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Craft Conversations: Dialogue

July 17, 2021
10:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. (one session)


Dialogue, as much as anything else, reveals the character to the writer and, ultimately to the reader. I don’t have a very clear idea of who the characters are until they start talking.
~ Joan Didion

Sometimes, when I’m lucky, a line of dialogue, either something I’ve dreamed up or overheard, will spark a story. Because dialogue is so revealing it can be an entrance point, a moment when a character speaking, reveals themself on the page. Because dialogue is the only time the reader directly hears from the characters without the filter of the narrator, the spoken words become a measure for the heart and mind of the characters.

What do they want?
What are they trying to gain or conceal?
How is dialog different than spoken language?
How can we move the story forward in the voices of our characters?
What makes dialog zing?

We will discuss all of these and more with examples, handouts, and exercises. Dialog is one of my favorite parts reading, writing and teaching. It will be a win win win of a conversation.

Access Program
We want our writing classes to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. Our Access Program offers writing class registrations at a reduced rate. The access program for writing classes covers 60% of the class tuition. Most writing classses have at least one access spot available. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you would like to take a writing class at the Access Rate.


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Natalie Serber

Natalie Serber is the author of a memoir, Community Chest, and a story collection, Shout Her Lovely Name, a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, a summer reading selection from O, the Oprah Magazine, and an Oregonian Top 10 Book of the Pacific Northwest. Her fiction has appeared in The Greensboro ReviewThe Bellingham ReviewGulf CoastInkwell, and elsewhere. Essays and reviews have appeared in The New York TimesO, The Oprah MagazineThe Huffington Post and others. Natalie has been short listed in Best American Short Stories. She received her MFA from Warren Wilson College. Visit her online at natalieserber.com.
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