Tiny Worlds

A workshop on writing short fiction


Neil Gaiman said: “A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick — a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.”

In this class we’ll explore the magic of this amazing genre. We’ll start from nothing and then watch our fictional worlds grow, travelling together through every stage of story-writing, from inception to editing. Each participant will end with a finished short story, a renewed love of the form, and lots of tools to do it all again.

Here’s how it works

We’ll begin on the first week with exploring where stories come from, and sketching out a handful of starting points for ones we might want to write. From there, we’ll choose one and every week we’ll build it up, exploring a different element of short fiction writing, including creating believable characters, working with suspense, understanding plot, and nailing dialogue. We’ll hash out our messy first drafts and then move to editing and polishing techniques. Our final evening will be a celebration of participants’ writing, where we will share food, drink, laughter, and, of course, our completed stories

There will be writing homework between each session, with optional extra readings for the keeners.

This workshop is ideal for people who:

  • Want to write their first short story, or a fresh new one from scratch.

  • Are curious about where fiction comes from, even if they’ve never written it before.

  • Are motivated by the idea of a regular date with a community of like-minded writers.

  • Are ready to work hard, both in class and at home between classes. (There will be homework.)

  • Love a good homemade cookie.

You can expect to leave the workshop with:

  • A pile of fresh, new writing including a finished short story.

  • A renewed or brand new love of short fiction.

  • Creative courage, possibility and energy.

  • A set of tools and ideas you can use anytime to write more short fiction.

This workshop won’t give you:

  • Critique or competition. We’re all about the love.

  • Strict rules or guidelines on what short fiction is or should look like. While we will provide guidelines and options, we believe there are a million ways to do this perfectly.

  • Guidance on writing about your life… Though all fiction is rooted in who we are, this class will be firmly focused on transforming our ideas and experience into fiction.

  • Feedback on already-completed work. (Check out our Editing Services for that.)




Fall 2019

8 Friday mornings, 10am – 12:45pm
September 13 – November 15 *No class on October 11 and Nov 1
At the Firefly Studio with Ailsa

Winter 2020

8 Wednesday afternoons, 2 – 4:45pm
January 8 – February 26
At the Firefly Studio with Ailsa


The fee for the 8 week workshop is $550 When you sign up you’ll be asked for a $225 deposit to confirm your spot, the balance of $325 will be due a week later.

You also have the option of breaking your balance into four monthly credit card payments of $81.25. There’s no extra fee for this service; we just like being able to offer it. Note, HST will be added to all costs.

We don’t want money to be a barrier to participation for our classes, but we know it can be. This is especially true for people facing marginalization. We have a small scholarship fund available, allocated on a first-come-first-served basis for anyone who needs it. Please let us know in your registration form if you’d like to apply. On the other hand if you’re able to contribute to our scholarship fund, click here.

To see our financial policies, click here.


Ready to take the leap?

Sorry Fall registration is now full. Winter registration opens on November 5, 2019.

You can get a nudge when early registration begins by submitting your email below. Alternately, join our mailing list to keep up to date on all things Firefly.


Your answer is probably on this page.

Looking for more options?

Take a peek at our other in-house workshops, our coaching services or our free video writing prompts.

What People are Saying…


For those considering delving into the world of short story writing, Tiny Worlds is an excellent introduction. The classroom exercises serve to spark story ideas, create characters and from week to week, help bring stories to fruition. Ailsa was brilliant at seeing people’s strengths and encouraging them. Her feedback during class helped bolster my self confidence and made me want to continue my writing journey. This was a truly rewarding experience.

Patricia South


Tiny Worlds allowed me space to actually finish a piece of writing. I can’t remember the last time that happened! The activities and exercises along with the truly safe space Ailsa fostered around the table allowed me to write freely and joyfully. This class was the highlight of my week, every week. Plus, the good feelings didn’t stop when the class did. I feel more confident in my ability to commit myself to a piece of writing than I have in years. Thank you Ailsa and Firefly!

Tess Allen
Writer, Communications Professional