Course Information

Unlocking Creativity is a prerequisite for this course.

Our three Intermediate 6-Week Online courses are run only once per year. Read More >

The next Six-Week course is the Short Story Genre course.

Course Details

  • Explore and develop the characters you want to write about
  • Be introduced to the key elements of story structure
  • Develop a writing habit which will improve the quality of your work
  • Write up to two, 800 word short stories every ten days
  • Receive constructive targeted feedback from your online tutor on every story you post

Structural Elements you will Explore

“You might have the insights of Buddha, but if you can’t tell a story, your ideas will be as dry as dust. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement, to hold that involvement and ultimately reward it with a moving and meaningful experience.” Robert McKee

Structure and character are two sides of the same coin. One exists to reveal the other. Structure is the key to creating powerful stories and characters. It gives your writing shape and meaning and helps evoke emotion in your readers.

Some of the structural techniques you will learn during the course include:

  • Character Arc You will learn techniques to build a strong character arc into your stories. You will take your characters on a journey where they will change as a result of the structural challenges you force them to face.
  • Ghost All characters should have a past or a back story. You will learn how to flesh out a character by giving them a ghost or a history that drives them and your story giving both added depth and meaning.
  • Prison/Opening At the start of most good stories a character is trapped in a physical, emotional or spiritual prison which puts pressure on your character.
  • Challenges Learning how to challenge your key characters to crisis point will make your characters and writing come to life.
  • Worst Nightmare Readers and audiences are fascinated by characters forced to face their greatest fears, which brings out the best and worst in them.

Targeted Feedback on every Story you post

You will receive feedback from your personal tutor on every piece you post. They will identify what you communicated through your writing, what worked and what could be improved or done differently using our targeted feedback templates.

Our feedback templates are designed to inspire you, help you develop an understanding of the craft and take your writing to the next level.

You will also be expected to provide two pieces of feedback for other participants in the class for every piece you post. The first step to becoming a better writer is to become a better reader.

What Our Students Say

"I have just finished my last story for this course and already I miss the fact that I won’t be 'required' to write another story tomorrow. I have learnt so much about the importance of structure and how vital it is to tell a good story. You can have all the beautiful imagery and fascinating dialogue in the world but if it doesn’t go anywhere or doesn’t take your character on a journey, then what is the point? Giving and receiving feedback continued to be a source of enjoyment and inspiration. I really learnt a lot about my writing from Kylie Allen
I have just finished the Six Week Character & Critique Short Story Course - what an inspiring, fun and supportive experience it has been. The structure of the course and the whole set up with reading other people's work, commenting on it and providing and receiving feedback works like a charm. But the absolute best thing about the course was Andrew. I have never come across a talent such as his. His ability to delve into each text, really understand it - it's strengths and weaknesses as well as his ability to get close to each writer and understand exactly where they were Tamara Stojanovic
"The Online Character and Critique Short Story Course built beautifully on the blocks laid down by Unlocking Creativity. It was a great chance to explore my characters in scenarios where I normally couldn't see them - or wouldn't take them! But just as importantly I was able to let loose new characters and watch them run amok while anchored safely to some simple story telling principles." Amanda Robson
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 has been an interesting journey getting to know some of the characters lurking in my shadows a little better; some of them familiar to me, others a surprise. It can be a strange thing the internet course, a virtual classroom where personality and opinion are expressed through written word, The Matrix does exist. I found the shape of the course to be beneficial in allowing me to take a little step forward each and every time, with Andrew always giving positive reinforcement and tactful, constructive feedback, that I feel propelled my work forward over the last six weeks. The Sean Gallinetti
Character & Critique - Online

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