How to Write a Short Story in One Day: Short Story Factory at Shambellie House, June 2019

Could you write a short story in one day? Participants at our sell-out writing workshop were ready to give it a go! Read on to find out how they got on …

After a week of mixed weather, Saturday 1st June dawned bright and calm, ready for the first ever Short Story Factory workshop.

Shambellie House, as ever, provided an atmospheric and unique venue against the cloudy backdrop.

Myself and fellow tutor, Steph Newham, were excited to get going. The workshop, which sold out a few weeks in advance of the big day, began at 10am. We knew we had to get our writers working quickly if they were going to achieve their aim of constructing a short story within a day!

After introductions and an icebreaker, we got going on character development by trying to answer the question: who was missing at our table? Using our imagination, we spent time working individually and in pairs to decide who the “missing person” might be.

Each participant went down a completely different line as they each took the simple prompt and ran with it. There were alcoholics, emigrants and disgruntled friends galore!

Before we knew it, it was time for lunch. As well as being a fantastic place to write, Shambellie provides our workshop participants with peaceful gardens to explore.

How can you fail to be inspired while exploring these beautiful grounds?

After lunch, the group came back together to try a collaborative story. These are always good fun but I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced such a hilarious attempt! The resulting stories had us all in stitches and were a definite high point of the day.

After the laughter, it was back to work! With the help of a few extra prompts and a little guidance on plot and endings, everyone got to work on their short stories.

There was time to write and make notes – and Steph and myself, experienced and published writers, were always on hand to answer questions. Over the course of the afternoon, we had one-to-one chats on topics including plotlines, how to increase the tension in your story, and how to boost your self-confidence as a writer.

The day culminated with the opportunity to read out our short stories. And now the big question – how far did they get?

The results were excellent, with everyone having produced something which they were happy with. Some writers had produced a story beginning and had a clear idea of where it would go, while some had chosen to write chunks of their story which they would then join together in their own time – and, yes, some even managed to write a full first draft!

Myself and Steph were awed at the range and quality of stories produced. It was fantastic to get to hear the results, which included everything from unreliable narrators to amusing aliens!

At the end of the workshop, everyone expressed an interest in attending another date in the near future – myself and Steph included!

Watch this space … we are in the midst of talks regarding a July date, as well as a possible series of workshops in the autumn. Please get in touch if you would like to be added to our waiting list.

Thank you to everyone who attended. What a fantastic day – we couldn’t have done it without your enthusiasm, good natures and imagination!

Thanks also go, as ever, to Shambellie House and to John and Gordon for hosting another of our workshops. We can’t wait to come back in the near future.

And a final thanks to you for reading this post!

To keep up to date with future workshops, please follow this blog and the Kerrie McKinnel – Writer Facebook page.

Until the next time!

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