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Arc of a Story
Pioneer Valley Writer’s Workshop
In this 4-week craft class, we’ll take a deep look at structure. The first class will focus on beginnings, the second class on middles, the third class on endings, and the fourth class on the overall arc of a story. Over the course of the four weeks, we’ll consider how beginnings, middles, and endings play out in a variety of short pieces, both fiction and nonfiction, linear and non-linear, traditional and experimental. And as we cover the main components of structure, we’ll also touch upon character development, dialogue, and details, and how these aspects influence the trajectory of a story. Each class will include discussion of craft elements, readings that illuminate the subject at hand, and writing prompts. Open to prose writers of all levels.
Mastering the Art of Dialogue: From Blah Blah Blah to He Said, She Said
January 27, 2018
Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop
Ever get the sneaking suspicion that characters are talking at you? Ever muddle through a conversation on the page that feels stiff, false, speechy, or preachy? Ever wonder if a writer lifted a conversation verbatim from a real-life scenario? Ever question why some dialogue livens a story while other dialogue bores? Ever struggle with how to get more than two characters talking without confusion? Ever want to use dialogue to convey important details and illuminate plot but don’t know where to begin? Writing dialogue is an art form unto itself. It takes its first cue from daily conversation, but it also requires a deft hand and a smart ear to move out of blah blah blah and into a skillful volley.
In this craft class, we’ll discuss how to master the art of dialogue. We’ll start with how dialogue functions in writing and why some dialogue feels natural and other dialogue stiff. We’ll look at some examples of dialogue and discuss what is successful and what isn’t. We’ll spend some time talking about the art of listening, which is intimately related to writing effective dialogue. Finally, we’ll try our hands at some fun exercises to get your he said, she said juices flowing.