The Golden Rules for Writing a Great Short Story with Sunil Badami
Every story starts with a moment of inspiration — and a great opening sentence.
And the best short stories by masters like Anton Chekhov, Alice Munro, John Cheever, Lucia Berlin, Kelly Link or Raymond Carver can offer even more than life itself in their vivid and evocative writing and flawed, achingly human characters.
W. Somerset Maugham — also a pretty nifty short story writer — once quipped that “there are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, nobody seems to know what they are.”
But what if there were rules for writing the kind of short story you love reading, and others might too?
In a series of entertaining, engaging and enlightening workshops, writer, broadcaster and academic Sunil Badami will reveal his Golden Rules for Writing a Great Short Story, which he gleaned from some of the world’s best writers and tested by writing six short stories in six weeks — all of which were published in some of Australia’s most prestigious literary journals and anthologies.
You’ll not only learn these practical and applicable rules to write better short stories, but read some great examples of brilliant short story writing, go through a rigorous editing and workshopping process and get some insider tips on how to get your work published.
What to expect
Saturday 13 June
We’ll find out what makes a great story great, by talking about our favourite stories and writers, and looking at some excellent examples of great story writing.
We’ll talk about some of the problems and challenges with writing, and with our own writing, and what we hope to achieve from the workshop.
We’ll talk about what we think might be some good rules for writing short stories, and see how they might work or align to the Golden Rules, which we’ll start working through and seeing how they might apply to some of these great short stories, and we’ll start your creative juices flowing by doing some fun writing exercises.
We’ll also talk about how to write every day, what to expect when you write, and how to keep going when you’re too busy or just don’t feel any inspiration.
By the end of the session, you should enough inspiration or enough to start on from the writing exercises to start your own short story, drafts of which you’ll bring to our next session for workshopping.
Saturday 20 June
We’ll work on how to make our work not only more readable but more believable, by looking at scene, character, dialogue, gesture and backstory, and we’ll do some more fun writing exercises to work on these areas.
We’ll work on how to edit our work to make it more readable and compelling, as well as more publishable.
We’ll talk about our writing practice, and we’ll offer each other feedback on each other’s work.
By the end of the session, you should now have enough knowledge and craft to start editing your and others’ work.
Saturday 27 June
We’ll review each other’s work, and see how our stories have aligned to — or broken — the Golden Rules (don’t worry! Rules, especially in writing, are meant to be broken — but how did you find the Rules worked or didn’t work, or informed your own writing practice and craft? What would you do differently or better?)
We’ll talk about how to get your work published — how to pitch, where to pitch, and what length works for different outlets, what to do and not to do when pitching your work, and how to ensure that it has greater potential to be published. But we’ll also talk about how to cope with rejection and how to keep going in your writing career and practice.
By the end of the session, you’ll have written, edited and revised a great short story — or be on the way to finishing it — and know how to pitch your story to different outlets and journals, as well as keep on writing.
Who is it for
Intermediate to experienced — participants should have some writing practice (that is, they have endeavoured to write some kind of short or long fiction) — this is not teaching how to write a short story but how to write a better short story and how to keep writing and publishing.
Sunil Badami is a writer, broadcaster and academic. He has a Masters in Creative and Life Writing (Distinction) from the prestigious Goldsmiths College at the University of London, where he studied under acclaimed novelist, poet and critic Blake Morrison, as well as writers including Helen Simpson, Alan Bennett, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winner Aminatta Forna, Booker Prize winners Julian Barnes and Bernadine Evaristo, and Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro.
Sunil also has a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Technology, Sydney, where he teaches creative writing, film studies, digital literacy and other subjects.
In addition to being a literary critic for over 20 years, he’s a former Chair of a NSW Premier’s Literary Awards judging panel, former selection panellist and current Academy Member of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and a manuscript assessor and mentor for the Australian Society of Authors.
Sunil’s work has been published in every major Australian media outlet, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Guardian, The New Daily, The Monthly, The Drum Online, Art + Australia, Australian Gourmet Traveller and more, including prestigious literary journals Southerly, Island, Meanjin and Westerly, and his work has been anthologised in Australia and overseas, including in Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays.
He devised and hosted his own national radio show on ABC Radio, made a number of acclaimed documentaries for Radio National, and was Double J’s resident book critic. He has hosted segments for ABC TV’s The Mix and appeared regularly on The Drum.
After losing the novel he spent 13 years writing after his computer was stolen, Sunil ended up the last Grand Champion of long-running quiz show Temptation, and is currently editing that novel for publication. Find out more at http://sunilbadami.com/