Novel Writing Blueprint-Dialogue | Susan Palmquist | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Workhorse of Your Story

    • 3. Dialogue No-Nos

    • 4. How to Write Great Dialogue

    • 5. Class Project and Wrap Up

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About This Class


In this class you'll learn the function of dialogue in a story What dialogue should do and what it shouldn't do. You'll also get tips for ways you can improve your dialogue writing skills.

Meet Your Teacher

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Susan Palmquist

Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru



I’m Susan Palmquist and for the last 20 years I’ve been an author, freelance writer, editor, blogger, teacher and tutor, (and before that I was a publicist).

It feels like I’ve squeezed a lot into two decades and it’s my tips and experience that I’ve learned along the way that I’m now happy to share with you here at Skillshare.

I’d like to show you how you too can write for fun or even for a living whether it be fiction or non-fiction.

Getting published wasn’t easy for me but I’m now the author, (under my own name and pen name Vanessa Devereaux), of 100 plus books and counting. There’s nothing I love more than helping others do the same thing.

I have my own coaching and critiquing business... See full profile

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1. Introduction: hi, everyone, and it's time for the next class in my novel writing blueprint Yearlong class. On this month, we're going to be focusing on dialogue. My name Susan Palmquist, and I'm an author and freelance writer on You don't need to take away the classes in this year long. You know, Kloss novel writing. But I really encourage you to do it because everything kind of fits together. Onda, uh, I think it make more sense. But if there's one particular area off the novel writing process that you're having trouble with or a weakness like that for this month, it might be dialogue. Then you know you're welcome to jump into one of the classes. But like I said, if you're starting out, I think they'll all fit together and make more sense if you take every every one of them. So so far we've covered setting your writing schedule, outlining and plotting how you create captivating characters. On last month, we looked at a point of view. On this month, as I said it, we're moving on to Dar Log or as I like to say, it's how to put words in your character's mouths. So that's dive straight in with Lesson one on. I'll see you there 2. Workhorse of Your Story: Hello and welcome back. And I'm calling this lesson the workhorse off your story because dialogue not many people really think of dialogue goes being the workers. But it serves so many purposes. It's really a very important aspect off novel writing and also writing short stories as well. You know, like I said, serves many purposes. So I'd like to go over each one of them. Um, in this lesson, the 1st 1 is it can reveal something about one of your characters or maybe all of your characters. It could be, you know, secret. They've been hiding all of a suddenly, you know, announce. Oh, I'm on the, you know, the FBI's Most wanted. Listen, the other characters didn't know. I know that's an extreme example, but what a great way to kind of get some suspense in there through a character's dialogue. Another thing it can reveal a feeling something they've been keeping to themselves lots of times. You can put their feelings into inner thoughts, you know, maybe the character till I'm sad today or you can have it revealed through dialogue like, you know, on I've been depressed or I'm there again. What a great thing for a character to reveal to the others. They didn't know that the you know, the character always seems kind of happy and love. Suddenly a lot of suffering from depression. Another thing that it can do its ah reveal how you know the the speech patterns, nationality, social standing education level have what words they choose. Maybe they swear a lot. Well, maybe date, you know, they speak rather like been to ah ah, kind of broom. And into speaking while it tells you a lot about the character and you, the writer, you don't have to do a lot. You don't have to kind of push information on to the reader on Might get seem like you're pushing, but you can do this all through, darling. So what a great like It's a workhorse for your story, and it can reveal something about the plot. There again, it could be a secret that's revealed through a character. They maybe even a cliffhanger. At the end of one of your chapters, they they announce over here with with, you know, we've found someone that's been kidnapped or we've found the sunken treasure or whatever there again, you can do that through dialogue and have a great cliff. Hang up another thing. Dollar Condo's. It can speed up, pacing on. You'll see in. Ah, uh, you know, I think it's the next lesson when I talk about what it shouldn't dio. It can really make a story read fast, and sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes it isn't. I know more editors complain about slow pacing, but I was guilty of the 22 quick pacing. And I'll tell you why. In on upcoming lesson on another thing it can do, it can move the plot forward. Ah, you know it's not stagnant it. You're revealing something that the reader didn't know before. They read that particular scene or chapter or ever another great thing it can do. It can break up long stretches of narration or description on there again that that ties him with the pacing. If you've got to faster pacing, you might wanna put incineration or description or vice versa. You know, there again, it's these Airil elements that are tied in together. So hopefully there you've seen the many purposes off dollar, what it can do for your story On in the next lesson, I'm going to tell you what it shouldn't do. So I'll see you then 3. Dialogue No-Nos: hello and welcome back in the last lesson. I told you what Dar log does for your story. And now I want to go through some what I call the Dar log. No nos on these air. Common things that I see in a lot of the students that I tutor and teach on day are kind of more common problems off the beginning writer. But hopefully, when we've gone through that, these you won't be doing any of this. You never want to use dialogue as an information dump. By that, it's like using your character to tell the reader everything they need to know about the back story or even the current story just for the sake of, you know, getting them called up to speed with the story. That, to me, is very lazy writing. And if you present a manuscript with anything like that to an editor, then you're going to get a rejection. And I think you deserve to, because it is lady writing and no monster. A reader doesn't want to read. Ah, you know, whole pages and pages of what's happened in the last 20 years of characters life. Not that that's not important. Yes, they do need to know a character's back story in the history. But, you know, you have to weave it and just don't dump it all in. And don't dump it in Dar log. Someone saying Oh, yeah. Do you remember when we went there? Yeah, sure, they would remember because they've lived the life with this person. You know, the reader wouldn't, but that comes across as the writer dumping in information. And I think it takes away from what could be potentially a wonderful story. So that's not something you ever wanna use Dar log for. And also, darling shouldn't be used to tell him things they already know. Like I just said, if you've got two characters, for example that have, you know, been friends since kindergarten. You know, I'm meeting up 20 years later and they're going over stuff, but the other person would know, You know, you might say all, do you remember? But don't go into too much detail or other ways that you can weave stuff in and, you know, and also another why should bring up. And I always go over this in in the classes that I have been teaching for the last 10 years . And the example I give is always the two forensic experts that are kind of in their lab. And they're talking with one another and one saying, Oh, I'm putting this under the microscope for look for latent fingerprints. Well, me, you know, I don't work in the lab or not a forensic expert, And I'm sure most of the views of the show or in the case of a book, readers are either, and, you know, I might want to know why they're doing that. But this is, you know, you're meant to come across is a real situation. And if you were talking to a fellow forensic expert like that, I think bed, you know, think you'd lost your mind because yeah, sure, I know that. That's my job. I So there again, that comes across as kind of phony fake. And it looks like, Ah, you know, there again what we call writer into intrusion. You've kind of upset the saying because you're telling these characters something they should already know. Just for the sake of Tallinn. Reda, don't do that. Find another way to work on that. There again comes across as lazy writing. And another thing. And this is what I touched in on. The previous lesson is about the fast pacing and this was my problem. This is why I think I got a lot of rejections and it wasn't until I actually was published and I had a writer other right? Sorry and editor. She sent back my edits on. Um, she put on that. Oh, this is all white room syndrome on, like white room syndrome. What? What is it? So I emailed him back and I said, I have no idea how I'm what This is, how I'm going to correct it. And she said, You've got old dialogue. You've got nothing else but darling and I'm like, really on when I look. Yes, it read like a screenplay on my excuses. I love to write. Dollar gets one of the things I love most about the story writing protests beside creating characters. Onda Mother excuses, I think in another life I was screenwriter. I've always said that on a said I stick to that, but she was right. It was just horrible and she said, It's like sticking. Ah, you know, two characters in a white room. There's nothing else. It's just white walls, white ceiling. What watch that windows and it comes across is just boring to a reader on. After I read the scene she was talking about, I had to agree on what? Wow, I wasn't aware that this was so awful. So her advice was to, ah, you know, have the characters do something. If they said something, they'd get up and maybe straighten a picture on the wall or brush their hair back out of their eyes and not have it sound like a screenplay. So that's a dialogue. No, no, that I learned from, you know, a great editor that pointed that out to me, and I haven't ever done that again. Or I hope I haven't done that again. The White Room syndrome So garlic should know be, you know, everything on a page. Maybe I don't know 11 little bit. You can have dialogue, but have your characters doing something else. So it doesn't seem static. And, um, you know, it just is a wonderful experience for the reader on not like they're stuck in that white room. So they're the doll of no nos. on next up. I'm gonna give you some tips on ways you can improve your dog skill. So I'll see you then. 4. How to Write Great Dialogue: Hello and welcome back and I'd like to go with him, things that can help you learn to write great dialogue. If it's, you know, not one of your strength. I think we can all I love writing dialogue and I've always been told it's one of my strength. But I still ah, you know, practice and make it even better. And I think that's what we all need to strive for. Aziz. Write it on. The first tip is to read screenplays in the last list, and I told you that I think in a previous life I was a screenwriter on a screen plays a great because they they are all dialogue other than a few set directions. Ah, you know the dog heavy on DA the screenwriter, you know, they write some of the best dialogue out there on if they don't, they don't make a living and so pick up a few screenplays or even, you know, TV Screen place. I don't have to be movie screenplays and get a feel for help. The best in the business right dollar. Best way to learn is from the Masters. Another thing you can dio, and this is a thing I've always done throughout my life. And maybe that's why I like Donald local. Maybe it's one of my strength, and I eavesdropped. And yes, it's, you know, not not sometimes a nice thing to eavesdrop on other people's conversations and listening to what people are saying. But if you're a writer on, I'm going to say, This is my excuse. I'm a writer. This is why I do it. It's just wonderful to hear how people talk, and you can incorporate that into your story. You know, maybe some people are pause after certain words or the toe very softly, all very slowly. Some people talk really, really fast, and, you know, if you have a mix of characters, that's wonderful. One talks fast. One talk slow, and people will get to know each character by their their speech. Patton. Maybe some people you know every other word is, Ah, curse word or something. Or there might be some people who don't like other people finish their sentences or that, you know, you hear that all the time. People butting in and it's great to just restaurants are perfect for cafes, coffee shops or whatever. Just sit there sometimes and listen into what people around you were saying even when you wait in line at the post office or, you know, getting your driver's license for you. I've done that all the time, passed the time by listening to conversations around me and incorporated that into characters on I. I think it's made them more lifelike and really made the dollar pop off the page because it sounds so so riel on. Another thing you can do is on This is especially good if, you know dialogue is not your strength. You you maybe don't even like it. I would say Don't avoid the things that you aren't good at because you'll never gonna improve is baby before you sit down to write Ah, your story is, do 10 minutes of daily dollars writing Active on. Actually, you can. This ties in with the class project, which I'll be telling you about in the next lesson, but it really is a good exercise. Whatever you're not good at, just spend 10 minutes working on it even more if you can 20 minutes. But I say minimum 2010 minute dollars writing and nothing else on the Lost thing is, Teoh. When you write dollar, read it aloud. I've read everything you know, even pros and my description and in assaults. But if you reach a dog allowed you, you know, out it seems strange. And you know what? I usually do it when no one else he's around. So they don't think I'm I lost my mind. But if you read it out, you can kind of get a feel for whether it sounds or scenting some dialogue. It just sounds like a writer has written it. And I know you're probably saying, Well, yeah, right did write it. But it shouldn't come across his eyes should be so that in the reader's mind, these air to real people who are having a conversation And if you read it aloud, um, you get a feel for that, Does it sound authentic? Does it sound like actual real people, or does it sound like over it? So these ah, four tips that I strongly encourage you, Teoh, incorporate practice If you feel that dialogue is not your strength, all that you just, you know, wanna even take your dollar writing up to another level, so that's about it. for older tips and in the rap publish. And I'm gonna tell you about the class project and what's coming next. So I'll see you then. 5. Class Project and Wrap Up: Hello. I am welcome back, and here we are at the wrap up. Listen for this month's Kos on, I'll just go over your class project. I want you to take two characters. It could be characters from a story you're working on. Or even if you're not working on something, maybe a book you've written you can pick out two characters on. I want you to write at least two pages of just pure dialogue with those two characters, things that they would say to one another. And I know I've told you you shouldn't have all dollar But this is just for dialogue. Practice Onda, you know, come up with a kind of writing prompt of writing scenario and have them go back and forth on practice, your dialogue writing skills with those two characters. Or, if you're finding it hard with just two characters, you know, maybe three, maybe four, but just have, you know, and have some fun with it, too. I think all these exercises should be fun. And, uh, I hope you'll find this one a good, good class project for you. Um, and if you have any any questions or concerns and not just about dialogue. Anything to do with novel writing? Um, I'm here for you. Just leave. Ah, you know, common or ah, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. And I'm here to help you in any way I can. I want you to by the end of year. How for a lot of you know, new skill to maybe even a novel finish. That would be so great if no, by the end of the year, you're ready to send out a novel. And I'm here to help you in anywhere can. Now the, uh, June classes a little. It's focused on pacing your story, which will time a little bit with the what I've touched on today with dialogue, you'll see how everything is going to start to time together. So encourage you to look out for that next month and hit the follow button. And then you'll get notification when I upload that class, probably around the same time as I'm releasing this one. Usually around well, the eighths somewhere between the eighth and 12th of every month. But if you hit the full of button, you'll be notified straightaway. Onda, as always, I want to thank you very much for taking this class. We're taking my other classes and, um, you know, having trusted me to teach you these writing skills, I appreciate each and every one of yet on until next time. I wish you happy writing and take care also, you saying bye.