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Short Story Focus Online Writing Workshop

with Esther Chilton

Eight-session online workshop, 1 - 1.5 hour per session, live teaching, via Zoom.

The length of the sessions varies depending on the session topic and the questions and discussions that arise.
Sessions will be a minimum of one hour.

To enrol please click on the green link below

Sold Out: Start Date: Tuesday 7th September 2021, 7pm for eight consecutive weeks, ending on 26th October 2021

If you would like to be notified of future dates for this workshop please send and email to:

All times shown are BST

Workshop fee: £195

(the meeting invite will be emailed to you the day before your workshop is due to start)

Join us in our virtual classroom for an eight-session short story writing workshop from the comfort of your own home, via Zoom. With numbers strictly limited to ten, this eight-session workshop will guide you through a variety of techniques that will sharpen your short story writing skills.

Once you've completed the workshop you’ll have the chance to have a short story assessed by workshop leader, Esther Chilton.

This is a great opportunity to develop your writing skills and make friends with others on the same journey. This workshop is suitable for writers who want to develop their short story writing skills, including beginners.

Workshop Outline:

Each session will start with some writing chat to help the group get to know each other, relax and settle into a creative mind set. Esther will be giving you exercises throughout the workshops so you can try out the concepts being taught. You’ll be invited to share your class work, but only if you would like to. By the end of this workshop you’ll have developed confidence in your story ideas and gained the skills you need to make them a cracking read.

Week 1: Generating short story ideas – In the first session, you’ll take a brief look at the short story market and the importance of researching the market you’re writing for. Esther will then show you lots of fun ways to ensure you’re never short of ideas.

Week 2: How to open your short story with an enticing hook – Now you have some ideas for short stories, Esther will show you different ways of making sure you grab your reader’s interest right from the start. There will be some exercises for you complete so you’ll get the chance to work on your own story openings.

Week 3: Creating compelling characters – In this session, you’ll be working on your characters. You’ll learn how to make them believable so your reader can share your character’s journey, seeing and experiencing everything as they do. There will be some exercises to work through so you can start bringing your own characters to life.

Week 4: Location, location, location – Here, you’ll learn about how to create a vivid picture in your reader’s mind and to take them right to the scene. You’ll learn how to use the five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste) effectively and then you’ll have the opportunity of working on your own scenes.

Week 5: Mastering the art of ‘show, not tell’ – As writers, most of us have heard the three words ‘show, not tell’ and been told how important it is to ‘show’, rather than ‘tell’. In this session, we’ll look at what it means, how you can achieve it in your writing and when it’s okay to ‘tell’. There will be some exercises for you to work through to build on your ‘showing’ skills.

Week 6: The importance of tension and obstacles – If there isn’t tension in a story, essentially there’s no story. There have to be stakes at play, obstacles in the way of your character achieving their goal. If there aren’t any of those things, there’s no tension. There will be some exercises during the session to help you add tension to your stories.

Week 7: Bringing your story to a satisfying ending – A short story can be brilliant, hooking your reader’s attention right from the start and then holding it there all the way through, with a compelling storyline, well-drawn characters and scenes they feel part of. But all that can fall by the wayside if the ending falls flat. Esther will show you lots of different ways to end your short story so your reader is left thinking, what a great ending to a great story! You’ll have the opportunity of taking some of your story ideas and trying out different endings.

Week 8: Common grammar and punctuation issues – It’s very easy to become so immersed in writing your story that the basics fall by the wayside, meaning dialogue punctuation isn’t set out properly, semi-colons spring up where they shouldn’t, tenses take on a life of their own and so on. You may have a masterpiece of a story, but if it’s full of mistakes, you’re likely to find your story rejected. Our final session looks at the importance of making sure your manuscript is as error-free as possible.

After the final session you will be invited to submit a story up to 2000 words to be assessed by workshop leader, Esther Chilton.

Workshop Fee: £195

Esther Chiltern Writer

Workshop Leader: Esther Chilton

Esther has a social science degree specialising in psychology and sociology. Writing was always a passion and since joining The Writers Bureau as a student many years ago, Esther hasn’t looked back. She now writes and tutors full-time. Esther has written for numerous writing magazines and had articles published in a broad range of publications including Prima, Your Cat, Lifeinfo and Collect It! to name a few. She has many short story competition wins to her credit and has also enjoyed judging competitions including Writer’s Forum’s monthly competition. Her fiction stories have appeared in The People’s Friend, My Weekly, Your Cat and Independent Newspapers, as well as teenage and children’s publications

By taking part in this workshop you will:

  • meet other writers

  • have time to ask questions as there are only ten participants per group

  • learn how to come up with great story ideas

  • develop an understanding of how to create interesting characters and settings

  • learn ways to introduce tension into your story to keep your reader interested

  • learn how to bring your story to a satisfying close

  • gain increased self-confidence to take your writing forward on your own.


This workshop is run by Budding Writers in partnership with The Writers Bureau

We’re operating as normal in these unusual times.

So don’t worry about your studies. All our tutors work from home and we’re set up for HQ staff to work remotely.  You’ll still be able to contact us if you need to. All you have to do is stay healthy and keep your brain active by studying your course.

Annemarie Munro Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2022

"I have seen my writing journey as an adventure: What can I write? What am I best at? What new aspects of writing can I discover and contribute towards? I have welcomed the wide range of modules covering different types of writing, challenging me to try new aspects in style and content, pushing me gently outside my comfort zone with encouragement.

"I signed up for the course in December 2020 as a Christmas present to myself and I started the first module in January 2021. I have had eight pieces published: three paid earning £1080 and a star letter where I won a £250 hotel voucher."

Annemarie Munro - Writers Bureau Student of the Year 2022

Read Annemarie's full story

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