In the Beginning: Starting Your Short Story with Ian C. Douglas

In the Beginning: Starting Your Short Story with Ian C. Douglas

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All fiction starts off as an idea. But how do you develop your idea into a short story? This course shows you how!

About this event

That burst of inspiration may shine in the minds-eye, but many writers find putting it down on paper is another matter. A frequent writer’s complaint is running out of energy and interest. If writing is a journey, it is easy to get lost somewhere along the way. This course looks at strategies for starting your short fiction. The evening will round off with tips for submitting short stories for publication.

This workshop will explore strategies for developing your creativity into short fiction. For example, inspiration and where to find it, building on ideas, planning and goal-setting, conflict, and plot. This will include narrative structure and how this can shape your writing. Lastly, some dos and don'ts of submitting your work to magazines and other publication outlets will be shared.

The course will be a mix of PowerPoint presentation, pair work and if time, writing practice. Participants are welcome to bring in their writing and there may be time to work on it.

This will suit newly-emerging writers and anyone who wants to write short fiction and would like some input on getting started.

Participants may also wish to join the follow-up workshop ‘The End: How to Finish Your Short Story’ which takes place on October 27th. There will be a special bundle price for both.

Throughout this course you will...

  • Learn strategies for developing ideas into short stories.
  • Understand narrative structure and how to apply to your own fiction.
  • Become aware of common short story mistakes, such as poor conflict.
  • Build confidence to share your own writing.
  • Learn more about routes to publication.

About Ian C. Douglas...

Ian C Douglas is author of the award-winning middle-grade Zeke Hailey novels. As a prolific short-story writer, over 30 of his short stories have either been published or won competitions. Recent credits include the Gravity Award 2021 and ‘The Curse of the Were-Spider.’

His short fiction is mostly for adults and in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. However, his travel memoirs also see publication, with one BBC newsreader confessing Ian’s backpacking adventure moved her to tears. On top of this, Ian writes commercial short fiction, with over 15 stories published in China. In 2014 he contributed to the graphic anthology ‘Dead in the Water’ which was nominated for two Eisner awards.

Ian’s workshops are informed by his MA in Creative Writing (Distinction) and his background in Education.

Book your place...

Tickets cost £12 for NWS Members and £15 for general admission.

There is a special bundle price of £20 for NWS Members, and £25 for general admission for those who book on this course and its corresponding course 'The End: How to Finish Your Short Story.'

Book your place, or to find out more about joining NWS, head to our membership page.


This workshop will be delivered online via Zoom. A link with access instructions will be emailed to you shortly before the workshop is due to start.

If you have any questions about using Zoom, please email us at

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