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Writing Powerful, Characterising Dialogue in Fiction with Joanna Cantor

11 October 2023

In this workshop, we’ll examine both student work and assigned readings by writers such as Bryan Washington, Emma Cline, and Jhumpa Lahiri, focusing on how to write pithy, characterising dialogue as well as several other crucial elements of craft including the interdependent relationship between character and plot and the balance between scene and exposition. During class, we’ll use writing prompts to help generate new work.

Each writer will have the opportunity to submit new work for peer and instructor feedback. Writers will leave this workshop with a heightened instinct for playful, engaging dialogue and more confidence in their craft.

Course 0utline

  • Week 1: Introduction, writing exercise, Anne Lamott, writing process, Bryan Washington
  • Week 2: Jhumpa Lahiri, plot, five modes, student work
  • Week 3: Dialogue, Emma Cline, student work
  • Week 4: Character, ZZ Packer, student work
  • Week 5: Emotion, dialogue, point of view, JD Salinger, student work
  • Week 6: Revision, Antonya Nelson, Jason Brown, Sally Rooney, student work


Once a week from 11 October to 15 November 2023 (6 sessions)

Click here for all the information.


Online via Zoom


The Center for Fiction
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