Craft focus: dialogue in fiction
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: HW655
Duration: 1 session
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What is the course about?
Writing good dialogue takes practice and patience. This short course will explore ways to develop that all-important ‘ear for dialogue’ through writing exercises and analysis of proven techniques.
Please note: this course will have a 2hr lunch break.
What will we cover?
- Understanding dialogue: what is it?
- Exploring what dialogue should and should not be expected to do in fiction.
- Consistency, cause and effect.
- Non-verbal communication and using dialogue to generate subtext.
- Managing multiple voices and/or using idiom.
- Formatting and technical aspects of dialogue.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify the different functions and challenges of dialogue in fiction.
- Understand how dialogue stems from character and demonstrate understanding in a writing exercise.
- Craft a compelling dialogic exchange between two or more characters.
- Format dialogue according to standard British convention.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an intermediate course suitable for those who have some experience of creative writing. You will need to be an avid reader and comfortable sharing/reading your work aloud. Fluency in English is essential.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor-led discussion, analysis of published work, in-class exercises, workshopping material, tutor feedback.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day, regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring writing materials. It may also be helpful to bring along an idea of some characters you would like to get talking, perhaps from a current work-in-progress.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may be interested in expanding your study of fiction on one of our term-long writing courses such as Writing fiction, or if you are ready to submit your work for rigorous constructive feedback, Advanced fiction writing workshop.
In addition, you may want to continue study on our Craft Focus courses. You can choose from intensive courses on point of view, setting, character, and more. Better still, why not collect them all! Check the website for dates and times.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
A former journalist, Sophie McKenzie attended a writing class at City Lit in 2003 and has been writing fiction ever since. She has published over 25 books - including award-winning teen thrillers and crime fiction novels for adults. She is currently writing a new story featuring several strong female characters and working on a drama script for a TV production company.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.