North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference*
November 4–6, Raleigh
Saturday, November 5, 2:30–4 p.m.
Ending Well: Short Story Endings and Their Lessons
Flannery O'Connor contended that the key to a short story’s success is “an action or a gesture which was both totally right and totally unexpected; it would have to be one that was both in character and beyond character; it would have to suggest both the world and eternity.” Because the weight of these demands often falls on a story’s ending, discovering the right way to end is among the most difficult of a fiction writer’s tasks. Through reading and discussion of brief published pieces, and using a short exercise or two, we’ll explore some of the hallmarks of the great short-story ending: that combination of surprise and inevitability that feels final but never, ever neat. Please bring the last page of a draft of a story you’ve written; you’ll be examining this page with fresh eyes to discover how your ending is working, how it could work even better, and how the flaws in your ending can help you recognize earlier flaws in your story and understand how to address them.
This event is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.