Online: Story Through Character and Dialogue
Wednesday 11 August to 17 August 2021, online
Full Price: $210
Conc Member: $135
Character and dialogue are intertwined and an excellent line of dialogue can do a lot of character building in one hit. But to get to that excellent line, you need to know your character in detail before they open their mouth. The payoff is worth the effort – excellent dialogue will bring your characters to life.
‘Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favour!’
– Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
What is said aloud, what is thought, and what is left unsaid? What is said by the character and what is expressed through action? What does a character say to their mother that may be different to what they say to their best friend, their boss, their psychologist?
Background, age, beliefs, quirks, setting, language choice – these are just a few of the elements that make up your character’s experience leading up to the moment they first appear on the page. All of these and more influence how your character communicates with the world, and how they interact with others.
Topics we will cover include:
- Examining who your characters are in detail
- Real-world dialogue versus written
- Cutting to the chase
- Using action beats
- Playing with contrasts
- Character building and revealing
- Consistency and difference in dialogue between characters
- Driving the plot
- Dialogue tags
This course involves submitting short writing exercises, and giving and receiving peer feedback. Participants will receive limited tutor feedback.
Expected Learning Outcomes
- Increase their understanding of the connection between character and dialogue.
- Apply examples to their own writing to evaluate and improve dialogue and its impact on characterisation.
- Reflect on their current writing practice when it comes to dialogue and subtext.
- Experiment with different forms of communication with their characters.
We’ve designed this online course to meet your learning needs. You can work through the lesson material, ask questions, and engage with fellow writers throughout the course. Internet access and confidence using basic computer software are essential for this program. Please read our FAQ before enrolling.
Please expect to spend a minimum of six hours 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.
- Participants will work through several lessons, which will open sequentially over the first few days of the course (see course dates in the blue box above).
- You can complete the lesson material in your own time.
- This course includes short writing assignments and the opportunity to give and receive peer feedback, and some tutor feedback.
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About the tutor
R.W.R. McDonald (Rob) is an award-winning author, and author of two novels. His debut novel, The Nancys, won Best First Novel in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards, as well as being a finalist in the Best Novel category. It was also shortlisted for Best First Novel in the 2020 Ned Kelly Awards, and Highly Commended for an Unpublished Manuscript […]