In this ten-day crash course, Suzy Vitello—den mother of Chuck Palahniuk's writing group—will teach you the secrets of writing dialogue that sings.
Your Instructor: Suzy Vitello, author of THE MOMENT BEFORE and THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES
Where: Online — Available everywhere!
When: February 10, 2015 - February 19, 2015
When you study writing with Suzy Vitello you’re studying with Tom Spanbauer and Gordon Lish and Chelsea Cain. Suzy is one of the rare writers who recognize and collect skills from a wide range of master storytellers. She’s become a one-woman MFA program. Better yet, she’s Suzy Vitello, a compassionate teacher who sees that, whether or not they’re published, writers are human beings, and she treats them with patience and respect. —Chuck Palahniuk
It's easy to write dialogue. It's not so easy to write good dialogue—and bad dialogue can sink a scene and disengage a reader pretty quickly.
Good dialogue needs to be immediate. It needs to be resonant. It needs to sing on the page.
Suzy Vitello, the den mother of Chuck Palahniuk's Portland-based writing workshop, and author of The Moment Before and The Empress Chronicles, is a pro at writing and editing dialogue that grabs a reader. In this ten-day intensive, she'll demystify the art and craft of writing effective dialogue. Through five craft lectures and Q&A discussion threads, participants will gain new tools and have access to a forum to solve their dialogue-related conundrums.
This class will be broken up into four main parts:
The first five days of the course will consist of five in-depth lectures developed by Suzy on how to write stronger dialogue. And as an added bonus, the final lecture will include exclusive dialogue-writing tips from Chuck Palahniuk, Lidia Yuknavitch, Chelsea Cain and Monica Drake!
Q & A
The ten-day class will feature an on-going Q & A thread where participants can take part in discussion forums where they will be free to ask Suzy about the lectures or other dialogue-related questions.
Once the five-day lecture portion of the class is complete, students will be asked to submit a prompt-driven writing assignment of a specified page count in order to test out their new skills. Participants will have the option of posting their homework for input from classmates.
From the assignments, five submissions will be selected at random to be critiqued by Suzy and shared with the class for more in-depth study on how to apply the lessons.
And as an added, final bonus: Three more students will be selected at random at the end of class to have their work critiqued by Suzy—anything they want, up to ten pages. She'll then deliver detailed, line-by-line critiques to those students post-class.
What This Class Covers
1. The pros and cons of “blocking”
Is narrative necessary to avoid talking heads? And if so, how much is enough when it comes to dressing up the chatter?
2. Don’t try and advance the plot with dialogue
Have you ever been tempted down this road? “Oh, James, ever since my very unsuccessful real estate transaction with my ex-husband of six years, I’ve been reluctant to buy a house.” Learn what the alternatives are, and also why in back-and-forth passages between characters you should resist resolution and completion.
3. Some alternatives to traditional attribution
How to avoid the dead zone rhythm of “he said” “she said.” With examples from some of your favorite authors.
4. How to get more authority in your dialogue
It’s not always about what is said. This lecture will consider placement, authenticity, narrative pace and other aspects of authority-building.
5. Ten things to change about your dialogue starting today
A distillation of the art and craft of fantastic dialogue.
Goals Of This Class
- Learn to write more authentic dialogue that engages the reader
- Gain new tools to solve dialogue-related conundrums
- Get your questions about dialogue answered
- Be entered to win the chance for a critique from Suzy
LitReactor offers a unique approach to a writing education: You study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. We bring in veteran authors and industry professionals to host classes covering a wide range of topics in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. You get detailed feedback on your work and take part in discussions in a judgement-free zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, our workshops are about working together to achieve your writing goals.
Where do classes take place?
Entirely online. So, anywhere you have Internet access.
Are there certain times when the whole class needs to "meet" online?
Nope. Our students come from all over the globe. Everything is posted online and accessible 24/7. (We do occasionally schedule phone chats, but try to reach a consensus on timing.)
What does a typical class consist of?
It varies, but nearly all our classes include weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
How much experience do you need to take a class?
Beginner or pro, everyone is welcome. We encourage all skill levels.
Got more questions? Click here for an extended FAQ.
And click here to explore a sample class that shows our layout and features.