Short stories – part two

Starts – Wed 24th March 2021

(Or Thur 25th)

Ends – Wed 26th May 2021

(Or Thurs 27th)

Wednesday Evenings 7.30-8.30pm or

Thursday Evenings 7.30pm-8.30pm

Cost – £70

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

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

During this ten-week course you will work to improve your short story writing skills. In particular, we will be looking at use of language, show-don’t-tell and how to create an immersive experience for the reader.

You will also learn how to give and receive feedback effectively.

We will be analysing stories written by contemporary writers as well as those written by people on the course. (There is no need to share if you’d rather not)

This is the collection we will be using. It contains stories by writers such as Neil Gaiman, Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantell and Kazuo Ishiguro. Ideally, try to read some of them before the start of the course.

You can purchase the book at Waterstones in Ipswich or on Amazon here. Alternative sources can be found here.

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Session One – How to give and receive feedback.

We’ll discuss what makes a short story enjoyable and will each write a description of a story that we would like to read. We will then look at two extracts from short stories and discuss how to give feedback effectively.

Session Two – How to give and receive feedback – part two

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

Session Three – Show, don’t tell

We’ll discuss a short story written by a participant as well as a published story and establish the difference between ‘show’ and ‘tell’. Everyone will write a short piece of ‘tell’ for homework.

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

Again, we’ll discuss a short story written by a participant as well as a published story. Then, after a short demonstration, everyone will write a piece of ‘show’.

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 chosen story. We will then discuss our choices.

Session Seven – Avoiding cliche

After discussing this week’s stories, I’ll be sharing some tips about how to remove cliches from your writing.

Session Eight -Trouble-Shooting

After discussing our week’s stories, we’ll be sharing any problems we are having in our writing and will then help each other try to solve them.

Session Nine – Comparisons to published work

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 a 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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