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How to Write a Short Story for Beginners

Learn the basics of writing a short story: setting up the beginning, muddling through the middle, and completing the dreaded ending.
Janelle Fila
888 total reviews for this teacher
170 reviews for this class
Completed by 936 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.
year olds
learners per class


Charged upfront
Meets once
60 minute class

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Class Experience

Students will discuss the basics of short story writing from beginning, middle, to end. We'll talk about good characters, obstacles and solutions, and discuss how to finish! We will read examples from the picture books CAN I BE YOUR DOG? by Troy Cummings, SPARKLE BOY by Leslea Newman, and GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE DINOSAURS by Mo Willems. Students will get a chance to share how these ideas relate to their own characters as well.  
Writing short stories is hard, so I'm happy to talk about this challenging task! I have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults and my short stories have won placed in writing contests and appeared in Word Hotel. I lead discussion type classes. I hope students have questions and believe they learn best when they contribute to the conversation. 
No outside homework. Students are encouraged to participate in class discussion. 
I will provide examples of writers who achieve the principles we discuss for the students' reference.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
After we've discussed our examples, students are encouraged to come up with their own character and share what that character wants, what obstacles are in their way, and possible solutions to that obstacle. Students can ask questions about their own work and discuss how these principles pertain to ideas they might already have. 
1 hour per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
One of the story examples the students will read/hear is SPARKLE BOY by Leslea Newman. In this story, it is a very easy for readers to see what the main character wants (to wear sparkly things), the obstacles he might face (being bullied, made fun of) and how he might overcome that (ask the bully to stop, stand up for himself). I chose this book because it is a good example of the writing style and structure I am teaching the students about. However, it does address gender rules and roles that may not  be appropriate for all children. Please take that into consideration when signing up for this class. Thank you! 


Janelle FilaLet's have some fun together!
888 total reviews
752 completed classes

About Me

I have a Master's degree in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults, so I teach reading and writing classes. I worked as a substitute teacher for 3 years, in all age ranges and subject levels. 
This experience taught me that most kids enjoy... 
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