In this full-day workshop we will focus on what dialogue is good for and what it isn’t.

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Sunday, March 26, 10am-4pm
Open to all.
Limited to 12 participants.

Dialogue is one of the key tools a writer can use in fiction and nonfiction. Good dialogue makes a scene sizzle with energy and life. Not only is it the words the characters speak to one another, dialogue reveals personality and voice, creates humour, generates tension, plays with pace, and dramatizes relationships. 

In this full-day workshop we will focus on what dialogue is good for and what it isn’t. By touching on the three different ways of using dialogue (summary, indirect and direct), we will examine how dialogue reveals theme and the various formatting and styles of dialogue.

In the first half of the workshop, we will examine several excerpts from writers like Roddy Doyle, ZZ Packer, Akhil Sharma, Deborah Levy, and Eden Robinson. We will discuss how these authors use dialogue to accomplish several things at once and how this layering generates more compelling scenes. In the second half of the workshop the participants will have an opportunity to try two exercises, one on conflict and the other on silence, which will strengthen their knowledge and skill of how to use dialogue in their writing.

Each participant will leave with a handout summarizing the highlights of how to use dialogue.

A week before the workshop, a document with the readings will be sent out for the participants to read prior to attending the workshop. 

This workshop will take place at the QWF Office (Room 3, 1200 Atwater Avenue, Westmount, Quebec) with up to 2 virtual spots for participants who are unable to attend in-person.

Workshop leader

Credit: Jonah Walker-Sherman
Marcia Walker’s writing has appeared in Electric Literature’s Recommended Reads, The New Quarterly, Fiddlehead, The Chicago Review, The New York Times, PRISM international, Room, EVENT, The Globe and Mail, CBC radio and elsewhere. She has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, PRISM’s fiction and non-fiction prize, and the Writers’ Union of Canada short prose competition. She has completed residencies at Yaddo, the Banff Centre, Vermont Studio Center and will attend Saari, Finland in early 2023. Originally from Shakespeare, Ontario, she now makes her home in Montreal where she teaches creative writing online through the University of Toronto.


Registration for this workshop is now closed.