Fiction Intensive: The Short Story (virtual) with Sharon English

Intensive workshops combine elements of WFNS’s traditional creative writing and professional development workshops with peer-to-peer feedback (facilitated by the instructor) to guide writers through the feedback, revision, and submission processes that form the path from completed draft to submitted manuscript.

Participants must have a completed draft before the workshop begins and must commit to reading other participants’ drafts between workshop sessions.

You’ve written a story, yet you’re unsure whether it’s ready to meet the world. Or you’ve sent out several stories, yet publication has been elusive or rare. Both situations are common for writers, no matter how experienced, because as Francine Prose reminds us, “a story creates its own world.” A story drawing too much on familiar tropes feels predictable, cliché, yet an inventive story needs enough coherence and polish to make it sing.

In this workshop you’ll learn strategies for balancing familiarity and novelty by developing your work through revision, which focuses on larger narrative issues, and through editing at the sentence level. By exchanging your stories with other participants, you’ll learn to hone your self-editing skills, to work with feedback from readers, and to offer—and receive—supportive, practical responses to works-in-progress. Writing communities and groups are essential for these reasons and more. We’ll also spend time discussing paths to publication, including where and how to submit your fiction.

Three of the five sessions will involve workshopping participants’ completed short stories drafts, as well as instruction. All genres of fiction are welcome and will enrich our discussions.

About the instructor: Sharon English is the author of three books of literary fiction and numerous essays and is a creative writing teacher, mentor, and editor. Her books include the recently released Night in the World (Freehand Books, May 2022), a first novel praised as “splendid and searing … pressed up against the tremours of our times” (Catherine Bush). Sharon’s previous books are two collections of short stories, Uncomfortably Numb (2002) and Zero Gravity (2006). Zero Gravity was longlisted for the Giller Prize, shortlisted for the ReLit Award, and named a Globe & Mail Best 100 title of the year. A translation into Serbian was published in 2020. Sharon has taught fiction and creative nonfiction for over 15 years. She’s currently a part-time Assistant Professor in the Writing & Rhetoric program at the University of Toronto. Since moving to Nova Scotia, Sharon’s been teaching creative writing at Dalhousie and through the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. She also edits and mentors writers privately, and offers writing workshops.

Recommended experience level: Emerging writers and early-career authors of fiction with at least two short story publications in magazines, journals, or anthologies—or with similar publication experience in another form or genre (About recommended experience levels)

Participant cap: 6

Location: Zoom

Dates of 5-week workshop: Wednesdays, Apr 10 + Apr 17 + Apr 24 + May 1 + May 8, 2024 (7:00pm to 9:00pm Atlantic)

Registration for 2024 General Members: $239

Registration for non-members: $304 (includes 2024 General Membership in WFNS)

Scroll to Top

Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that participants in any given workshop have similar levels of creative writing and / or publication experience. This ensures that each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their career stage. The “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions used by WFNS.

  • New writers: those with less than two years’ creative writing experience and/or no short-form publications (e.g., short stories, personal essays, or poems in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with more than two years’ creative writing experience and/or numerous short-form publications.
  • Early-career authors: those with 1 or 2 book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short-form publications.
  • Established authors: those with 3 or 4 book-length publications.
  • Professional authors: those with 5 or more book-length publications.

Please keep in mind that each form of creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for children and young adults) provides you with a unique set of experiences and skills, so you might consider yourself an ‘established author’ in one form but a ‘new writer’ in another.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” creative writing workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed closely.

For all other workshops, the recommended experience level is just that—a recommendation—and we encourage potential participants to follow their own judgment when registering.

If you’re uncertain of your experience level with regard to any particular workshop, please feel free to contact us at communications@writers.ns.ca