Six Week Character & Critique Short Story Genre Course - Online

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OCTOBER 13 to NOVEMBER 24, 2014

This course is run online and only once per year.



early_bird $445 inclusive of GST


Unlocking Creativity is a pre-requisite.






This course is ideal if you have completed Unlocking Creativity and want to keep your passion for creative writing alive and further develop your writing and story telling skills.The more you write, the more you learn, the better your writing will be.

You will develop and explore the characters you want to write about within the framework of four key genres:

Love/Romance, Thriller/Action, Comedy and Fantasy/Magic Realism

You will write a 1250-1500 word story in each genre and receive constructive feedback on everything you post.

The genres are the modern storytelling forms whose story patterns resonate deeply with the psyche of your readers. By exploring various genres, you will take your understanding of story and character to another level. 

Understanding different genres will dramatically improve your ability to create powerful characters and stories. The course will also push your writing and stories into new directions and emotional depths you may not have imagined possible.

If you are interested in doing the 10-Month Novel and Script First Draft Course Live or Online, the six-week course is an excellent opportunity to explore and develop characters and story ideas before embarking on the longer journey. They give writers the opportunity to explore characters and stories they might wish to take further and expand into a novel or screenplay.


  • Discover the power of genre and how to apply it to your stories
  • Learn tools and techniques that will develop your ability to create powerful characters and stories
  • Write a 1250-1500 word short story every ten days (four in total)
  • Receive constructive feedback using specialised templates on every story you post from your online tutor and other writers.
  • Keep your imagination alive and develop your writing skills
  • Stretch your boundaries as a writer by trying different writing styles you may have never considered
  • Develop a writing habit. This course will help you develop the autonomy and discipline you need to write stories on your own.

Many writers have been inspired by the characters and stories they have developed in this course and gone on to write longer pieces.


The first question most agents, editors and producers will ask you is - what genre is your story? Because that's where you'll find your story's emotional spine.

American writing teacher, John Truby, says, "Writers typically underestimate the importance of mastering genre. Genres aren't just systems for expressing certain themes. They are also strategies for storytelling"

And as Randy Ingermanson explains, creating an emotional reaction within a reader is the key to creating powerful fiction.

"Think about any of the major genres of fiction and you see that each packs some sort of emotional punch."

One of the ways genres set themselves apart from one another is that they each ask a different central question or force the hero/heroine to make a crucial decision.

For example:

  • Romance novels and erotica delivers a combination of love and lust as does any novel with a romantic thread.
  • Suspense novels,thrillers, action-adventure novels and horror fiction all deliver various flavours of fear.
  • Mysteries arouse a strong sense of curiosity and usually deliver a healthy dose of fear.
  • Historical novels,fantasy and science fiction all give the reader and experience of being "elsewhere."
  • General fiction and literary fiction can deliver any of the preceding emotions, along with a strong sense of feeling understood.




'I’ve completed the genre course and I loved it! I never thought I’d never be able to write comedy or fantasy, but I did! In the past it was hard for me to write more than a couple of hundred words, so imagine my wonder when I’m having trouble stopping after 1700 words. Words that magically form themselves into a story with a beginning, middle and end. The only problem is I don’t want the end to come, as my mind is a million miles away in its own cinematic fantasy.'
Verity Morris

'You might be interested to know I received awards in two short story competitions - one in NSW and the other in South Australia, with a story [The Horse Butcher's Son] based on the one I wrote in The Writers' Studio Genre Course [Week 2, Thriller.] Woman's Day also published T-Bar for Two , based on a story I wrote in the same Genre and Critique Course [Week 1, Love].'
Cynthia Rowe

The best and the worst thing about this course is that I didn’t want to stop writing. I don’t want to suppress my “writer-self” in favour of “the other life” for another day. I stopped doing housework, stopped working on my thesis, stopped caring about whether I end up with “Doctor” before my name, and various letters after it in two and a half years time, stopped caring about how much money I may or may not make as a clever but soulless academic in a toxic environment.The course may be over, but the writer in me is alive again.
Rochelle Bright 

It was so much fun to break through boundaries and preconceptions and discover I could write in genres I would never have attempted solo. Special thanks to Alex for his wonderful encouragement and feedback, and thank you too to all the writers who so generously shared their fabulous stories. It was very insightful to read and give feedback to other writers. I can really see why WS puts such an emphasis on this."
Nicola Conville, journalist


Roland Fishman has been a professional writer for over 30 years and has published three books, two of which were bestsellers. After working as a journalist and columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend and The Financial Review, he decided to dedicate his life to storytelling and the creative process as he believes writing fiction nourishes the spirit for both the writer and the reader.

He founded The Writers’ Studio in 1992 where he draws on his own career as a writer, as well as his experiences traveling around the world learning the art and craft of writing from best-selling authors and elite teachers. 

For nearly twenty years he has personally guided thousands of people through the creative process at The Writers’ Studio using his unique step-by-step process. He conducts all live courses and hand picks our dedicated online tutors to ensure you get the best possible guidance, support and instruction.

They will coach you, keep you inspired, accountable and on track, bringing out the best in your and your writing.