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Advanced Short Story Writing


Welcome to the Advanced Short Story Writing Course at NZ Writers College.

Do you love writing short stories, and wonder what the next step is for further developing your craft? 

Our Advanced Short Story Writing Course is designed to help you write a collection of short stories for a personal anthology, tutored by multi-award-winning authors, Alex Smith and Andrew Salomon.

If, like many writers, you require the support and feedback of a mentor, then this challenging course provides 12 to 24 months of expert mentoring and support. There is no theoretical component to this course; it is structured entirely around the stories that you write and develop in response to feedback. Notes will be given regarding compiling and formatting an anthology.

Please note that this course is only open to successful graduates of our Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course. However, we may take on other students based on the merits of their short story writing.

Assignments consist of eight text installments with feedback, and four read-throughs of edits. While not compulsory, one of the stories should be entered into a short story competition, and if you choose to create a personal anthology of your work, a final review will also be given. You will also submit a review of an anthology or collection you have read.



“I liked the fact there were many opportunities to write stories. Having completed the course, I'm glad I picked this one from the many on offer.”

Megan Frith, Literary Short Story and Flash Fiction Course



Course Details:


Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Assignments: 14 Tasks
  • Supporting notes for assignments
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace between 12 and 24 months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round
  • 8 short stories of between 1 500 and 5 000 each  (assessment and feedback on each)
  • 4 sessions for editing and reworking
  • 1 Anthology/ collection review
  • 1 session on formatting and arranging your personal anthology (optional)
  • Enter one story into a competition (optional)
  • Student Feedback
  • Students should be a graduate of the Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course. We may consider students who have not previously completed a course with us. Acceptance on to the course would be based on the merits of your writing.
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required


Tutors for this course:

Alex Smith

Alex Smith is the author of five novels, Algeria's Way, Drinking from the Dragon's Well,  Four Drunk Beauties and Devilskein & Dearlove all published by Random House (Umuzi) and Agency Blue published by Tafelberg. Drinking from the Dragon's Well was long-listed for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. Agency Blue  won a Sanlam Youth Literature Award. Four Drunk Beauties, which has been translated into Turkish, won the Nielsen Booksellers' choice award and Devilskein & Dearlove is nominated for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal in the UK. More about Alex here>

Andrew Salomon’s Young Adult Novel The Chrysalis was published by Oxford University Press and his latest novel, the fantasy thriller Tokoloshe Song will be published by Random House Umuzi in 2014. Andrew was shortlisted for the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award, twice shortlisted for the Science Fiction and Fantasy SA Short Story Competition, and was one of the winners of the PEN/Studzinski Literary Award for African Fiction. You can read more about Andrew here>


Course Curriculum


Task 1 - Submit first story: 1 500 to 2 000 words with feedback. Submit initial idea for the theme of your collection (optional)Time to complete one month

Task 2 - Submit next story: 1 500 to 2 000 words with feedback. Time to complete one month

Task 3 - Submit next story: 2 000 to 3 000 words with feedback. Time to complete one month

Task 4 - Submit next story: 2 000 to 3 000 words with feedback. Time to complete one month

Task 5 - Submit next story: 2 000 to 3 000 words with feedback. Time to complete one month

Task 6 - Submit next story: 2 000 to 3 000 words with feedback. Submit a review of a collection or anthology that you have read. Start researching a short story competition to enter one of your stories into (optional). Time to complete one month

Task 7 - Submit next story: 3 000 to 5 000 words with feedback. Time to complete one month

Task 8 - Submit final story: 3 000 to 5 000 words with feedback. Time to complete one month

Task 9 - Edit and re-work first two stories and submit. Edits clearly tracked. Time to complete one month

Task 10 - Edit and re-work next two stories and submit. Edits clearly tracked. Time to complete one month

Task 11 - Edit and re-work next two stories and submit. Edits clearly tracked. Time to complete one month

Task 12 - Edit and re-work final two stories and submit. Edits clearly tracked. One story to be ready for submission to a competition (optional). Time to complete one month

Task 13 & 14 - Final draft of collection, layout and title (including considerations for your introduction). This is optional if you have chosen to compile a personal anthology.




How does the course work?

The course consists of 14 tasks. Once the writing assignment has been completed, and e-mailed to the lecturer, an assessment and feedback will be sent to the student, and the task will be considered complete. The next task will then commence.

The course is considered complete once all eight stories have been submitted, critiqued, edited and compiled into an anthology.


Conditions of Certification:

Students will receive an NZ Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Students must have completed all assignments
  • The course must have been completed within 24 months of registration.
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course

Minimum Estimated Time Commitment:

The speed at which you work is entirely up to you. We would estimate that each story would take at least five hours to write and polish. To get one story up to publishable standard may take between 20 and 30 hours per story. This would include several rewrites by the student.

Need more advice about the best course for you?

We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our writing courses.

If you need some advice about the best course or writing field for you, drop us a line or give Koos or Nichola a call at 09 550 4635. We can tell you about going rates in the field, chance of publishing success and general writing career options both in New Zealand and internationally.

  • If you have questions about how we work, we have information in our FAQ section and How We Train section.
  • If you want to pay off your course fee, please read the information here.
  • For information on our refund policy, please read our policies here.
  • To register for the course, please click here:

Click here to enrol


Feedback on from past students

“My tutor was amazing. She was very prompt with her feedback and marking, And very clear in her feed forward. I highly recommend this course to anybody who needs the motivation to begin writing.” Victoria Hathaway, Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course

“I liked the fact there were many opportunities to write stories. Having completed the course, I'm glad I picked this one from the many on offer. My tutor was very clear in her explanations, which I appreciated. Her comments were not restricted to course content either. If she spotted something in a story that didn't ring true she'd raise it. It was great to get that sort of feedback. She was also super-quick with returning module assessments and sent through an extremely comprehensive report at the end of the course. I loved it. I would not hesitate to enrol on another course!” Megan Frith, Literary Short Story and Flash Fiction Course

“The course was demanding enough for my writing to rapidly improve, which I am grateful for. The tutor provided a supportive role, which was important. She was very knowledgeable and definitely not a walk-over. She also introduced me to a wide range of new authors and ways of writing. The Writers’ College offers a great way to learn in a time and cost-efficient way.” Faeeza Ballim, Literary Short Story and Flash Fiction Course

“This course has given me much confidence and a good understanding of what I still need to work on, especially the editing and keeping to a routine. While completing the modules and assignments I still had time to get on with writing my own short stories. I received valuable feedback and comments from my tutor; she was a dedicated reader that steered me in the right direction. So, although the real work starts now, I feel much more positive that I am progressing in the right direction even more so as English is not my first language. It was an invaluable experience.” Marie Champion, The Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course

“I thoroughly enjoyed each course module and looked forward to the next! I am sorry it has now finished. It's been challenging and I have learnt a lot. The collection of notes will make very good reference material for my future work. My tutor Alex was very warm, positive and encouraging. I never doubted for a moment that she knew what she was talking about when it came to writing; her feedback made sense particularly in the context of the module. I was very happy with her. This course opened up and clarified a lot of areas in writing I had been struggling with. It gave me a great opportunity to write and just keep writing. The 10 modules in 12 months allowed plenty of time to work at my own pace. The tougher the module the more satisfying it was to complete it! It was a challenging and instructive course full of useful examples from great authors.” Emma Shaw, Literary Short and Flash Fiction

“It was a concise and thorough course; I learnt a huge amount. I have done three courses with the Writers’ College now and realise I have barely scraped the surface of what I need to do and the journeys I have to go on to become a vaguely useful writer. I never anticipated how challenging flash fiction would be so I would like to do more. Alex rocks; she is calm and collected, which is necessary because I reckon new writers are terribly nervous and emotionally immature about their work. We are like toddlers: we need to be guided into maturity with patience and encouragement. She has a very classical eye which balanced out my tendency to want to break the bank, and in the end, I think that yin-yang was good for my writing. She was professional and a pleasant lady too. I’ll be back to sign up for another course.”  Eleanor Talbot, Literary Short Story & Flash Fiction Course


More Testimonials Here


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About Us

NZ Writers College is a leading online writing school in New Zealand.

We offer specialised, online writing courses tutored by award-winning writers. Get the writing tools you need, expert insider advice and hours and hours of writing practice. Work one-to-one with a professional writer and realise your writing dreams.



NZ Writers College offers online writing classes all over New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. We have students from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Whangarei, Rotorua, Hastings, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, as well as Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, Australia.

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Nichola Meyer or Koos Turenhout

Phone:      +64 9 550 4635

9-5 Monday to Friday

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