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Fiction Workshop

Why craft a short story?
What are Rebecca’s published stories like?
How does one-on-one fiction coaching work?

Why craft a short story?

Fiction can be a way of taking a potent, even painful incident from real life and working with it as a way to inquire deeply into what happened, and why.  It can also be a way to reconfigure what happened and introduce new elements, or to re-imagine what happened in a more empowering way.  You can use your creativity to push the cutting edge of your own growth.

For example, in the short story “Shimmer,” attached here, I work with real elements:  It’s based on a time when I was newly married and staying on a beautiful little island in the San Juans.  As in the story, I was intensely jealous of a young woman who was my husband’s friend—call her S.  As in the story, there was a sharp-tongued, wise old person living just down the path from me in a geodesic dome.  He was busy building a concrete storage shelter, and one day in his loft I found one of S’s filmy nightgowns.  Reality offered a wonderful, odd constellation of elements, better than anything I as a fiction writer could have invented.

But the shed did not collapse on my neighbor, and I did not run across the island in that nightgown to get help.  Those were elements I introduced to increase dramatic tension and allow my character to grow and transform.  Even without that drama, I did grow and transform some that summer, but writing the story afterwards allowed me to consciously work with the challenging elements of the experience, and re-imagine events in a way that left me feeling more empowered.

I probably learned as much from the crafted, re-drafted story as from the experience itself. Re-experiencing events from my husband’s point of view, I came to see that he was probably right: it wasn’t a personal threat that he was able to love and admire more women than just me.  Working with my own fictionalized character, I learned to view my own strengths more objectively.  Okay, so I wasn’t a person who looked good in filmy dresses (I did in fact furtively slip on that nightgown one day).  But it was also true that I had qualities that had earned my tough-minded neighbor’s respect—discipline, intelligence, drive.  Most importantly, as I imagined my way into S.’s persona, I came to see that there was probably more spontaneity and “shimmer” to me than I’d realized—otherwise I could never have described S. in such loving detail, and identified with her so completely. 

Writing the story was its own payoff: it was deeply absorbing, and helped me to make some advances in my personal development.  But as it turned out, I was also able to experience the added joy of seeing the story published.  Sometimes that happens, too.

What are Rebecca’s published stories like?

Click a link below to read an experience-based short story:

“Shimmer,” published in Other Voices issue 9, Fall 1988. 

“Lessons,” published in Short Story Vol 9.2 (Fall 2001), and a finalist in the Society for the Study of the Short Story’s annual contest, 2000. 

How does one-on-one fiction coaching work?

A fiction workshop with Rebecca includes the following components: 

For Rebecca's qualifications to teach a fiction workshop, see "About Rebecca."


For more information about a Fiction Workshop with Rebecca, or to schedule a free initial consultation, write to Rebecca@storyconscious.com.

Here are some links that may enrich your fiction writing practice:

BraveHeart Women
This link will take you to information about writing programs, and give you access to free articles about writers and writing.

Women's Writing Guild
This link will take you to a community of women who write for personal and professional empowerment.