Guardian Masterclass on How to finish your novel or short story, Wednesday 19 April

Posted in Events, News

Well, this is exciting – on Wednesday 19 April, I’ll be leading a writers’ workshop at The Guardian offices (my own workplace for four years in my twenties!) on how to finish a novel or short story.

The workshop is part of a series of writing masterclasses curated by the novelist Lionel Shriver, who very kindly asked me to teach this one (I am still smiling about that).

The course costs £99 and you can book here. Full details below, too. Hope to see you there…


How to finish your novel or short story: a writers’ workshop with Laura Barnett

A good ending is a vital part of any novel or short story. During this unique class with Laura Barnett, author of bestselling novel The Versions of Us, you’ll learn how to ensure your story goes out with a bang, not a whimper.

This class is ideal for those who have some experience of writing fiction, or writers looking to improve their skills or sharpen a manuscript ahead of potential publication. Over the course of the evening, you’ll learn a host of techniques to write satisfying conclusions to your stories – whether you want to write a happy or poignant ending, tie up loose ends or deliberately leave them dangling.


  • The role of endings in fiction – novel v short stories
  • Examples of literature’s most, and least, successful endings
  • Planning ahead – should you always have a destination in mind when writing?
  • Structure – how to ensure your ending feels inevitable (even if it wasn’t)
  • Editing and troubleshooting – what to do when that conclusion just isn’t working
  • How to know when to stop writing
  • Advice on sharpening up the ending of your manuscript ahead of potential publication
  • Q&A – a great opportunity to pick the brains of an experienced novelist and short story writer

How to write series curated by Lionel Shriver

This Masterclass is part of a series of writing classes this April, specially curated by Lionel Shriver, internationally bestselling author of We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Tutor profile

Laura Barnett is an author and journalist whose first novel The Versions of Us was published in 2015. This year, it will be published in the United States, as well as in 22 other languages. Laura has written for the Guardian, the Observer and Time Out London, among others, and is the author of the non-fiction book Advice from the Players. She also writes short stories, for which she’s won several awards, and is currently working on her new novel, Greatest Hits. She tweets @laura_jbarnett.


Date: Tuesday 19 April 2016
Times: 6.30pm-9.30pm
Location: The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU
Price: £99 (includes VAT, booking fee and drinks)
Event capacity: 36