Dialogue Is Not Conversation: Using the Spoken Word Effectively in Fiction

Dialogue and conversation are not synonyms: conversation is when two or more people talk to each other; dialogue is a literary form that provides the illusion of transcribed speech to either establish character, advance the plot, or preferably, both. Through a combination of lecture, in-class exercises, and discussion, we'll explore what makes good dialogue, what makes bad dialogue, and how to tell the difference. We'll also look at goal-oriented dialogue, subtext, action, differentiating your characters through the words they say, as well as the technical mechanics—everything you'll need to get your characters saying the right thing.

This course is available only as part of the Southbank Writer's Program in Surrey.


  • John Mavin

    John Mavin has taught creative writing at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser... read more


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