Why is it so important to write great dialogue?
- GREAT DIALOGUE CAPTIVATES READERS. If a reader gets pulled in by your dialogue, chances are far better that she'll love your characters and want to follow them to the end of your story.
- GREAT DIALOGUE MEANS GREAT STORY. Powerful dialogue isn't just about characters talking to each other, it's also about story! (And character, and theme, and setting, and tone.)
- GREAT DIALOGUE ATTRACTS AGENTS AND PUBLISHERS. Even if other areas of your manuscript are still rough, great dialogue indicates that you've got what it takes to write a terrific book, and they're more apt to take a chance on you.
Mastering dialogue is the fastest, most powerful way to improve your manuscript.
The scope of this course is laser-focused on one thing and one thing only: making sure you master the art and craft of writing great dialogue.
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.Ernest Hemingway
CLICK ON EACH MODULE BELOW TO REVEAL FULL DETAILS
7 Comprehensive Modules | 2 Bonus Modules | 42 Targeted Lessons
THE FIVE FUNCTIONS OF DIALOGUE
WRITING BELIEVABLE DIALOGUE
- How to Write Natural, Fluid, Authentic Dialogue
- When Dialogue is Unbelievable
- Cut Out Useless Talk
- What’s Emotional, and What’s Overwrought?
- Avoid “Know-It-All” Dialogue
- Dialogue as Mouthpiece for Research
- How Overwriting Can Deaden Dialogue
CHOOSING CONTENT FOR DIALOGUE
- Make Dialogue Relevant to Your Story
- How to Write Subtext
- Pay Attention to What’s Said and What’s Unsaid
- Use Action, Not Activity (and how to tell the difference)
DIALOGUE THAT’S UNIQUE TO CHARACTER
- Writing Characters Who Aren’t Like You
- Effectively Incorporate Dialect, Foreign Language and Jargon
- Resources for Writing Authentic Dialogue
WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS SAY AND HOW THEY SAY IT—PART I
- Avoid Clichéd Language
- The Power of Being Specific
- Don’t Intrude on Your Character’s Voice
- Be Clear, Not Convoluted
- Active Versus Passive Dialogue
- The Value of Lean Dialogue
WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS SAY AND HOW THEY SAY IT—PART II
- Use Evocative Language
- Body Language
- The Value of Brevity
- Dialogue Interrupted—Perfect the Pause
- The Power of Silence
- Emotional Dialogue that Resonates
- Use Humor Effectively
GET THE BALANCE RIGHT
- When to Use Summary Exposition Instead of Dialogue
- Have You Written Too Much Dialogue?
- When and How to Interrupt Dialogue
- The Challenges of Dialogue in Group Scenes
- Reveal Backstory Through Dialogue
- How to Manage Speech When Your Character is Alone
- Conveying a Character’s Thoughts
- Dialogue Tags (Attributions)
- Choosing How Dialogue Appears on the Page
- Tenses and Punctuation
WHO IS THIS COURSE FOR?
If you are a writer of fiction or creative non-fiction, are serious about becoming the best creative writer you can possibly be, and are excited about applying yourself so you can learn everything there is to know about writing great dialogue, this course is for you.
WHO IS THIS COURSE NOT FOR?
If you believe your dialogue skills are already polished, or you aren't truly hungry to learn as much as you can about the craft of writing, or if you're writing something other than fiction or creative non-fiction, this course isn't for you.
HOW YOU'LL ENGAGE INSIDE THE COURSE
Click on each icon to learn more.
Because some learners preferring reading to anything else, you always have an option to read a transcript instead of watching the video. Scroll down to the bottom of each lesson to find the downloads section, where you'll find a written transcript of the full lesson.
There are a number of videos in this course, all of which have closed captions attached to them. As always, if you'd prefer to listen or read, both audio and full transcripts are available in the downloads section at the bottom of each lesson.
Since this is a writing class, of course you'll have an opportunity to write! If you complete the written assignments, you'll be more apt to cement the learning in your mind. If you choose to post your response to the assignments, you may or may not get comments from other participants on what you've written, but I will be reading and responding to all the comments just as soon as I'm able.
Because so many learners like to learn on the go, you're always welcome to download the audio-only version of each lesson and listen from your phone or tablet. You'll find downloadable audio in the downloads section at the bottom of each lesson.
When you're asked to reflect on something specific, I encourage you to do so—reflection is another way for your learning to stick, and I'm asking you to reflect on specific things for precisely that reason!
Nearly every lesson has a discussion section attached to it, where you can review other participants' work (a great way to enhance your learning), share your own, and get and provide feedback if you wish. Please note that there is no requirement for getting feedback, so you may or may not get a response to what you post. Please know that I do read every comment, and will respond when I'm able. Writing comments has value in the sheer act of writing, though, because it gives you a chance to reflect on what you're learning, a sure way to make the learning stick.