Course Information

Unlocking Creativity is a pre-requisite for this course and all 6-Week Intermediate courses.

Our three intermediate 6-Week Online Short Story courses are run only once per year

Course Details

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, the 6-Week courses are 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.

During the Course you will:

  • 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 fellow 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 Importance of Genre

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 delivers a combination of love and lust as does any novel with a romantic thread.
  • Suspense novels, thrillers, action-adventure, horror and fiction all deliver various flavours of fear.
  • Mysteries arouse a strong sense of curiosity and usually deliver a healthy dose of fear.
  • Historical novels, 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.

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’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
‘Before I did the Unlocking Creativity course I knew I loved to write creatively but had no idea how I might start to channel that into something like a novel. The course teaches the basics of storytelling in a really accessible and inspiring way. Things like the importance of sensory detail in scene setting, writing a character’s emotion and conflict on every page. ‘The techniques really worked for me and I’m still a little bit amazed I was able to write a book and have it published using them. I refer to the notes I took during Unlocking Creativity even Vanessa Stubbs
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
Short Story – Genre - Online

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