Workshop: The Short Story Writer’s Starter Kit with Jan Carson

Time and date

Monday 15 July 2024

3 days

9:30 am

2:30 pm

This workshop will run from Monday 15 to Wednesday 17 July, from 9.30am to 2.30pm each day with two breaks built in to each day.

This lively, interactive and incredibly practical workshop will equip you with everything you need to begin or continue your journey with the short story. Combining discussion, writing exercises and teaching drawn from Jan’s own experience participants can expect to explore all the components of the short story including character development, plot, structure, voice, editing and much more. Over the course of the sessions they’ll have a chance to develop and write their own short story, learn how to give and receive helpful editorial feedback on a work in progress and consider the importance of reading in terms of developing writing practice. Jan will also offer hard learnt advice on the publishing process. This workshop is suitable for both beginner writers and those keen to reinvigorate their writing practice.

Max: 15 participants


P75 NY51

Admission: €230


Day One


Form and Practice


  • We’ll look at the various definition of the short story and discuss how the story differs from other literary forms.
  • We’ll think about what sort of writer we are, exploring how we can best shape our writing practice to make the most of our time, resources, experiences and imagination. We’ll talk honestly about creative burnout and how to maintain enthusiasm for writing.
  • We’ll think about reading as a writer, specifically looking at some great short story writers and the kind of lessons we can learn from their work.




  • We’ll think about what makes a character memorable.
  • We’ll talk about where characters come from, how to draw on our own experiences both lived and learnt and how to do this ethically.
  • We’ll thinking about the different layers which every character has and how to hold these in tension so characters are believable on the page.
  • We’ll explore ways in which to find a characters’ voice and ensure their thought life and dialogue is both convincing and believable.


Day Two


Plot, Pacing and Structure.


  • We’ll think about imagination and how to identify the creative shape of a story. We’ll explore ways in which to seek out story inspiration in our everyday lives.
  • We’ll find out what plot is, where it comes from and how it can be used to best serve your characters.
  • We’ll think about how best to structure a story.
  • We’ll talk about writing into a story to discover what it wants to be, learning from our mistakes and false turns.
  • We’ll discover creative ways to include exposition which feel natural and enhance rather than slow down the story’s pace.
  • We’ll talk about tension and pacing; how to maintain your reader’s interest throughout the whole story and discover its natural shape.
  • We’ll learn how to identify the best point at which to enter and leave and story and think about why beginnings and endings matter so much.



Day Three




  • We’ll take a close look at sentences and discover how short stories succeed or fail on a sentence by sentence level.
  • We’ll look at some key common mistakes which writers make in early drafts and learn how to both identify and correct these.
  • We’ll learn how to take off the writer’s hat and edit objectively as a reader.
  • We’ll look at how a story can be enhanced by a tight edit and how this isn’t something to be afraid of.
  • We’ll practice giving and receiving helpful editorial feedback on each other’s work.


What Next?


  • We’ll think about where we might place our writing and discuss opportunities for publication.
  • We’ll talk about how to best present a short story when submitting it.
  • We’ll find out a little more about the publishing industry and how to navigate it without losing our enthusiasm for writing.


Jan Carson

Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast. She has published three novels, three short story collections and two micro-fiction collections. Her novel The Fire Starters...

Read More
Arts Council - funding traditional arts
Cork County Council
Pure Cork