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Ready to captivate readers, write great stories and attract the attention of agents and publishers?

WRITING GREAT DIALOGUE is a detailed, comprehensive, online master class presented by award-winning novelist and writing teacher, Joan Dempsey.
Simple lessons with robust content and engaging assignments are designed to help you master the skill of writing great dialogue.
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Why is it so important to write great dialogue?

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  • 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.

IS WRITING GREAT DIALOGUE RIGHT FOR YOU?

Take this course if ...

  • You love your characters (or your real people) but don't yet feel like they've come fully to life;
  • Your characters (or people) all sound exactly the same;
  • You love writing dialogue but aren't wild about your results;
  • You dread writing dialogue and want to start enjoying it;
  • Your beta-readers say your characters (or people) seem flat or lifeless;
  • You want to feel confident about what your characters say and how (and when) they say it;
  • You're not sure how to get the balance right between dialogue and exposition.
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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

WRITING GREAT DIALOGUE

THE FULL CURRICULUM

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CLICK ON EACH MODULE BELOW TO REVEAL FULL DETAILS
OR CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL CURRICULUM AT A GLANCE
7 Comprehensive Modules  |  2 Bonus Modules  |  42 Targeted Lessons

THE FIVE FUNCTIONS OF DIALOGUE

Introduction

1—Reveal Character

2—Advance Story

3—Reflect Theme

4—Enhance Setting

5—Amplify Tone

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

INTERNAL “DIALOGUE”

  • How to Manage Speech When Your Character is Alone
  • Conveying a Character’s Thoughts

MECHANICS

  • Dialogue Tags (Attributions)
  • Choosing How Dialogue Appears on the Page
  • Tenses and Punctuation
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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.

WRITERS LIKE YOU WHO ARE GETTING RESULTS

  • Applying Joan Dempsey’s teachings, my short stories were selected two years in a row (2016, 2017) for the Florida Writers Association Collection. As her student, I have always been appreciative and fully satisfied as the recipient of her knowledge, expertise, and dedication. I respectfully credit and thank Joan for sharing her ability to cut and polish manuscripts, create great dialogue, and produce quality work. I highly recommend Joan Dempsey as a mentor to help aspiring authors produce publishable writing pieces. I will always be in her debt.
    Cheryl Abney
      Name
  • One of Joan’s outstanding skills is she cuts to the heart of the issues in one’s writing but does it in such a way that inspires and empowers you to get it right. For instance, I didn’t know until I worked with Joan that my characters were flat and sounded exactly alike! Joan helped me breathe life into my people by pointing out how each individual can be recognized by their speech patterns, and how written dialogue is different, and needs to be sharper, than the normal spoken word. Strong dialogue, along with her other suggestions for character development, helped me make huge improvements to my novel. Joan’s input and advice has made me a far better writer. If you want a teacher who is honest, superb at her job, and kind as well, I unhesitatingly recommend Joan. She’s the best!
    Frances Barrett-Reed
      Name
  • I recommend Joan Dempsey's writing courses to any writer wanting to better their craft. Designed for adult learners, her lessons and exercises are directly applicable to improving your writing today. As an instructor, Joan is present and active. Her online revision courses were well worth my time and money. They have been the best investment in strengthening my writing craft.
    Diana Rigor
      Name
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HOW YOU'LL ENGAGE INSIDE THE COURSE

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CHOOSE YOUR ENROLLMENT OPTION

First ... How Much Will You Need to Invest?

You could spend a ton of time online and reading craft books to figure all this out on your own (I spent a good three months doing the necessary research and curriculum design to create this course). Or, you could hire a consultant to coach you on the same material, which would cost close to $2,000 (I know, since that's what I would have to charge for my time). But the full Writing Great Dialogue course will cost you a fraction of that expense, and take you far less time.

For all 7 modules, 2 bonus modules and 42 targeted lessons, you will pay only $67 a month for three months.

(Or, you can save $52 and pay in full right now for $149.)

100% Money Back Guarantee within 15 Days of Enrollment

7 COMPREHENSIVE MODULES
2 BONUS MODULES
42 TARGETED LESSONS
FLEXIBLE PAYMENT SCHEDULE

An investment in knowledge always pays the best dividends.

- Benjamin Franklin

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  • q-iconWhen does the course begin?

    Once you enroll, you can start immediately, or whenever it’s convenient for you. Nothing is on a set schedule, and you have lifetime access, so start whenever you wish.

  • q-iconDo I have to participate at specifically scheduled times?

    No, you don’t! The course is completely asynchronous, which means you can participate at any time you wish, when it’s convenient for you! No worries about scheduling, or living in different time zones. You have access to the full course at all times, and there’s no end date, so come on back whenever you wish.

  • q-iconHow long do I have to complete the course?

    As long as you’d like. Work whenever you wish, whether two in the morning or one in the afternoon. It’s entirely up to you. You’ll have lifetime access to the course, so you can revisit the content at any time.

  • q-iconDo I have to complete the assignments?

    It’s entirely up to you. The proven way to truly master your learning, however, is for you to apply what you’re learning by completing the assignments. If you don’t, you’re short-changing yourself. The assignments have been specifically designed with your learning in mind—complete them and you’ll master new skills, leave them out and you won’t. It’s that simple.

  • q-iconWho facilitates the course?

    I, Joan Dempsey, am your guide. I’m an award-winning author and writing teacher with advanced degrees in both from Antioch University Los Angeles. I love working with writers and I’ll be with you every step of the way during your course.

  • q-iconWhen can I interact with Joan?

    I will always be monitoring your progress, commenting when I can on your work in the comments section, and be available via e-mail to respond your questions, comments, or suggestions. I’m on US Eastern time and will be checking in numerous times a day, Monday through Thursday, to see what you’re up to. (Friday I focus entirely on my own writing.)

  • q-iconI'm not that computer savvy - is the course hard to navigate?

    No. Ruzuku has designed an online learning environment that’s streamlined and simple to navigate. Ruzuku has helpful and friendly online support, and I can also help if you run into trouble. Complicated tech stuff can be frustrating, so the course design is deliberately simple. So far all participants have easily managed. That said, if you are not adept at all with email and the internet, you might find it difficult to learn online.

  • q-iconIs the course accessible to people of all abilities?

    Mostly, yes. I do my best to make sure there are both audible and visual options available for every lesson. Videos have closed captions, text has audio download options, and transcripts of each lesson are included. If you are visually challenged, you’ll need to use your own methods for accessing my emails and the comments within the Ruzuku system, since I have no way to provide audio versions for those things, much as I’d like to. I’m always open to suggestions about how to improve accessibility.

  • q-iconI'm on a limited income - do you have scholarships or discounts?

    I don’t. The price of this course has been set to be as reasonable for you as possible while still allowing me fair compensation (I’m a sole proprietor and a working writer). Compared to similar online courses, my prices are more than fair. I offer a payment plan option, which allows you to pay reasonable installments over time (great for cash flow issues).

  • q-iconWill I interact with other participants?

    You bet! Learning from each other is as important a part of your learning experience as working with me. There are a variety of settings for getting notified about activity in the course so you won’t miss a thing.

    That said, some of the courses end up with hundreds of participants, and in that case I deliberately design the curriculum so you can participate without getting overwhelmed by overcrowded discussions. I will read every comment, but you can choose how or if you want to participate in discussions. Nothing worse that feeling deluged, so I make sure you don’t have to experience that.

    You have control over how you get notified about new activity in the course, too, so you can control how much e-mail you receive. No sense crashing your in-box!

Have more questions?

Email Joan.