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EGL 54 W — Dialogue Writing: Putting Words in Someone Else's Mouth

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 11—Mar 19
Drop Deadline: Jan 14
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Joshua Mohr
Limit: 20
Status: Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Winter
Flex Online(About Formats)
Date(s)
Jan 11—Mar 19
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 14
3 Units
Fees
$910
Instructor(s):
Joshua Mohr
Limit
20
Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
We often hear expressions like, “We’ll see what she says about that!” In real life, there’s anticipation in hearing people express themselves, and the same is true in narrative construction. Dialogue is one of our most powerful tools in building character and propelling plot. So how do we best maximize its effects? Our characters need to speak in order to voice their opinions, woes, aspirations, biases, phobias, and regrets. Scenes rich in dialogue allow our readers to observe the action and characters for themselves. 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 in order 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.

Joshua Mohr, Author

Joshua Mohr is the author of five novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He has also written Fight Song and Some Things That Meant the World to Me, one of O, The Oprah Magazine’s 10 Terrific Reads of 2009. Mohr’s novel Termite Parade was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. All This Life received a Northern California Book Award. His first book of nonfiction, Sirens, is a memoir. Mohr received an MFA from the University of San Francisco.