Intro to Writing Short Fiction: A Two-Night Mini for MG & YA Authors

Online | Early Readers and Chapter Books, Novels, Business of Publishing
Join authors and anthologists Nora Shalaway Carpenter and Rob Costello to learn about the form, opportunity, and style of writing short fiction for kids and teens.

January 23 @ 7:00 pm - January 25 @ 7:00 pm




A Two-Night Mini Online Course

Join authors and anthologists Nora Shalaway Carpenter and Rob Costello to learn about the form, opportunity, and style of writing short fiction for kids and teens. This program is a great fit if you’re looking for a short course of two, 75-minute sessions offering limited interaction with the community, but loads of information.

  • Tuesday, January 23, 2024 (7pm – 8:15pm Eastern)
  • Thursday, January 25, 2024 (7pm – 8:15pm Eastern)
  • Webinar-style program with closed captioning available and limited interaction in the chat
  • You’ll have access to the recordings through February 29, 2024.

Why This Workshop?

Short fiction is an important and vibrant form of creative writing.

For new writers, short stories offer a way to express the basics of storytelling and develop the skills essential to crafting publishable fiction.

For more experienced writers, short stories present an exciting and enjoyable medium for play and experimentation.

For all writers, they offer a different pathway to publication via the numerous short fiction markets that exist online and in print.

Join authors and anthologists Nora Shalaway Carpenter and Rob Costello to explore:

  • The short fiction form: what makes a short story different from a novel?
  • Pacing, tension, and story structure in the short form
  • Reader expectations: meeting and breaking
  • Internal vs. external tension as stakes
  • Short fiction markets for young readers
  • Exercises and prompts designed to elicit new story ideas and revise existing stories

Feedback Expected

  • None included in the course. There will be limited interaction in the chat feature of the webinar-style program.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You have an idea for a short story but don’t know how to start. Writing prompts will help generate ideas and get those creative juices flowing, while live lectures detail the ins and outs of how to make your short story the best it can be.
  • You’re a novelist interested in experimenting with new forms, voice, and writing techniques. Tackle different ways of writing without having to commit to using them for an entire novel.
  • You could use some direction on your story ideas. There will be a number of topics covered to help spark new ideas and/or develop your works in progress.
  • You’re looking for something short, sweet, and smart! This is not a full workshop. Instead it is two, 75-minute sessions meant to engage and spark short story ideas and experimentation!

Tentative Agenda

At registration: You will receive a Zoom link to use each night of the course.


If you are unable to attend either session for any reason, you’ll have access to the recordings (with closed captioning) through February 29, 2024.

Please note that if you register for the course after the start of the first session, you will not receive recordings immediately.  You’ll receive both recordings after the close of the last session, usually within 24 hours.

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Part One: Tuesday, January 23, 2024 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)
  • Welcome
  • What makes for a good short story?
  • Why write them?
  • How do stories for young readers differ from those targeting adults?
  • Generative writing exercises
  • Mentor texts to read
Part Two: Thursday, January 25, 2024 (7pm-8:15pm Eastern)
  • Exploring the unique structure of the short form
  • Examining mentor texts
  • Writing exercises for revision
  • Where to publish short fiction & how to submit
  • Resources for further study
  • Q & A

How It Impacts Kids

Short stories engage young readers and educators alike, and present a fun and accessible introduction to the many different styles of fiction (from contemporary realism to speculative genres).

Testimonials from Our Community

“Everything about this was great. If I had to pick one thing, I would say that the short story submission tips Nora & Rob shared during the Q&A were absolutely invaluable. I know it’s going to help me expand the possibility of publishing YA short stories in literary markets.”

“Rob Costello’s handout on publishing your work is so informative; it’s generous of him to provide such information.”

“I was so glad to learn the structure and underpinnings of the short story. I am still learning and thinking through a particular writing that I love to try to apply the principles and basic foundation more effectively.”

“Only able to attend because it was virtual. Therefore, I can give more space to it and it encourages me to attend.”


January 23 @ 7:00 pm - January 25 @ 7:00 pm




When you register for this course, you’ll receive information via email to confirm.

For mini courses (one or two nights only), you’ll receive webinar links immediately to use on the evening of the course.

For longer courses, you’ll receive an invitation to your virtual classroom as the workshop approaches.

Learn more about the technology that we use for our online workshops.

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.