Short stories – part two

Starts – Wed 7th April 2021

Ends – Wed 9th June 2021


Cost – £70

(includes ten one hour Zoom group sessions + feedback on your story)

This is a follow on for people who have already completed part one of the short story course.

During this ten-week course you will have the opportunity to give and receive feedback on each others’ stories. Whether or not you decide to share your work is totally up to you. If we need more stories, I’ll volunteer one of mine and/or find some suitable ones online.

Session One – Giving and receiving feedback

Using pictures as a stimulus, everyone will write a description of a story they would like to read and/or a possible opening paragraph. Then, we will discuss my ‘Feedback Checklist’ sheet to prepare for the following week.

Session Two – Giving and receiving feedback – part two

Having all read a story for homework, we’ll practice giving helpful feedback. We might try a bit of a ‘how to give awful feedback’ role-play too using an example story extract.

Session Three – Show, don’t tell

We’ll discuss a short story written by a participant and establish the difference between ‘show’ and ‘tell’. Everyone will write a 300 word scene for homework consisting of mostly ‘show.’

Session Four – Show, don’t tell – part two

We will discuss everyone’s scenes and decide whether it is mostly ‘show’ or ‘tell.’

Session Five – How to balance speech, action and description

After discussing a story belonging to a participant, we’ll look at an extract from a scene and discuss how the various elements are blended together.

Session Six – How to use language effectively

Everyone will read out their favourite paragraph from this week’s story and give reasons for their choices. We will then experiment with similes and descriptions of settings and emotions.

Session Seven – Avoiding cliche

After discussing this week’s story, I’ll be sharing some tips about how to remove cliches and awkard phrasing from your writing. We will also consider times when it’s ok to use cliche, eg. in dialogue and to create certain effects.

Session Eight -Trouble-Shooting

After discussing our week’s story, we’ll be discussing any problems we are having in our writing and working together to find solutions.

Session Nine – Comparisons to published work

After discussing this week’s story, we will compare our own work with published pieces and think of three ways in which we can improve.

Session Ten – Preparing for submission

We will discuss my feedback on one participant’s story and you can say whether or not you agree.

If you have any questions or would like to book a place on the course, please email me at:

Please pay for the course by 1st March. If you email me your mobile phone number, I’ll send you my bank details by text.

Here are the members of the planning group from earlier in the year. (I’m at the top in the middle).


Mai is so welcoming and, as new writer venturing into the unknown, everyone is reassuring, encouraging and also really constructive.

Jacqui Martin

I joined the writers’ group as a way to improve my skills. I stayed because the encouragement is fantastic. It has inspired a lot of new ideas and the people are just lovely.

Megan Musgrove

I’ve been to a few of Mai’s writing events and I really appreciate her infectious enthusiasm and her straightforward, clear advice.

Amoghavajra Mackay

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