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How to Write a Short Story

Writing Creative Fiction Picture
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Course Description


If you're a reader and thought you might like to try your hand at short story writing but just don't know how to get started, this course will help!
We'll take you through the entire process…preparing your mind, getting ideas on paper, and help you through the editing and proofing process. You'll learn new skills, and find new ways to express yourself.
As you advance through this course, you're going to learn the correct way to write a short story.  More than that, you're going to learn the aspects of every good short story as well as learn how to create your own wonderful works!
Amateur short story writers try to write their stories like miniature novels. Their stories read as either an excerpt or a condensed novel. Unfortunately, undisciplined writers do not write short stories that are complete. They overlook the fundamentals--such as--what sets the short story apart from a novel, and why one can never be substituted for the other. 

This course will show you how to write effectively and creatively. So join us today! And let's write some short stories that people will want to read!
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Instructor Support
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
IACET Accredited Provider
Universal Class, Inc. has been approved as an Accredited Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). In obtaining this approval, Universal Class, Inc. has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is widely recognized as the Standard of good practice internationally. As a result of their Accredited Provider status, Universal Class, Inc. is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its courses that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

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Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating: (1661 votes)
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"Extraordinarily Helpful"
  • Lesson 1: The Differences between a Short Story and a Novel

    To write short stories it's important that one have a good understanding of what one is and how they differ from novels. This lesson examines in detail what they are and how they differ from and novels.
  • Lesson 2: Starting a Short Story

    While novels may have lengthy introductions with background information, short stories do not. With short stories you need to jump right in and work to advance the plot. This lesson explores all the ins and outs of starting a short story.
  • Lesson 3: Writing a Catchy First Paragraph

    The first paragraph of a short story is the biggest determining factor as to whether or not the reader will continue reading or not. This lesson looks at what goes into writing a great opening paragraph.
  • Lesson 4: Developing Characters

    While a strong opening to a short story is essential, the characters are the glue that hold it together. In this lesson you will learn about what should go into developing a character.
  • Lesson 5: Choosing a Point of View and Tense

    The point of view your story will take is an important factor. This lesson explains the differences in points of view and tenses and when it's appropriate to use each of them.
  • Lesson 6: Dialogue

    Dialogue is one of the most important and interesting things that goes on in a short story. But how do you write it correctly? This lesson looks at the rules of writing good dialogue.
  • Lesson 7: Setting, Context, and Plot

    In this lesson you will learn about how to go about writing the setting, context, and plot of the story. A lot of what you have learned so far starts coming together with this lesson.
  • Lesson 8: Conflict and Tension

    Conflict and tension are key elements to any short story. This lesson breaks down and explains the rules of how to use it in writing short stories.
  • Lesson 9: Building to a Climax

    All good short stories must build to a climax. This lesson explains what the climax is and when it's ideal to reach it.
  • Lesson 10: The Resolution

    This lesson focuses on the resolution to the conflict in the short story. It covers what it is and how it's used.
  • Lesson 11: Tips for Writing Your Short Stories

    This lesson covers information about writing short stories, finding fresh ideas, and finding a market to get them published.
  • 24 Answers Every Writer Should Know

    24 Answers Every Writer Should Know

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: How to Write a Short Story
Course Number: 7550283
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: How To
CEU Value: 1.1 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Melissa Behrend
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $65.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $90.00

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Compare and contrast the differences between a short story and a novel.
  • Demonstrate writing techniques that start a short story.
  • Describe ways to write a catchy first paragraph.
  • Summarize ways to develop characters.
  • Describe how to choose a point of view and tense.
  • Demonstrate how to properly write dialogue.
  • Define setting, context, and plot.
  • Identify conflict and tension.
  • Build a climax.
  • Demonstrate writing out the resolution, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
An IntroductionAssignment5
Lesson 1 Assignment: The Short StoryAssignment20
Lesson 1: The Differences between a Short Story and a NovelExam8
Lesson 2 Assignment: CharactersAssignment20
Lesson 2: Starting a Short StoryExam8
Lesson 3 Assignment: Show, Don't TellAssignment20
Lesson 3: Writing a Catchy First ParagraphExam8
Lesson 4 Assignment: Good CharactersAssignment20
Lesson 4: Developing CharactersExam7
Lesson 5 Assignment: Simple TenseAssignment20
Lesson 5: Choosing a Point of View and TenseExam10
Lesson 6 Assignment: Writing DialogueAssignment30
Lesson 6: DialogueExam10
Lesson 7 Assignment: What's the plot?Assignment20
Lesson 7: Setting, Context, and PlotExam8
Lesson 8 Assignment: ConflictsAssignment20
Lesson 8: Conflict and TensionExam10
Lesson 9 Assignments: The ClimaxAssignment20
Lesson 9: Building to a ClimaxExam8
Lesson 10 Assignment: The ResolutionAssignment20
Lesson 10: The ResolutionExam8
Lesson 11 Assignment: Short Story WritingAssignment40
Lesson 11: Tips for Writing Your Short StoriesExam10
Total Points:350

Student Testimonials

  • "I found the whole course helpful, but I think one of the most helpful part was the lesson on "Showing not Telling"" -- Eric B.
  • "This course gave me a structure to follow and because of this I gained more confidence and definitely more clarity in my writing. The instructor was pleasant and immediately responsive. What was most helpful to me was the additional reading material that reinforced what the lesson was about and other sites that will be helpful for a long time. The structure was great and the feedback helpful as well." -- Beverly H.
  • "The instructor was very supportive, and downright inspiring!" -- Tyrone R.
  • "All parts were helpful. Identifying the parts of the short story or rather the components of a short story." -- Patricia L.
  • "The assignments challenged me to apply the information presented in each lesson. I also appreciated the exams. This course helped me to develop a good foundation for short story writing by explaining the basic information that every writer should know. I am now very confident that I have the right foundation for future writing projects." -- Sherma C.
  • "What was most helpful was the thoroughness of it all." -- Cynthia S.
  • "I found the lessons to be very helpful, very well written." -- Rebecca J.
  • View More Testimonials...

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