Write a Great Beginning with Will Allison

November 18th-20th

Price: $55

Patron Price: $45

Registration Closed

In our newly updated and improved online class, Write a Great Beginning with Will Allison, you’ll spend three intensive days learning how to craft a story opening that will make readers eager to turn the page.

  • Day 1: You’ll learn Will’s ten “rules” of story beginnings, and you’ll write the beginning of a short story.
  • Day 2: You’ll learn when and how a story should begin, and you’ll revise your story beginning.
  • Day 3: You’ll learn about the importance of tone in story beginnings, and you’ll experiment with the tone of your story beginning.

This class is designed for writers of all experience levels. Though the class focuses on short stories, much of the content also applies to novels. The daily lessons will include videos, text lectures, examples, assignments, tips, discussion questions, and generative exercises that will allow you to apply what you’ve learned. You will also have the chance to join a vibrant online writing community on our discussion boards, where you can interact with Will and your classmates about the lessons and/or share your work with the rest of the class and get feedback.

About Will Allison:

Before joining One Story as a contributing editor in 2011, Will served as executive editor of Story and editor-at-large of Zoetrope: All-Story. He has taught creative writing at Columbia University, The Ohio State University, and elsewhere. He is the author of two novels, What You Have Left, named a notable book by the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times bestseller Long Drive Home, which is currently being adapted for the stage. His stories have appeared in Glimmer TrainAmerican Short FictionOne StoryZoetrope: All-StoryShenandoahKenyon ReviewCincinnati Review, and elsewhere. As a freelance editor specializing in fiction and creative nonfiction, he works one-on-one with both new and established authors. For more information please visit willallison.com.


When can I register for this class?

Registration is open now through November 17th.

How does the class work?

Each day’s material will be posted at 12 a.m. UTC. The class also includes a discussion board where participants can interact with one another and with Will.

I write poetry and/or creative nonfiction. Is this class right for me?

While some of the content can be applied to other kinds of writing, this class, as with all One Story classes, is designed with fiction writers in mind.

Can I take the class on my phone?

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

Can I save the material for later use?

There will be downloadable handouts, assignments, and writing exercises, but otherwise class content lives on 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.

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 day includes a lesson-based assignment and a generative writing exercise. These will not be evaluated by the instructor, but participants are welcome to share their work on the discussion board and exchange feedback with one another.

How much time will the class take?

Plan to spend about an hour per day reviewing the lessons and completing the assignments or exercises, plus however much time you choose to spend on the discussion board.

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

The class is designed for you to proceed at your own pace, on your own schedule, so if you miss a day or three, no problem. All class materials will be accessible online until December 22nd. Please note, however, that Will will be available on the discussion board only from November 18th to November 20th. Students will not have access to the class after December 22nd. We are unable to offer extensions. 

What if I can’t wait to get started?

The discussion board will open on Wednesday, November 16th, two days before the first lesson, so that participants can meet, mingle, and familiarize themselves with the learning platform.

How big is the class?

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

Do you offer financial aid for this class?

Yes. We offer a limited number of need-based scholarships that cover 50% of tuition. The window to request a scholarship is open now through November 14th. Apply 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 maribeth@one-story.com.

If you have any questions, please contact edu.support@one-story.com.