Writing Fiction


Woman thinking about what she is going to writeOverview:
This course allows you to practise writing fiction. Along the way, you will learn technical aspects of the craft and examine what makes successful fiction work.

You will write and write and develop your own voice. Become part of a close-knit group and receive constructive feedback on your draft work.

Pre-course activity:
Attached to your enrolment confirmation email will be a PDF document with a welcome message from Susan Pearce, two published short stories to read, and a writing exercise to complete before the first session.

Course materials:
A course workbook is provided at the first session. You will also receive a notebook and pen to use.

You will need:

  • Bravery
  • Time each week for writing and reading
  • An email address that you are willing to share with other course participants
  • Access to an electronic device outside of class time to share stories via email.

Target audience:
Anyone who wants to write fiction, whether they are a practiced writer or a beginner, will love this course.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will have:

  • discerned how successful writers have constructed their narratives, using well-crafted examples of short stories
  • learned many ways to kick-start your own writing 
  • germinated and grown story ideas
  • submitted three new stories or chapters to the class for feedback
  • collaborated to constructively responded to your colleagues’ writing
  • identified the technical aspects of writing and practised editing your own work.

Course outline:
Session 1: Introductions, in-class writing exercises, workshop guidelines, and discussion of writing prompts.

Sessions 2–8: Each class starts with a writing exercise from a prompt on the board. This is followed with an examination of published fiction. The group will discuss the writing of five students who will have submitted their work the previous week. You will also talk about technical aspects of the craft.

You each have three opportunities for the class to comment on your work. You will learn as much or more from discussing others’ work as you do from discussing your own.

Susan will provide you with extensive feedback on your stories during group workshops and will write a detailed assessment on one story you’ve chosen.

You will need to set aside at least 6 – 8 hours, on top of class time, for reading and writing between classes.

Tea and coffee are provided at the start of each session. You are welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Class limit:
The course is limited to a maximum of 12 participants, so please enrol early.

Susan Pearce is the author of Acts of Love (Victoria University Press, 2007) and has published short stories in various journals. She is a former teacher of the Short Fiction course at the International Institute of Modern Letters.

“This was my first attempt at creative fiction. The presenter, Susan Pearce, was extremely helpful. I really enjoyed the course and learned a huge amount”, Writing Fiction (2018)

“Susan was an excellent tutor and I really enjoyed the way she organized the classes and taught the subject”, Writing Fiction (2018)

“This course really encouraged me to experiment with language again and to enjoy writing for its own sake. The readings were well selected and class sessions balanced writing and discussion time”, Writing Fiction (2018)

Relevant links:
International Institute of Modern Letters

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email: conted@vuw.ac.nz

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.