Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Michaelis, K. Going Under: A Short Story Collection. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln. 2022


Copyright Kaylen Michaelis 2022.


In this short story collection Going Under, I have endeavored to write stories in the magic realism genre—experimenting with dialogue, point of view, perspective changes, and style. It has been quite the learning process, especially in terms of revision; the biggest part of many creative writing projects. The revision process for this collection taught me about how to receive feedback, what to take and what to not. This is important because not all feedback, though it may be insightful and worthy of consideration, is beneficial for the story you are creating. Of course, being a good reviser only comes with interaction and practice.

All of my stories began with the idea of a consciousness in a place where a consciousness is not meant to be. The first story of the collection, “Mirror,” is told from the perspective of an inanimate cursed mirror, creating a story told mostly through the dialogue she overhears. My second and third stories, “Tree Rings” and “A Dark Spot,” personify an element of nature that brings about a transformation within the human characters. For example, the tree and the main character, Bethany, in “Tree Rings” form a bond over shared trauma and go through a grieving process together. Conversely, the waterspout in “A Dark Spot” feels more like a projection of a character’s own struggles and transformation. Interestingly enough, all the stories contain themes of death and loss, a key element of consciousness, which came along naturally and unplanned as I wrote.