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Short Story Writing with Rebecca Lloyd

Summary:  Short Story Writing with Rebecca Lloyd     
Type:  One to One Email Correspondence.
Duration:  10 weeks.
Fee:  £300  

About the course

Topics covered include:
    Covering: exposition, overuse of adjectives, over and under-use of characters’ names, use of awkward words, cliché in phrase and dialogue, using jokes, addressing the reader, use of parenthesis, unnecessary expletives, main characters and readers’ empathy, ‘detail anxiety’, changing POV, too many characters, long fight scenes. (One exercise on cliché).
    Characteristics of un-edited work, what does editing mean, and how do you learn it? The importance of editing skills in short story writing, a system for approaching editing, Over-editing. (Three exercises).
    Elements of good dialogue, what to avoid in dialogue, point of view: the use of third person, (intimate and remote), first person. (Three exercises).
    Tips on building a strong character: keeping psychology and dialogue consistent for your character, using description, subtle ways of developing a character, engaging the empathy of the reader. (Three exercises).
    What novel writing allows the writer to achieve: (different points of view, many characters, complex plot), what defines a short story? Common problems with short stories: (‘ordinariness’, MC too boring, slow beginnings, lesser character more interesting than MC, overlong time spans, story lacking credibility). (One exercise, two games).
    Literary versus non-literary stories, the short story’s relationship to poetry, use of flashback, metaphor and symbolism in story writing, juxtaposing the different scenes, ‘theme’ in short story writing. (No exercises).
    How to destroy the shape of a short story, getting the right level of setting, character and plot: (‘what do I want the reader to think, feel and reflect upon?’), pouring a story onto a page, balancing different elements to create the shape of the story, more on points of view. (Two exercises).
  • 8.STYLE
    What is style?, wordiness, exposition, active and passive verbs, the writer’s ‘voice’, imitating other writers, the unfinished sentence, ‘stream of consciousness’ and ‘inspiration’, obscure words and phrases, the sounds that words make.
    How to deal with rejections, how to keep track of your work, terms publishers use, getting the timing right, word number and page format, response time, knowing where to place your work, when to withdraw it, online magazines, anthologies.
    Avoiding clumsy tags in dialogue, changing point of view, extra copies, first paragraphs and titles, finding material, reading, rejections, sending submissions, starting new stories, throwing work away, different uses of dialogue in story writing.
About the Tutor

Rebecca Lloyd writes short stories and novels. Her stories are dark and strange and many of them have been published in literary magazines and anthologies. She won the Bristol Prize 2008 for her story The River and her short story collection Don’t Drink the Water was a semi-finalist in the Hudson Prize 2010 while her novel Under the Exquisite Gaze was shortlisted in the Dundee International Book Prize. Her children’s novel, Halfling, was published by Walker Books in 2011. She is co-editor, with Indira Chandrasekhar, of Pangea an Anthology of Stories from Around the Globe, published by Thames River Press in 2012, and developmental editor of The Female Ward by Debalina Haldar, published by Thames River Press in 2013. She had two short story collections published in 2014, Mercy by Tartarus Press and The View From Endless Street by WiDo Publishing and a third collection Whelp and Other Stories was a finalist in the Paul Bowles Short Fiction Award 2014.

Most of her stories are about misfits bewildered by life’s expectations and trapped in their own limitations. Some of the stories could be described as psychological horror and others as magic realism, but together they do not fall clearly into any established genre. They belong in the space between normality and the unknown territory that lies below. What interests her most is the inventive ways we deal with what life throws at us, and the ability many of us have to slip between our invented worlds and the shared world, as if travelling back and forth down a long worn path.

Rebecca has taught fiction writing one to one and in groups for some years and above all else her advice to new writers is that you’ve got to dare to do it, be disciplined enough to do it, and do it every day without fail at some level or other.

Comments by Rebecca's pupils

"During ten short weeks I came to understand much more about the technique of short story writing and was able to identify and resolve problems in my own writing, especially in terms of building characters, dialogue, point of view and exposition. The course felt very direct and intimate: the privilege of a one-on-one class with an excellent teacher whom I felt that I came to know, despite the supposed anonymity of the internet. I would thoroughly recommend this course and my only sadness is that it ended so quickly.
Rebecca is a regular contributor to WriteWords and site expert, a.k.a. Becca
View Becca's WW profile.