Online: Character and Dialogue: Bringing Characters to Life

Amy Lovat

Monday 5 August to Friday 13 September 2024, online

Full Price: $660
Member: $495
Conc Member: $430

This writing course, Online: Character and Dialogue: Bringing Characters to Life with Amy Lovat, takes place online.

In this course with author Amy Lovat, you’ll explore the fundamentals of character and dialogue so you can work on driving the narrative forward and engaging your reader.

Creating realistic characters who your readers can connect to, care about and invest in should be the top goal when writing fiction. The better you know your characters, the more they come to life on the page.

Is this course right for you? Read our FAQ > 

Character and dialogue are intertwined in the craft of writing: realistic dialogue breathes life into your characters, but you also need to truly know your characters to understand how they’d communicate with people and the world around them.

Dialogue is not just what characters say, it’s who they are. As Stephen King says in On Writing, ‘… dialogue gives your cast their voices, and is crucial in defining their characters.’ What would they say out loud, and what would they keep to themselves? What happens when they say one thing, but do another?

This course takes place on a website specifically designed for writers, making it simple and easy to share your writing, give and receive feedback, and interact with fellow writers.

Please expect to dedicate a minimum of 3-4 hours to coursework each week. This includes reading, responding to discussions, writing, revising and providing peer feedback. (There will be a one-week break for Easter.)

Course Outline

Week 1: Getting started with characters

Let’s get to know your characters with some character-building exercises, starting with the basics like their age and what they look like, through to the juicier detail of what makes them tick.

Week 2: Getting started with dialogue

Let’s start with the nuts and bolts of dialogue, the rules (that are sometimes made to be broken!) and fundamentals of crafting speech in fiction so you can confidently create an authentic voice for your protagonist.

Week 3: Your characters in the world

This week, we’ll dive deeper into how your characters behave and react to the world around them, and explore how place and setting can be used to show character conflict, tension and motivation.

Week 4: Show don’t tell

You’ve likely heard of the ‘golden rule’ of writing: show don’t tell. But what does it actually mean, and how can we achieve a solid balance of showing and telling to create believable characters and realistic dialogue?

Week 5: Creating complex characters

Once we’ve started to really get to know your characters, that’s when the magic can happen. They become real, complex and flawed (yes, even your heroes!). So, let’s explore how well you really know them… further than the dating-profile type questions we brainstormed in our Week 1 writing exercises.

Week 6: Diving deeper with dialogue

What makes dialogue different to real-world speech? What’s the best way to balance action with dialogue? Let’s talk about how to avoid pages and pages of description, and long scenes of characters acting like ‘talking heads’ with no movement or clear setting. We’ll round out the course with discussion of next steps, publishing opportunities, and how to pull your skills together!

Expected Learning Outcomes

In this workshop, participants will:

  1. Develop understanding of the relationship between character and dialogue
  2. Consider the ways in which setting and environment influence character motivation
  3. Develop skills to demonstrate direct and indirect characterisation in their writing
  4. Learn how to edit their own writing for a balance of action and dialogue
  5. Learn how to create complex, nuanced characters that engage readers.

Participant Requirements

Internet access and confidence using basic computer software are essential for this program. Please read our FAQ before enrolling.

You do not need to log into the course at a specific time and there are no live meetings. You will receive an email with an invitation link to join the online classroom by 10am on the day the course starts.

Please expect to spend a minimum of three to four hours per week on the course, noting that the amount of time needed to read, respond to discussions, write, revise and critique will vary from person to person. To get the most out of this course, we recommend logging in at least once a week. You don’t need to log in at a specific time.

  • You can complete the lesson material in your own time.
  • There will be assignments which have deadlines. To be guaranteed tutor feedback, you will need to complete the assignments by the deadline.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

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Online: Character and Dialogue: Bringing Characters to Life


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