Writing Great Dialogue

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Taught by Joe Pfister

Joe Pfister is a writer, teacher, and Tecmo Super Bowl enthusiast living in Brooklyn. His fiction has appeared in such publications as PANK, New World Writing, Juked, and decomP, among others. He is a graduate of the MFA Writing program at Sarah Lawrence College and currently serves as an annual juror for The Scholastic Writing Awards and fiction editor of The Boiler Journal.

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Everyone knows dialogue—how characters talk, what they say (and don’t say)—can make or break a story. But how do you write good dialogue? In this two-hour workshop, we will focus on the basics of writing strong, realistic dialogue by developing a sense of natural speech patterns, balancing exposition, advancing plot, and building character. Utilizing examples from contemporary masters, including Flannery O’Connor, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Richard Russo, we will discuss different techniques and approaches you can incorporate into your own writing. Finally, we will jump-start the process with an in-class writing prompt, which participants will have the opportunity to share and receive constructive feedback in a positive, respectful environment.

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