and a free individual feedback report worth £120

In total, the offer is worth £170. All you have to do is visit this page on the Professional Writing Academy website.

Select Book My Place.

Then insert the coupon code ChrisFdiscount in the APPLY COUPON box.

Ian Dodsworth, one of the Professional Writing Academy's Writing Short Fiction Course students, has written about his experiences with undertaking the course for my website. You can read Ian's case study here - it includes examples of writing exercises and tutor feedback.

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Here are the 2 video interviews I did with Lizzie at the Professional writing academy.

The first interview is about the common mistakes short story writers make:

The second interview is about short story writing tips and advice:

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Course Questions

If you have any questions about the course I'm developing, or any suggestions about things you think should be included, please contact me or leave a comment below.

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Free Courses For Authors

Here are details of some interesting courses for authors that are available free of charge.

1. Free Amazon Advertising Course

Kindlepreneur offer a free video course that shows you how to use Amazon advertising to generate books sales. I've done the course and found it really useful.

You can learn about the free course on the Kindlepreneur website.

2. Free Facebook Advertising Course

Self Publishing Formula offer a free video course about Facebook advertising for authors, clearly showing you how to use social media advertising to generate book sales. Again, I've done this course and found it really useful.

You can find out more on the Self Publishing Formula website.

3. Free How To Write Flash Fiction Mini Course

Flash Fiction Magazine is now offering a free 'How to Write Flash Fiction' mini course that shares lots of advice and tips on the art of writing very short stories.

You can find out how to sign up on the Flash Fiction Magazine website.

You can also subscribe to their Authors Only List for free flash-fiction writing tips and advice.

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Leave your comments

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Your comments:

Anita B
Hi Chris. Would love to find out more about your writing course when it is finished.

Really hope you don't think I'm being cheeky, but I think there's a typo on the word 'guarenteed'. You might want to change it.

Chris Fielden
Hi Anita. Great stuff - I'll be sending out all the details on my email list.

I'm hoping it'll be ready to go by spring 2018, or earlier if possible.

Thanks for letting me know about the typo - corrected! I always appreciated that kind of feedback, it's really helpful. I seem to spell 'guaranteed' incorrectly every time I type it, and then forget to spell check... rookie error.

Michael R
Great idea Chris, sure to be well received.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Michael :-)

Carol D
Good morning Chris. Firstly, thank you for your most excellent website. It's brilliant!

I am English originally from Chester and currently live in Queensland Australia. Having been a full-time Carer of my mum before her passing, I am now in a position to pursue a long held dream of becoming a novelist and would like to ask you a question if I may.

To develop my writing skills I would like to undertake a writing course as I recently read that publishers are starting to favour would be novelist and writers who have done one (this was on a website). As a subscriber to the UK Writing Magazine, I have seen advertised, a Comprehensive Creative Writing Course with the Writers Bureau that I can undertake via correspondence. I also have just bought (not read) Chris Sykes' book 'The Complete Creative Writing Course'. I noticed on your website in the section regarding 'Writing Books' that you hold this book in high regard. As I am still working as a Carer, I do not have a lot of money to spend on courses but obviously, if it's worthwhile, I would find a way to pay for an appropriate course as this is important for me. I am used to studying by myself so have no problem working through Chris Sykes' book on my own either, I just wonder if it would be enough?

I have no one else to ask so would greatly appreciate your input if you have the time.

I have signed up for your newsletter and will look forward to receiving it. I wish you ongoing success with your own writing and your writing business.

Chris Fielden
Hi Carol. Sorry to hear that your mum has passed. But I’m glad to hear you are now pursuing writing – I hope you enjoy the adventure :-)

I haven’t actually read the book by Chris Sykes – it was recommended to me by a number of friends in the writing community (they all had positive things to say about it), hence why it’s mentioned on my site. So I’m afraid I can’t be much help with that.

However, I have done the Writers Bureau correspondence course. I did it about 10 years ago and found it incredibly helpful. When I did it, they recommended that you start with the non-fiction part of the course and move on to the fiction part after. This is because it’s a lot easier to get non-fiction published and gain experience working with editors and seeing your work in print. I found this to be true – I wrote for local papers and it does give you very useful experience, making you less precious about making changes when you work with editors on your fiction.

I guess that might be different now, as the internet has changed things somewhat. Still, I found the course thorough and insightful. The fiction section was crammed with useful information. As part of the course you write a synopsis. I received very positive feedback about mine from my tutor, so went on to write and self-publish the book after completing the course. I doubt I’d have travelled as far on my writing journey as I have without doing it. So, I do recommend it when people ask.

I hope that’s helpful and wish you the best of luck with the courses and writing your novel.

Carol D
Hi Chris. Firstly, thank you so much for your kind words regarding my mum; it was lovely of you to say.

Secondly, a big thank you for taking the time to respond to my email and query. I am most grateful to you as I can see by your website at least, that you are a very busy man. I found the information you have given me to be extremely helpful and has certainly assisted me in making a decision to do the Writers Bureau Comprehensive Creative Writing Course. As mentioned in my email, I am aspiring to become a novelist in the area of Women's Fiction and also interested in writing for children. I believe this course will give me an understanding of not only many areas of writing but also of the 'industry' and who knows what paths that may lead to.

So a huge thank you Chris for your valuable time and information.

All the very best with your own writing career. I look forward to reading your website regularly and receiving the newsletter also.

Chris Fielden
Hi Carol. No problem :-)

I’m glad that has helped you to make the decision – I hope you enjoy the WB course and get as much out of it as I did.

Cedric DLN
Hi Chris. I was thinking of enrolling in our local Adult Education creative writing course . Ten weeks for £125. Then I seemed to remember you mentioned a James Patterson Master Class and I looked that up. That is £70 for 20 lessons.

Can you please give me some feel for the Master Class or am I just wasting my time and money?

Chris Fielden
Hi Cedric. I haven’t done the James Patterson Master Class, so can’t be of any help with that one I’m afraid.

I have done the Writers’ Bureau course and thought that was excellent. It’s a correspondence course, so you do assignments and then send them in and the tutors send you their comments. It works well if you’re OK working on your own. If you prefer to attend a course and meet other writers, it’s probably not the right one for you.

I’ve also negotiated a special offer for my website users with the Professional Writing Academy. I haven’t done their course, but have heard that it’s good. I’ve also done a couple of videos with them and I am doing guest ‘speaking’ (typing really…) to the students via online forum later this month. The people that run it seem to be lovely. You can learn more about that on the page above and on my special offers page.

It’s a bit more expensive though. The Patterson one seems to be very reasonably priced. And so does the local one you mentioned. I’ve done similar courses in Bristol and I found them very helpful. It’s all about the speakers/teachers though – depends on their experience etc. I guess you’ll just have to decide which one works best for you.

Anyway, I hope that helps.

Chris B
Hi Chris. The topic I want to ask about is speech indentation. The first story I submitted had indented speech and other stories that I see in competitions have indented speech. However, I have spoken to a tutor from an on line writing course and he said don't indent your speech and he teaches his students not to, saying that they have never been penalised for not indenting their speech.

After talking to him I submitted some stories without the dialogue indented, but I'm worried now. I'm just asking your thoughts on it, really.

Chris Fielden
Hi Chris. I wouldn’t worry too much. As long as you’re consistent, and obey any submission guidelines, you’re unlikely to be penalised for a basic formatting choice.

However, in my experience, any new paragraph, including speech, is indented. If you open up most novels, they are formatted in this way, so it’s a good indicator. The books I publish use indents for speech. And I do the same in all my stories. I guess the tutor who gave you the advice might have experience with different regional markets to me, so it could be that? I’d just go with whatever you’re most comfortable with.

You might find this resource about formatting manuscripts useful. A lot of short story mags (especially US ones) link to it in their submission guidelines.

I hope that helps.

Glynis D
Hi Chris. I am very much interested in your course. I took a creative writing course with Clare Collinson when I was living in London. I really enjoyed it.

I'm now living in Ireland, a carer for my mum, so have much more time on my hands. I started writing a book a few years ago. Would like to continue with it. Thanks Glynis

Chris Fielden
Great, glad to hear you're interested in the course Glynis.

I'll keep you up to date re progress via my email list. I hope it'll be ready to launch later in 2018.

I hope all is good in Ireland.

Mike M
If you want to win a major short story competition do NOT send anything that is remotely humorous. I suggest that a sad 'dead baby' story will win every time. Of course a deteriorating relationship or dysfunctional family life is a sure bet  to make it to a short list too. What are they teaching in American and British university English classes these days to produce such stories?

Chris Fielden
Hi Mike. I'm not sure how English is taught nowadays. Maybe there's a demand for gritty subject matters from readers of the larger contests?

I publish humorous stories through my To Hull And Back competition. The comp has been referred to in the press recently as 'a major award', so it fits your criteria. I've also seen a lot of humour published elsewhere. Writer's Forum sometimes publish it, as do a lot of other mags and journals. So there are amusing stories out there - hope is not lost!