Short Story Writing for Magazines Course

Price: NZ$ 1095 / £ 569 / R 7495


Short Story Writing for Magazines Course

Learn How to Write Short Stories that Sell

All the basics of short story writing in one course

Have you ever closed a magazine after reading a story and thought: I wish I could write like that? The Short Story Writing for Magazines Course shows you how.

This course is aimed at you: someone who enjoys reading light fiction and who has always known they have stories inside them, just waiting to be written. 

Writing is fun. Whether you write romance, murder, horror or sci-fi, the feeling of accomplishment when you type ‘The End’ is the best! 

The Short Story Writing For Magazines Course
Gives You...

Expert, Individual Feedback

Get prompt, honest, detailed feedback on every assignment from an award-winning writer. We focus on your unique writing strengths.

No Peer Reviews!

You will only be assessed by your tutor, a leader in their field. No more guessing and wondering how to write; you'll be guided line by line.

No Automated Marking

We use traditional methods of assessing work, as editors at publishing houses would. No generic feedback!

A Flexible Schedule

Work wherever and whenever you want. You can easily fit our courses around work and other commitments.

Relevant, Usable Content

Easy-to-digest course notes that capture a lifetime of writing experience, ready for you to apply to your own writing.

Ongoing Assessment

Your writing is assessed continuously as your course progresses.

Master the Skill of Writing Short Stories

A short story writer’s how-to guide

Write eight short stories on the course and receive feedback on each of them from your tutor, an award-winning writer.

During the course, you’ll focus on different aspects of short story writing as you work through the exercises.

On this course, you will learn how to:

  • create believable characters and realistic dialogue
  • plot your stories and avoid clichés
  • adapt to the style of your target publication
  • craft a cover letter and present your work to magazine editors
  • understand the life of a working writer

By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start  submitting stories for publication. 

‘I learnt so much from my course and Ginny was so helpful, insightful and supportive! Amazing! I have been lucky to learn from her. Great experience.’

Eva Tadevosyan, Writing Short Stories for Magazines Course

Course Overview

Start your course at any time – applications open all year round.


Price includes GST/VAT

Other currencies will be converted at time of invoice



The assignments vary in length.



These modules cover around 200 pages of course notes.



Work at your own pace – up to a maximum of 12 months.


Working with an individual tutor means you can start the course at any time.


Basic writing skills are essential. Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required.
No previous tertiary qualification required.

Our Graduate Students' Successes

We are proud of our graduates who have achieved success. Here are a few among dozens of our creative writing success stories.

TheShort Story Writing Course at the Writers College Ginny Swart

Meet the Tutor

Ginny Swart

Ginny Swart has sold well over 700 short stories to women’s magazines all over the world. On any day of any month, she has at least 30 stories on editors’ desks. Her more serious work has appeared in literary publications in America, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and on the Web. She is also the author of three romance novels (Ulverscroft Press UK), a book of short stories ( and a book for teenagers, Nosipho and the King of Bones (Macmillan Boleswa SA). In 2003, Ginny won the esteemed Real Writers’ Prize in the UK, her winning entry selected from 4,000 entrants. 

Course Curriculum

Module 1

Getting Started

  • How to sell your story to a magazine
  • How much you can expect to earn from writing short stories
  • Writing for a specific market
  • Studying your market
  • Knowing your readers
  • Studying the house style of the target magazine
  • Writing Exercise: Write a warm-up short story of 1,500 words in response to a given prompt.


Module 2


  • Different ways to introduce your characters and make them believable
  • The importance of the ‘back story’
  • Making use of all the senses
  • Creating a three-dimensional character
  • The importance of the right name
  • Writing Exercise Part One: Write a 100-word ‘back story’ about one of your characters. 
  • Writing Exercise Part Two: Write a 150-word dialogue between your two characters.
  • Writing Exercise Part Three: Complete the story (1,500 words) for feedback from your tutor.


Module 3

Writing Dialogue

  • Writing believable dialogue
  • Starting your story with dialogue
  • Keeping conversation sounding natural and up to date
  • The use of ‘said’
  • Using slang and dialect effectively
  • How to convey thoughts
  • Using silence as part of the dialogue
  • Writing Exercise: Write a 1,500-word short story driven by dialogue for feedback from your tutor.


Module 4

Point of View

  • How different points of view can shape and alter a story
  • First-person and third-person writing
  • How writing in the first person affects your story
  • One event = six points of view!
  • Writing Exercise: Read one girl’s account of something that happened in the office. Rewrite this as seen through the eyes of two of the other people concerned. Complete the story (1,500 words) for feedback from your tutor.
  • How to convey thoughts


Module 5

How to Plot Your Story

  • What is a plot?
  • Classic plot patterns (as used in popular stories)
  • Avoiding clichéd plots
  • The twist in the tale
  • Finding ideas
  • Writing Exercise: Write a ten-sentence plot synopsis, choosing a character and a situation from the list provided. Complete the story (1,500 words) for feedback from your tutor.


Module 6

Setting and Story Structure

  • 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
  • Writing Exercise: Write a 1,500-word short story from a choice of prompts, concentrating on setting and style, for feedback from your tutor.


Module 7

Editing Your Story

  • Keeping it clean
  • The importance of word count
  • Lean and mean is good
  • How to cut for maximum impact
  • Tying up the ends
  • Writing Exercise: Read a 360-word excerpt from a story and edit it down to 230 words without losing any of the important features. Write a 1,500-word short story for feedback from your tutor.


Module 8

Submitting Your Story for Publication

  • Presenting your story
  • Writing a cover letter to the editor
  • Things to remember when submitting
  • Keeping track of your submissions
  • Final checklist
  • Writing Exercise: Write a 1,500-word short story of any genre aimed at a selected target magazine. Include a cover letter to the editor. This final assignment will also be marked by an outside moderator.


This course offers an advanced course option

What Our Students Say

James NevinShort Story Writing for Magazines Course
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I loved the course! I found it informative, fun and inspiring. My writing has benefited from it immensely. It taught me to love short stories and to realise the power of less is more. It taught me how to enjoy my writing and how to get my stories published. It has given me the confidence to continue writing and has developed my love for literary art. Ginny is an excellent tutor and writing mentor. She managed to give very prompt feedback on my work, without jeopardising the excellent quality of her critiques. She is very well-informed and her feedback was superb, with detailed and clear explanations. She always showed ways that my story could be excellent, especially when I wasn't feeling confident about my work. She inspired me to write to the best of my ability and made me realise that it is very possible to fulfil my dreams of being a published writer. She has encouraged me to pursue my favourite genres – sci-fi and fantasy, whilst challenging me to write in different genres as well. Her manner was always friendly and professional, and I felt that I could approach her to discuss any problem at any time. My experience with The Writers College was smooth, comfortable and highly enjoyable. I finally feel like a real writer!
Edna HutchingsShort Story Writing for Magazines Course
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I very much enjoyed this course. It was relevant to my aims and just what I needed to give me the discipline of a structured writing timetable. I was grateful for the flexibility as well. Ginny was a very helpful and encouraging tutor. I was amazed at how quickly she got back to me with detailed feedback. She was always there to answer any queries. I achieved my objective of getting back into regular writing and submitting material – with a chance of publication. I very much enjoyed the year; it was so good to get feedback on stories. I would be happy to recommend The Writers College to anyone.
Lesley SeftonShort Story Writing for Magazines Course
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The course was useful for the development of my writing skills. Also very enjoyable. Ginny is a great tutor. Her turnaround for responding to my submissions was excellent – next-day service. Just love the freedom of working online with a tutor.
Kerry MontgomeryShort Story Writing for Magazines Course
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The course was challenging. I enjoyed pushing myself on a daily basis to achieve the high standard that Ginny set. My confidence has improved under her encouragement. Her firm, professional teaching manner tempered with her warmth and humour made learning a pleasure. At all times, my expectations were exceeded. This is an excellent way to study in the convenience of my own home with a professional personal tutor.
Glenn McGoldrickShort Story Writing for Magazines Course
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Ginny was a superb tutor to me. She was always quick to respond to my emails, with lots of advice, suggestions and encouragement. I felt able to ask any question I liked, and that no question was a stupid question.
Mosetsana Jane MalatjieShort Story Writing for Magazines
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Ginny was the best tutor; I have learned so much from her and from being part of the Writers College family.

Get These Additional Benefits

Lifetime Course Access

Benefit from free lifetime access to future course updates and access to our writing resources.

Join a Community of Writers

You will have access to our friendly Facebook community, daily writing tips and writing inspiration.

500+ Bonus Articles on Our Blog

A superb, constantly updated resource with articles on writing and interviews with writers.

Work at Your Own Pace

Our courses work around you. You can pace your course around your busy life.

Work Opportunities

Top students are invited to join our writers and editors for hire service.

Be the First to Know About Writing Competitions

We'll help you keep up to date with the latest competition announcements

Risk-Free 100% Money-Back Guarantee

We are so confident that you will love your course that if you’re not 100% satisfied with the quality of our training, simply ask for a refund within 30 days.

Complete the Application Form to Enrol on the Writing Short Stories for Magazines Course

You will receive an approval email and invoice within one working day.

Questions? We've Got Answers

The course consists of eight modules. Detailed course notes covering the content of each module are emailed to you. At the end of each module, you will be required to complete a writing exercise. In total, the course includes eight short writing assignments, all of which count towards your final result. Once a writing assignment has been completed and emailed to your tutor, you will receive an assessment and feedback, and the module will be considered complete. The next module will then be emailed to you.

Absolutely. You have direct communication with your tutor for the duration of the course. The more questions you ask, the more you will get out of the course.

You will get lifetime access to the course. You will also benefit from future updates and improvements to the course!

For the majority of our courses, only your tutor will see your work. It will remain completely private unless you get it published, a decision that is yours to make.

You will receive a Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided you meet the following conditions:

  • You must complete all eight writing assignments.
  • The course must be completed within 12 months of registration.
  • A minimum average of 50% must be achieved.
  • Basic writing skills are essential.
  • You must be proficient in the English language.
  • Computer skills as well as email and Internet access are required.
  • No previous tertiary qualification is required.

Because you will work with an individual tutor, you can start your course as soon as your application has been approved. There are no specific start dates as would be the case with a traditional college.

An application is usually approved within one working day. Once we receive proof of payment, your can start your course.

You could be starting your course today!

  • Reading Time: 15 hours
  • Writing Time: Around 40 hours

You can easily complete the course within six to 12 months. You will get an extra 21 days if your course runs over the New Year break.

You are welcome to finish the course sooner if you want, but we wouldn’t want you to rush the process too much!

Once your application has been approved, you will receive notification of approval and an invoice via email. As soon as we receive proof of payment, your first module as well as  your tutor’s email address and your login details will be sent to you. Your tutor will also be in touch to welcome you.

Any work created on our courses is owned by you. We will never make a claim to anything you produce. We follow the rule that copyright subsists with the creator (you).

‘I couldn't wish for a better tutor. I'm just sorry the whole thing is over. I found the advice Ginny gave was helpful, encouraging and motivating. It inspired me to try and do even better on my next module. You're so lucky to have her.’

Pat Coates, Short Story Writing for Magazines Course

Got More Questions?

We would love to help you choose the best course for you. Tell us what style of writing you want to develop and we'll give you some options.

Our Refund Policy

If within seven days of starting your course you are not happy on your course, we can either transfer you to a different course or provide a full refund.

If you request a refund after seven days and before 30 days we will charge a 5% administrative fee, as well as any bank fees and tutor fees already incurred.

We do not offer a refund after 30 days on the course.

How can we help?

We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our courses. If you need advice about the best course for you, drop us a line below or email us at

We look forward to hearing from you.