The Last Page: Ending Your Stories on the Perfect Note

October 5th-26th

Instructor: Patrick Ryan

Price: $75

Patron Price: $65

Registration Closed
One of the best classes I've taken on craft elements. The Last Page 2020 Student

Over the course of four sessions, this month-long, asynchronous class will look in-depth at different methods for ending a short story and will explain how to choose the kind of ending that suits your story best. Patrick will walk you through the criteria for a good ending by looking closely at numerous examples, determining why some endings resonate emotionally with readers while others shock; why some endings answer questions while others ask them; why some endings pack a wallop with physical action while others pack just as much of a wallop with a quiet and seemingly insignificant moment or detail. Through discussions, readings, and exercises, you will increase your awareness of the endings you read and better understand the options for and effectiveness of the endings you write.

This class will take place over the span of four weeks. Once a week, students will be assigned readings, review them with Patrick and others in the class, and work on writing assignments. Patrick Ryan will be available during office hours on the discussion board to discuss the readings and answer student questions that have been posted throughout the week.

Students are encouraged to share their work on the discussion boards throughout the week for feedback from their peers, and to discuss the stories among one another.

About Patrick Ryan:

Patrick Ryan is the author of the novel Buckeye (forthcoming from Random House), The Dream Life of Astronauts (named one the Best Books of the Year by the St. Louis Times-Dispatch, LitHub, Refinery 29, and Electric Literature) and Send Me (selected for the Barnes & Noble Discovery Series). His fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories. A recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and the National Endowment for the Arts, Patrick is the editor-in-chief of One Story. For more information please visit


Week 1 (10/5-12): An Overview of the Eight Categories of Short Story Endings: Patrick will review the eight categories of short story endings and go over Bookend and Shocker Endings, with examples of each. Students will start work on an exercise designed to help them experiment with writing these types of endings. Office hours: 10/12, 12pm-8pm ET

Week 2 (10/12-19): Quiet Moments, Stepping Back, and Question Endings: Patrick will continue his exploration of the eight types of endings, outlining Quiet Moments, Stepping Back, and Question Endings. Students will continue their exercises. Office hours: 10/19, 12pm-8pm ET

Week 3 (10/19-26): Answer, Projection Forward, & Nostalgic Endings: Patrick will review the 3 final types of endings. Students will continue experimenting with different kinds of endings to stories. Office hours: 10/26, 12pm-8pm ET

Week 4 (10/26): Your Last Page: Patrick will share his experience writing endings to some of his own stories and provide students with actionable advice on how to unlock the best endings for theirs.


When can I register for this class?

Registration is open now through Monday, October 9th.

How does the class work?

Each week’s exercises, written lectures, and course material will be posted at 12am UTC on the designated course release date (see schedule above). The class also includes discussion boards where participants can interact with one another and with Patrick. These are open throughout the week, but Patrick will only be online answering questions during the designated office hours.

Can I take the class on my phone?

Yes, the class can be taken on a mobile device, but we recommend a computer or tablet to get the most out of the experience.

Is participation on the discussion board required?

No, it’s optional; participants are welcome to jump into the conversation or sit back and observe.

Is there homework?

Yes. Each week will involve two to three short stories for students to read and evaluate (plus optional additional reading), and at least one writing exercise. These will not be reviewed by the instructor, but participants are welcome to share their work with other students for feedback on the discussion board.

I write nonfiction. Is this class right for me?

This class is designed with short story writers in mind.

I’m working on a novel. Can this class help me write the ending?

While there may be some advice that novelists will find helpful, this class was built for short story writers and uses published short stories to model successful endings.

Do I need to have a short story in the works to make use of the exercises?

No. The exercises will be designed for you to be able to make good use of them regardless of whether or not you are currently working on a short story.

How much time will the class take?

Plan to spend two to three hours per week reviewing the lessons and completing the readings and exercises, plus however much time you choose to spend on the discussion board.

How many students are in the class?

One Story online classes are large and tend to range from 100-250 students.

What if I want to take the class, but the dates don’t work for me?

All class materials will be accessible for one month after the class end date. Please note, however, that Patrick will only be present during the designated office hours. Class material will not be available to students after November 26th. We are unable to offer extensions.

Can I save the material for later use?

There will be downloadable writing exercises, but otherwise class content will be accessible only through the learning platform. To prevent distribution of the material without our knowledge, students are not permitted to copy/paste the lessons but are of course welcome to take notes.

What if I can’t wait to get started?

The discussion boards will open on Tuesday, October 3rd, two days before the first lesson, so that participants can meet, mingle, and familiarize themselves with the learning platform.

Do you offer financial aid or scholarships for this class?

Yes. We offer a limited number of need-based scholarships that cover 50% of tuition. The scholarship window is open now through September 27th. You can apply for a scholarship here.

Discounts & Policies

Our online classes are designed to be safe spaces for all who participate. One Story will not tolerate hate speech, bullying, or harassment directed toward instructors or fellow students, and reserves the right to remove participants who engage in such behavior from our classes.

Patron Discount: In order to qualify for our patron discount, you must be a member of our patron circle at the time of registration. Patrons commit to annual donations and receive benefits that allow them to participate in our non-profit organization in more meaningful ways. Not all One Story subscribers or supporters are patrons. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a patron, you can do so here.

Refund Policy: One Story class payment is non-refundable after the class’s start date. For questions about the refund policy, or if you are unable to take the class after you have registered, please contact

If you have any questions, please contact