This three-week craft seminar will focus on techniques prose writers use to master dialogue in both fiction and nonfiction narratives.
First, we will define what dialogue is and isn’t in narrative study and how to formally write dialogue—when to use attributions, how to punctuate, when/how to use or not use standard forms. We will look at specific examples from literature and explore how writers effectively employ strong dialogue and the effect it has on the reader.
Next, we will pull back the curtain on how to construct compelling dialogue. We will experiment with techniques that can show how good dialogue effectively reveals character and keeps the story moving.
Finally, we will do some real-time dialogue editing (on your work!) to change, compress, distill, and magnify the words your characters speak. In addition, we will look at the differences between direct and indirect dialogue, internal monologue, and dialect in speech.
This class will be equally applicable to fiction and nonfiction, short and long forms. We will explore the craft concepts with readings from David Mamet, Tayari Jones, and Luis Alberto Urrea. Writers will get to experiment with various techniques in their own writing, with feedback from the instructor.
Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the Zoom desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility.
Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.
- You will have a clear understanding of what dialogue is and how to use it effectively.
- You will practice using dialog techniques to amplify the impact your dialog has in stories.
- You will see how strong dialog is one of the writer's most powerful tools.
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Students will be expected to read or watch (videos) before we meet each week and be prepared to discuss the examples. Also, students will have short writing prompts (both in and outside of class) to experiment with the techniques we cover. There will be no workshop component to the class, though students will have opportunities to share in class.
Week 1: What is Dialog: the Nuts and Bolts
Week 2: Techniques in Writing Effective Dialog
Week 3: Going Deeper: Indirect Dialog, Internal Monologue & Dialect
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