The Art of the Short Story: From Idea to Draft in a Week

The Art of the Short Story: From Idea to Draft in a Week

A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage.
A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.”
– Lorrie Moore

Learn how to write short stories in the stunning surroundings of the Loire Valley in France.

Our Circle of Misse short story course, led by short story writer Annie Kirby, will help you develop your writing skills to meet the unique challenges of creating good short stories. Over the course of a week, Annie will walk you through the process of writing and editing a short story, from idea generation through to final editing.

In the mornings, Annie will lead group sessions covering key short story elements such as characterisation, plot, setting, voice, conflict and theme, considering the similarities and differences between using them in short and long fiction. The group sessions will include plenty of time for writing and experimenting with new techniques, as well as examining some famous short stories to see what can be learned from them.

In the afternoons, you will be able to devote your time to writing and editing your own short story, as well as attending regular one-to-one tutorial sessions with Annie for advice and feedback on your writing. There will also be at least one writing session away from the Circle of Misse house, allowing you time to write in one of the inspiring locations nearby.

By the end of the week, all participants will have written and edited at least one original short story. No experience of writing short stories is required, although if you do have a short story in progress which you feel needs further work, you are welcome to bring it with you to work on during the week.

About your course leader

Annie Kirby is The Art of the Short Story: From Idea to Draft in a Weekan award-winning short story writer and editor, who has published short stories in a number of anthologies including

Don’t Know A Good Thing,(ed. Kate Pullinger, Bloomsbury, 2006), Beta-Life: Short Stories from an A-Life Future (ed. Ra Page and Martyn Amos, Comma, 2014) and Thought X: Fictions and Hypotheticals (ed. Rob Appleby and Ra Page, Comma, 2017). Her fiction has been broadcast on Radio 4 and she curated and edited the Arts Council funded Writing Edward King short story project. Her short story “The Wing” won the 2005 Asham Award and her novel in progress was longlisted for the Mslexia Prize.


Course Date: 14-21 September 2019

Course Length: Starts late afternoon Saturday, finishes early Saturday morning (7 nights)

Schedule: Morning teaching sessions and one-to-one feedback sessions each day. Sessions include excursions to markets, chateaus and other adventures. Writing/free time in late afternoon/early evening each day.

Travel Details: Free pick-up (Saturday) and drop-off (Saturday) at:

  • Nantes Atlantique International Airport (You can arrive via plane or train). Full details here.
    • Pick-up 17:15
    • Drop-off 13:15

Meals & Drinks:  Breakfast, lunch & dinner each day, including wine & cocktails. Coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks and snacks available all the time.

Accommodation: Misse guest rooms have been designed to be the perfect writer’s space year-round: you’ll have comfort, quiet, privacy and a wonderful view over your surroundings. All of our guest rooms have en suite bathrooms. For more details see our rooms page.

Cost: £895  (includes EVERYTHING except travel to France). To secure a place a deposit of £300 is due at the time of booking; the balance is due 45 days before the course starts.