EGL 54 W — Dialogue Writing: Putting Words in Someone Else's Mouth
In this course, students will learn the principles of sculpting unique dialogue for each player. We will start with the most ubiquitous problem in dialogue construction: all the characters sounding basically the same. From there, we will build unique diction and syntax grids for each character. The course will go on to examine ways to maximize the potential of nonverbal dialogue, gesturing, and body language, to augment and complicate the action. Through weekly writing exercises and several examples ranging from noir to magical realism, students will examine a wide range of influences—Denis Johnson, Mary Robison, and James Baldwin, among others—casting a wide net to help them hone their own compelling dialogue.
This is the second course of the four-quarter sequence “The Craft of Creative Writing: The Dramatic Toolkit.” The four courses will focus on Scene (Fall 2017), Dialogue (Winter 2018), Plot (Spring 2018), and Language (Summer 2018). These courses are less workshop-oriented than most Continuing Studies Creative Writing courses, instead devoting each quarter to an intensive and wide-ranging practicum in a key question of craft. The purpose of these courses is to give students a more comprehensive treatment of craft issues than might be found in other courses. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.