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Literary Short and Flash Fiction


Welcome to the Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course at SA 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 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:

  • Modules: 10 Modules
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace within 12 months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round
  • 10 writing exercises  (assessment and feedback on each)
  • 6 are for full-length stories of 1500 words each
  • 2 pieces of flash writing of 500 words each
  • Student Feedback
  • 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


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


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 - Editing your Story

  • Avoiding repetition
  • The importance of the word count
  • How to cut for maximum impact
  • 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 - How to Submit Stories for Publication

  • Where to submit short stories online and in literary publications
  • How to submit a story
  • Literary Competitions




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.


Conditions of Certification:

Students will receive an SA 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 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 a call at 021 813 9224. We can tell you about going rates in the field, chance of publishing success and general writing career options both in South Africa 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:

Enrol here


Feedback on this course 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 found the course to be very pleasant. It gave me a good platform to start writing again. Being committed to a course helped to focus my mind on writing. My tutor was available to answer questions I had that were not necessarily related to the course notes; this I consider to be very valuable. I would highly recommend a course with SA Writers College to anyone wanting high quality and prompt feedback on their writing without worrying too much about a recognised qualification.” Petrus Kruger, Literary Short Story and Flash Fiction

“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

We offer specialised, online writing courses tutored by award-winning writers in South Africa. Get the writing tools you need, expert insider advice and hours and hours of writing practice.


Study from anywhere in South Africa: Cape Town, Western Cape; Johannesburg and Pretoria, Gauteng; Durban and Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal; Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape; Bloemfontein, Free State; Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Kimberley, Northern Cape and Polokwane, Limpopo.

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Nichola Meyer or Koos Turenhout
Email: [email protected]


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