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An update from our seventy-third Writing Workshop

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday, November 5 

Today’s workshop called for the writers to pull from their own bookshelves and study the ins and outs of literary dialogue. The participants were asked to share out especially inspiring scenes of dialogue from their favorite books and identify why this dialogue was employed by the author. Examples included Keepers of the Lost City by Shannon Messenger and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. We then reviewed a side-by-side comparison of the same scene from Harry Potter in both script and prose form in order to learn about the powers of subtext and providing background information in an engaging way. With these concepts in mind, the students entered into a five-minute write, in which they were challenged to recreate this scene from Harry Potter using only omniscient third-person narration. After time was up, Katelyn shared her impressive work. The writers then studied a number of examples of dialogue and characterization from classic literature and opera, including Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend and Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland. In these works we observed the power of spoken dialogue over simple narration in certain situations. We then sent the writers into their 30-minute writing period with efficient, character-based dialogue in mind. The day’s readers included Greta, Yueling, Katelyn, Kristen, Crystal, and Nova.

The Challenge: Write a story or poem incorporating effective, sophisticated dialogue between two or more characters.

The Participants: Anya, Ava, Celia, Crystal, Greta, Katelyn, Kristen, Nova, Pearl, Reethi, Yueling

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