Kristin FitzPatrick: Believe Me – Writing Dialogue That Rings True

5 Saturdays, August 19 – September 23 (skip September 2), 10:30am-1pm  Berkeley 
$275 members/$295 non-members

“Dialogue is not conversation. It is conversation’s greatest hits.”

– Amy Bloom

“Writing sharp dialogue is tough,” says instructor Kristin FitzPatrick. “If you’re like me, you’re afraid it’ll go on too long, or every character will sound the same, or that what they say just won’t ring true.”

In this class, we’ll learn how to get through the initial obstacles and write conversations that build tension in every line. Reading excerpts from Ann Patchett, Raymond Carver, and John Cheever, we’ll learn how to use dialogue to slow down action-packed scenes and to give readers a taste of how folks sound. During in-class writing exercises and homework assignments, we’ll try out strategies to move the story along at a steady clip and that help readers get to know the characters better.

By the end of the course, we’ll be able to write spare, loaded dialogue that reveals details about characters and gets to the heart of their conflict. We’ll also practice writing the stuff around the dialogue—action and description—that brings our characters’ voices to life.

Kristin FitzPatrick is the author of My Pulse is an Earthquake, a short story collection published in 2015 by West Virginia University Press. Her work has appeared in Colorado ReviewThe Southeast Review, Best of Gival Press Short Stories, Epiphany, and Ventura County Star. Her writing has also been chosen for the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, The New Short Fiction Series and Stories on Stage. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Jentel Artist Residency Program and The Seven Hills School. Originally from Michigan, she now lives in Alameda.

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