How to Write Short Stories That Resonate


10 weeks

Day and time:

Tuesdays, 6.30-8.30pm

Next course: Starting date
Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017
Future courses: Upcoming dates

Course overview

Department English and Comparative Literature

Giovanna Iozzi


Richard Hoggart Building, Room 150

Find your voice as a writer and write your first short story on this course from the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

This course is an excellent introduction to the short story, how to decode the best ones and begin to write your own. Short stories are a great way into creative writing; they demand discipline, water-tight prose and originality. They are exciting to write, are intensely character-driven and offer the reader tantalising miniature worlds. They are also great practice for longer form narratives; many well-known writers cut their first literary teeth on short stories.

The course is designed for all levels, from complete beginners to more practised writers who are keen to try out the challenges of the short form. It will appeal to students who have a passion for fiction (not necessarily short stories) and a desire to try out different approaches to writing from flash fiction up to 1000 words to longer stories up to 5000 words and beyond.

Why study this course at Goldsmiths?

Goldsmiths is home to a world renowned creative writing department that is experimental, risk-taking and exciting. We have award-winning former students like Evie Wyld, Ross Raisin and short story writer, Tom Lee. Goldsmiths has respect from the literary industry in the form of the Pat Kavanagh prize and the Goldsmiths Prize, established in 2013 to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the university and to reward fiction that breaks the mold or opens up new possibilities for the novel form. This year the £10,000 prize was awarded to Ali Smith’s How To Be Both.

This course will not only serve as an excellent introduction to the short story but will open up the possibility for students to take further creative writing courses at Goldsmiths and deepen their understanding. The confidence and skills acquired could lead into making an application for an accredited course at the university like the MA in Creative and Life Writing.

What will I study on this course?

In these workshops you will be reading and studying extracts from some of the great short story writers including Anton Chekhov, Katherine Mansfield, Alice Munro and Raymond Carver as well as contemporary writers like Kevin Barry and Claire Keegan.

Inspired by what we read we’ll begin crafting our own stories, focusing on: characterisation, beginnings and endings, plotting, creating conflict, point of view and dialogue. We will use objects, memories and life experience to develop ideas for stories that explode on the page.

The classes will be focused around you and your writing. The work of course participants will be as highly valued as the extracts included from published writers. Using a workshop-style approach, the course will utilise writing prompts and exercises, prose extracts, pair-work and interesting interview clips from the internet.

What are the intended learning outcomes?

Confidence – you will gain confidence from reading and responding to texts and developing their own ideas, characters and plots for stories.

An edited story -you should be able to develop several pieces of work from the exercises, homework and prompts in class, but the idea will be to draft, develop and deepen at least one short story over the course of 10 weeks that you will be confident presenting in the final session.

Sharing work – each participant will get at least one chance to read out their work and get feedback. As any writer knows, this is invaluable in terms of a group response and understanding readers/your audience.

Develop/hone analytical skills - you will become used to responding to texts and unpacking them in terms of style, literary devices and effects which will feed back into your own work.

Effective feedback - you will learn how to give helpful, supportive feedback in response to other participants' work and learn how best to respond to your peers' feedback on your own work.

Commercial awareness - participants will gain an insight into the short story world in terms of marketing, selling and submitting their stories for publication.

There will be a small pre-course reading and writing task to get you thinking about writing stories. Reading material will also be provided. In each class your tutor will set you a task which will involve a written exercise or developing an idea – you will also be expected to read at least one story for the following week. 

You can expect to produce at least one finished story by the end of the 10 week course. The process of absorption, consolidation and output on the course will be invaluable to the work you produce.

Participant Testimonials 

I registered for the short story course looking for a creative outlet having never done any creative writing before.  It turned out to be the most stimulating and fun course I have taken in years!  The tutor, Giovanna, was both inspiring and encouraging. Each week she guided us through aspects of the short story form and provided an excellent handbook with a great range of short stories for us to read and discuss.  Week by week she encouraged us to let go of our internal critics and allow our stories to emerge, reminding us that writing is all about drafting and re-drafting.  As a novice I took so much learning not just from Giovanna, but also from my amazing and supportive fellow students. Whether you are writing for pleasure or to publish, I highly recommend this course. 

Angela Sweeney 

Writing Short Stories that resonate was a great ten week introduction to reading and writing short. Each week comprised a mix of discussing a short story, doing writing exercises and sharing work. I found that the course enabled me to produce work and to edit and hone it on the basis of feedback and discussion.  Giovanna has a very engaging teaching style but she is also rigorous in her approach – dissecting issues of form for us to consider and try out.  I found the course pack of short stories from classic to contemporary – a really fascinating read.  The group got better at giving and receiving feedback during the ten weeks. 

Julie Bull  

Giovanna was an excellent and energetic teacher who proved to be the ideal guide for our diverse group.  She was well read and had a good grasp of her subject.  She built the course around the classic texts of short story writing and added her own insights into the secrets of the genre.  She listened with care when we read our work aloud and encouraged us to critique each other's stories in a positive and helpful manner.  She motivated us to write and rewrite and we learnt to make sure that every word counted.  I am sure that my writing has improved as a result. Giovanna brought the best out of us and she created a very good group dynamic.  It was a pleasure being in her class. 

Garth Taylor  

I found the course incredibly helpful and inspiring. The course was well-structured, and Giovanna is a great teacher: engaging, encouraging and with a wide knowledge of the short story genre.  The atmosphere was extremely friendly and enthusiastic. This course has given me the tools and confidence to start writing.  Highly recommended.

Tamara Gillon. 

Giovanna is an excellent teacher, encouraging and inspirational. On this course we learnt about how to write a good short story, by developing characters and using examples from classic short stories and how to write them ourselves. I can thoroughly recommend Giovanna and the courses she teaches – this was the second of hers I have gone to. 

Tony Westbrook.

Who will teach this course?

The course will be taught by short story writer and current Goldsmiths PhD student Giovanna Iozzi. As well as an experienced adult education teacher, Giovanna also works as freelance writer.

Giovanna Iozzi won the prestigious Pat Kavanagh literary prize from Goldsmiths for her short stories in 2012, awarded annually to an MA student by United Agents. Giovanna has published stories imprint and online (including The New Writer, Ambit, Young Voices & The Gold Room). Previously she worked as a tabloid journalist and still freelance for journalism network For the past two years Giovanna has been working as a teacher for Haringey Literature Live who run bespoke writing courses. 

She is currently working on a novella developed from a long short story for her PhD.

How will this course help me with my life/career?

On ths course you will not only learn how to express yourself and how to write more effectively, you will also learn how to present your ideas, critique the work of others and how to absorb information and integrate it into your own work.

Whilst writing short stories can be a relaxing pastime and a wonderful hobby, it also helps train you in skills that are applicable to almost any career and may even help you discover skills and a confidence that you didn't know you had before.

Future courses

Upcoming dates:
Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017 - Tuesday, 12 Dec 2017
Tuesday, 9 Jan 2018 - Tuesday, 20 Mar 2018

How to Apply

Please click on the date of the course you'd like to attend below. You’ll be taken to Eventbrite, which is our booking system:

Please be aware that our short courses sell-out quickly, therefore early booking is advisable to avoid dissapointment.



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