How to write dialogue

Fantastic session in the Festival Hall with tutor Emily Midorikawa discussing how to use dialogue in fiction – what to say and when to say it; when to use reported speech and when to leave it out altogether. We looked at two short stories and analysed how each writer develops the story through dialogue, then Emily gave us an incredibly useful  (but challenging!) writing exercise to work on dialogue in our own novels:

Write a scene that includes a phrase that has seared itself into the main character’s mind. This involved a two part process of coming up with a suitable phrase then writing the scene – so lots of slipping forwards and backwards in time. I wrote a scene around ‘don’t waste your money on tat made in China.’ The main character, Helen in the novel I’m working on: The Quiet Water Spy learns the hard way that you get what you pay for – a lesson that she takes to heart through the novel!

I’m looking forward to the next session with Emily when we’ll be examining time shifts and transitions in the novel.

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