The Short Story: As Long as a Piece of String

The Short Story: As Long as a Piece of String

Who: Kerryn Goldsworthy
Sunday 30 July, 10am-4pm
Full Price: $180; Member: $125; Conc Member: $110

A short story is like a halfway point between a poem and a novel. This is true not only in terms of its length, but also in terms of its subject matter, content and writing technique. There are topics to explore and tales to tell that are best suited to the form of the short story – ones that require more space and clarity than a poem might allow, but that can’t successfully be expanded into a full-length novel. One of the things we will discuss in this workshop is the relationship between form and content, and the process of deciding whether the short story is the most suitable form for the thing you want to say or the story that you want to tell.

This workshop will place the short story form in some wider contexts: literary forms and genres, literary history, and some notable practitioners of the art. We will be doing practical exercises in aspects of fiction writing, including the early stages of planning and thinking about a short story, as well as exercises and discussion about such essential matters as plot, character, setting, structure and narrative voice. The program for the day will alternate on-the-spot writing exercises with discussions in which we look at the results of those exercises and the questions they bring up.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • increased familiarity with the short-story form, its history and its most notable practitioners
  • increased knowledge of story-writing techniques including structure, setting, characterisation and narrative voice
  • practical experience in working through the early stages of writing a story
  • input from the workshop about participants’ own writing skills and problems

Participant Requirements
Pen and paper. This is optional and purely voluntary: you may bring a paragraph (half a page or less) describing one particular problem (no more than one) that you are having in your own short-story writing practice. Describe the problem clearly so that you can read it out to the group, and we will workshop the problem and see if the group can solve it for you.

About the tutor
Kerryn Goldsworthy
is a freelance writer and critic who lectured in literature at the University of Melbourne for 17 years, specialising in creative writing and Australian literature and teaching courses on the short story. She has published a collection of short stories, North of the Moonlight Sonata, and has edited four anthologies of Australian short fiction. Her own short stories have been widely anthologised, notably in The Penguin Century of Australian Stories and The Oxford Book of Australian Short Stories. She was the inaugural chair of the judging panel for the Stella Prize, and is a regular fiction reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and Australian Book Review.


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