Arts Derbyshire


The Art of Writing Short Stories for Audio and Visual Performance

(Apply on – Adult and Community – Ilkeston – Fees apply)


‘Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.’

― Neil Gaiman


The aim of the course is to enable students to learn the art of writing and developing short stories for ‘physically’ bringing to life from the written page, for both audio and visual performance.  Varied exercises and uses of stimuli will be used to aid the creative process, helping students to build on and share their ideas in the group, whilst discovering new approaches to developing their short story writing skills.  The course will also include looking at a number of leading short story writers whose work has been performed, considering what makes their work so engaging and also creatively effective for successfully sharing with an audience/viewer, as well as a reader.


Week 1 – Whose story do you want to tell?

Looking at the central idea/themes for your story, and ‘who’ will be the lead character or characters within it?  Considering the importance of creating the most effective ‘person’ and ‘tense’ for conveying the story, ensuring the maximum dramatic impact for bringing the characters to life both on the ‘written page’, and in ‘performance’.

Week – 2 – Choosing and Creating the ‘Backdrop’

How selecting the right ‘backdrop’ for your story is crucially important in ensuring the most effective opportunity to convey the storyline of the lead character (s), and to help convey the conflict and tension within their situation.

Week 3– Making Short Stories into Short Plays for the stage

How a short story can effectively evolve into a play, and looking at stories and scripts from a range of writers.  Considering how descriptive information in the story can be successfully developed into dialogue, without losing the central premise and dramatic content originally intended in the narrative.

Week 4 – Making Short Stories into TV/Film Scripts

Considering how a short story/novella book can also effectively evolve into a TV/Film script. Looking at examples across the industry, including the work of authors such as Stephen King (The Body/Shawshank Redemption), and Annie Proulx (Brokeback Mountain).  Looking at how the strength of a well-written and developed short story can provide a powerful literary blueprint for a TV/Film script.

Week 5 – Making Short Stories into Radio Drama

How the short story can prove to be a powerful basis for a full-length Radio Drama.  Comparing the differences of writing for a visual and audio medium, and the extended possibilities and freedom a radio performance provides, with ‘sound only’ leaving more openings for the listener’s own imagination and for ‘painting their own picture’.

Week 6 – The Power of the Monologue

Looking at the art of effectively transferring a story written in the ‘first person’ into a powerful ‘stage’ monologue – either fully performed or as a reading – with small adaptations to the presentation of the narrative.  Considering the need for other characters to be effectively and naturally brought to life within the story, through the sole voice of the narrator.

Week 7 – Short Stories and Audiobooks

With the increasing sales and high popular interest in audiobooks, looking at how a collection of short stories can also effectively be recorded for an audiobook, to be released simultaneously, and the opportunities for self-publishing.

Week 8 – Workshopping and Constructive Feedback

The final session will involve considering the most effective form of audio and visual performance, for bringing your story to life.  Members of the group will have the opportunity to workshop their developed short stories, with constructive helpful feedback both from the tutor and other group members.



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