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Nicole Hebel

Finalist in the 2018 Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Read the story: During the Rain

Final judge Will Boast wrote:

"Hypnotic and atmospheric. Environmental cataclysm intersects metaphorically with the joys and pains of living closely with another. Great premise."

More about Nicole Hebel:

  • Nicole Hebel

    Nicole Hebel

    Junior at Beloit College

  • Majors: Creative Writing; Environmental Studies
  • Hometown: Genoa, IL

Q. What sparked your interest in writing, and how did you get started writing fiction?

I think like many aspiring writers, my interest in writing stemmed from an early love of reading. As an only child I spent a lot of time entertaining myself with stories, whether they were read in books or I was creating my own and acting them out with toys. I suppose one day I stapled a wad of paper together and attempted to write down one of these stories, and my love of writing was borne. It was always fiction — I loved how through writing I could make nothing become anything. I could go places I’d never been, and create people I’d never met. Even as I’ve grown and matured, this fascination with far away people, places, and things hasn't changed, leading me to the material I write today.

Q. What drew you to write about the subject and characters in "During the Rain"?

With a double major in Creative Writing and Environmental Studies, I suppose it’s not really all that surprising that the environment should play so vital a role in my writing. I find such beauty out of doors that I can't help but try to capture it in words, maybe as part of a story, or maybe just to remember the feeling of it all later. Descriptive writing too can be quite beautiful, and so what better place to apply it than in such a spectacular setting such as Yellowstone?

As for the premise, a weird fantasy of mine has always been what I’d do in case of an apocalyptic scenario — I suppose that an especially slow, rainy week last summer inspired me to write about an endless, foreboding rain. Add in the uncertainties I was feeling about a relationship I was in at the time as well as a fascination with romantic relationships in general, and thus, I’d written the first bit of "During the Rain."

Q. How have you developed your writing while you've been at Beloit?

I would say that my experiences at Beloit College have expanded both my writing style as well as the type of topics I’ve felt comfortable writing about before arriving here. For instance, I never thought I could get comfortable in the short story genre — I always felt I had too much I wanted to say and too much of a story to tell to settle within the confinements of less than twenty pages. After having taken so many courses here focused on effective short story writing, I’ve actually found that I love the genre, and I’ve learned to use language to create a developed story out of fewer pages.

Beloit has also expanded the range of topics from which I choose to write about. This college’s openness on topics such as sexuality, politics, LGBTQ rights, environmental issues, and inclusivity has really helped me understand such issues, which in turn has given me the confidence to begin including them in my writing.