Literary Short and Flash Fiction

Welcome to the Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course at NZ Writers College.

Have you always loved writing stories, and wish you could become a published writer? In this course, we teach you all the writing tools you need to write short stories, and share some tips to help you get them published in literary print and online journals. You will receive feedback on 10 writing assignments, including eight pieces of fiction you write during the course, from well known, award-winning writers.

During this course we'll examine:

  • How to set up good writing habits
  • How to create convincing characters
  • The structure and plot of a good short story
  • How to write realistic dialogue
  • How the point of view affects your story
  • How to write flash fiction
  • Editing your own work before submitting it
  • Where to send stories for publication, both local and international


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

Megan Frith, Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course



Course Details:


Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Cost: $ 995.00 GST inclusive
  • Modules: 10 Modules
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace: between six and twelve months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round via our website
  • 10 writing exercises  (assessment and feedback on each); of which six are full short stories of 1500 words each, and two pieces of flash writing of 500 words each.
  • Basic writing skills are essential
  • Students must be proficient in the English Language
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • No previous tertiary qualification required


Tutor for this course:

Sonny Whitelaw has enjoyed a successful career as a writer for more than thirty years.  She won a Draco Award for her first novel, The Rhesus Factor and all eight of her novels including five based on the television series, Stargate, have been international bestsellers. Read more here.


Course Curriculum


Module 1 - An Introduction to the Short Story

  • What is a short story?
  • Getting started
  • Getting into a routine
  • Battling writer’s block
  • Some writing tips

Module 2 - 10 Basic Tools for Creative Writers

  • Use Anglo Saxon not Latinate words
  • Show Don’t Tell
  • Use the Active Voice
  • Cut adverbs, and replace with stronger verbs
  • Point of View
  • The three components of Creative Writing
  • Writing action – reducing stage directions
  • Writing Descriptions – be specific.
  • Writing Dialogue
  • How to pace your writing using action, description and dialogue

Module 3 - Characterisation

  • Character-driven writing
  • Types of characters
  • Knowing your characters
  • Presenting characters
  • The importance of the “back story”
  • The importance of the right name

Module 4 - Writing Dialogue

  • The function of dialogue
  • Writing believable dialogue
  • Starting your story with dialogue
  • Writing authentic dialogue
  • The use of “said”
  • Using slang and dialect effectively
  • Using silence as part of the dialogue
  • How to convey thoughts

Module 5 - Choosing your Point of View

  • Writing from First Person POV
  • Writing from the Second Person POV
  • Writing from Third Person POV

Module 6- The Plot

  • What is a Story Plot?
  • Key Elements of Plot
  • Various Plot Patterns
  • The Twist in the Tale
  • Sourcing Ideas for Plots

Module 7- Structure, Setting and Style

  • The definition of ‘structure’ in a story
  • Structural devices to add interest
  • Writing style: Using metaphors for maximum impact
  • How settings can define your story. Or not.

Module 8 - Effective Editing

  • Why edit?
  • The importance of the word count
  • Lean and mean is good
  • Tying up the loose ends

Module 9 - Flash Fiction

  • What is flash fiction?
  • Key elements of flash writing
  • Where to submit flash fiction

Module 10 - Publishing Your Story

  • Breaking the rules
  • Outlets for literary work
  • Literary Competitions
  • Self publishing



“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.”

Marie Champion, Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course




How does the course work?


The course consists of ten modules. Detailed class notes covering the content of each module are e-mailed to students.

At the end of each module, students will be required to complete a writing exercise. In total, the course includes 10 writing exercises of which six are full short stories of 1500 words each and two pieces of flash writing of 500 words each.

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 module will be considered complete. The next module will then be e-mailed to the student.

Please note: Assignments should be returned as attachments, not in the body of the e-mail.


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 writing tasks
  • The course must have been completed within 12 months of registration.
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course

Minimum Estimated Time Commitment:


There is no research required for this course, just planning and writing. The speed at which you work is entirely up to you. After studying the modules, the exercises should take between half an hour and two hours to complete. A completed story could take longer.

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



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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.

Contact Us

Nichola Meyer or Koos Turenhout

Phone:      +64 9 550 4635

9-5 Monday to Friday

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