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Write That Story 2

Course Times & Enrolment

Tuesdays from 16th January 2024 (Code CW027-219) Tuesdays from
16th January 2024 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
LG47 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Colin Mortimer BA
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Always wanted to write short stories but can’t get started? Even if you are a complete beginner this course will stimulate you to write, using simple exercises and discussions to reveal techniques of storytelling from construction to creating characters. New students welcome.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Content of Course

This is a continuation of “Write that Story 1”. However, new members are welcome and are integrated into the group by, in the first few weeks, re-capping what was covered in “Write that Story 1”. The emphasis is on creating complete short stories, and in understanding more about the form, and its many possibilities. We strive to create a group which is relaxed, friendly so as to make people feel comfortable in sharing and discussing their work. This course looks in more detail at major components of the short story: scene, dialogue, character language:

1. Creating the Scene: grasping the totality of the scene and selecting the relevant details. How to create effective atmosphere. Learning what to leave out.

2. Dialogue: what is it, isn't it, what's happening underneath? Learning how to produce speech; how to move the story on through dialogue; how to create atmosphere, tension, character through dialogue.

3. Character: what is it? Developing ideas of character and how to effectively create character by means of dialogue, description and action.

Teaching method(s)

Class work will consist of exercises, discussion, and reading of work. No-one will be expected to be an actor and read their own stories aloud. Every week an assignment will be set: at first consisting of exercises, plans and outlines; later moving on to short stories. Each course member will be treated individually, as far as possible. All work will be commented on by the tutor in writing.

The typical lesson will consist of:

1. Readings of stories written. Analysis and discussion, particularly in the light of the technique being examined/practised;

2. Introduction of writing technique, with examples / class discussion;

3. An exercise to practice technique, individually, in pairs or groups;

4. Sharing of results of exercise: discussion in pairs or class.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Write a short story (in the individual style of each student).

  • Apply the rules or guidelines of story with greater confidence.

  • Use a vocabulary and analysis to judge their own and other people's work.

  • Demonstrate a greater understanding of the short story form.


Core Readings


  • Boyd,W  2006    Fascination: Stories. Vintage

  • Carver,R 2009 What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Vintage Classics

  • Carver, R., 2010   Beginners   Vintage

  • Vollmann,W  2014    Last Stories and Other Stories   Viking Books

  • Chekhov, A  2009    The Collected Short Stories of Anton Chekhov Halcyon Press Ltd

  • Wallace, D.F.  2001 Brief Interviews With Hideous Men  Abacus

  • Bukowski ,C  2008  Tales of Ordinary Madness      Virgin Books

  • Carey, P   2004        Collected Stories   Faber & Faber

  • Weldon, F 1998   Watching Me, Watching You. A collection of short stories. Coronet Books

  • King, S  2012   On Writing  Hodder Paperbacks

  • Boylan, C., ed., 1993. The Agony and the Ego. Penguin.

Web Sources 

Class Handouts

Where appropriate, handouts will be provided by the tutor during the course


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.