Less is More: 5-week Short Fiction Lab

Write a short story from start to finish with award-winning author Katie Bickell

Register $339–$539 🇨🇦 (~$250–$395 🇺🇸)

Course runs Tuesdays, Apr. 25-May 23, 2023 @ 7–9pm ET
*Workshop Dates (Stream B upgrade only): Tuesdays, Jun. 13, 20 & 27, 2023 @ 7–9pm ET

There’s no one way to craft a short story, but there are tried-and-true ways to organize, furnish, and enrich it. In this five-week course with one of form’s most exciting new writers, author Katie Bickell will show writers how to apply those various techniques to their own story, as they develop it in class. Through lectures, group discussions, and activities, she’ll guide each of them from conception to early draft editing, along the way learning how to improve their work’s themes, subtext, plot, character development, story architecture, and the writer’s own relationship to creativity.

Self-directed homework will be assigned weekly and students can expect to complete the course with the tools needed to pen a well-crafted short story. The instructor will provide individualized written feedback on each student’s final manuscript at no additional cost.

The course is open to 16 students with capacity for 6 students to upgrade to Stream B for an additional fee of $200 CAD. Stream B students will receive individualized written feedback on final manuscripts, and hour long one-on-one short story consultation with the instructor, and an additional three days of workshopping with both peers and the instructor.


Stream A: Regular Class Lectures & Discussions ($339 🇨🇦 | ~$250 🇺🇸)
Students attend classes and participate in the lectures, class discussions, optional homework and weekly required reading assignments, but will not participate in the additional story workshops or consultations that follow, or receive feedback on homework assignments. The instructor will provide individualized written feedback on each student’s final manuscript.

Stream B: Classes with Story Development & Workshops ($539 🇨🇦 | ~$395 🇺🇸)

Students who upgrade to this level will put the techniques and lessons into practice by completing and receiving feedback on weekly homework assignments as they develop their short stories. This stream also includes receiving individualized written feedback on final manuscripts, an hour-long one-on-one short story consultation with the instructor following manuscript feedback, and additional workshops with both peers and the instructor.

NOTE: The number of workshops is dependent on the number of writers who upgrade to Stream B. Workshops will be capped at three days maximum.

Tuesdays, Apr. 25–May 23 @ 7–9pm ET (4–6pm Pacific)
Upgraded Level – Workshopping Dates: Tuesdays, Jun. 13, 20 & 27 @ 7–9pm ET (4–6pm Pacific)
  • Class 1 (Apr. 25): Intro to Literary Fiction & Character-Driven Fiction
  • Class 2 (May 2): Change is Good: Plot Arcs and External Conflict
  • Class 3 (May 9): Searching for Meaning: Theme and Literary Devices that Support Theme
  • Class 4 (May 16): Where’s the Action? Story pacing, transitions, narrative devices, and flow
  • Class 6 (May 23): Small Details Make the Big Picture: Editing Tips


  • Workshop 1, June 13th
  • Workshop 2, June 20th
  • Workshop 3, June 27th

After checkout, you’ll receive a receipt with a link to download your syllabus, which will include Zoom passcodes, pre-class homework, and additional course information. You will also receive an emailed reminder a few days before your first class.


This course is intended for beginner and emerging fiction writers committed to completing a short story. The seed of a story idea or the vague image of a character you’d like to develop will likely be valuable in the early weeks.

Please be on time. If you’re going to be late, email your instructor and T.A. as soon as possible. The course is intended for live participation, however, if you can’t be present for a class, or must leave early, a recording will be provided in the student folder the morning after.

You’re expected to be present and intellectually curious during class time. In addition to attending each class, you are expected to be available across all dates to complete your writing assignments. If your work is more than 48 hours late, however, you may or may not get feedback.


The course is designed for live participation, however, if you can’t be present for a class, or must leave early, a recording will be provided in the student folder the morning after. Students are expected to be present and intellectually curious during class time. Please be ready to participate with working cameras and audio. If you’re ever stuck or may need accommodation, please reach out to your instructor or TA.


Pandemic University is committed to offering a fulfilling and inclusive education. Classes are held via Zoom with Closed Captioning features enabled through auto-transcription technology. A teaching assistant will be present to correct transcription mistakes and assist in other ways. The course includes workshops and class discussions, thus students are required to participate through audio; accommodations can be made for people with speaking or other disabilities if they inform us ahead of schedule. Video is encouraged of all students in order to optimize everyone’s virtual classroom experience.


Space is limited to 16 students. Anyone wishing to cancel their registration have until April 18, 2023 to receive a guaranteed refund. If you cancel between April 19 and April 24, 2022 we will only offer a refund if and after the vacated spot is filled. No refunds whatsoever will be offered after the course begins on April 25, 2023. Violations of the Code of Conduct may also result in your removal from the course without compensation.


Although PanU is technically a fake university, we’re committed to high standards of artistic integrity, quality education, and maintaining a safe virtual environment for students. Abusive behaviour toward classmates or instructors will not be tolerated at any point during the course, including in private messages, and will result in expulsion without refund.

Other violations that could have you expelled from this course include: refusing to participate in group workshops; plagiarism and misrepresentation of others’ ideas as your own; sharing recordings of classes; sharing classmates’ work without their consent; and racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia either in your notes feedback to classmates or in your written work.

The final say on whether or not you continue in class belongs to the instructor alone. If you have any questions, email info@pandemicuniversity.com.

About the Instructor Register for this Course Class Catalogue