Friday & Saturday 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm July 17 to July 18, 2020
6:30 – 8:30pm ET / 3:30 – 5:30pm PT
Dialogue is an important and huge part of the craft of fiction. It’s also one of the most commonly misused parts — imitating Twain and trying to spell out dialects the way you hear them, using modifiers to explain way too much about the speaker (he shouted, he pontificated). There are so many different pitfalls and ways to do things wrong. This bootcamp will focus on the purpose of dialogue and then on the art of forming strong dialogue.
We’ll cover fundamentals: the basic role of the spoken word in revealing characters, the importance of imitating a recreation of the way people speak (as opposed to transcribing), how to build a longer conversation, winning and losing in an argument, what do I do about dialect, all these things will be addressed. Special attention will be paid to subtext, and the idea of getting to the story behind the story, which is to say, the real story. A number of excerpts, from writers including David Foster Wallace. Junot Diaz, Jonathan Franzen, and Truman Capote, will be consulted. Students will receive handouts so they can follow along. There will be in-class assignments as well. We will work hard and have lots of fun, and learn a ton.
This course will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first class.
Charles Bock is the author of the novels Alice & Oliver and Beautiful Children, which was a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book, and which won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times, the Believer, Vice, the Los Angeles Times, and Slate, as well as in numerous anthologies. He has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Yaddo, UCross, and the Vermont Studio Center. Charles is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He lives with his daughter in New York City.
By Charles Bock
By Charles Bock
Published by Random House
One Saturday night in Las Vegas, twelve-year-old Newell Ewing goes out with a friend and doesn’t come home. In the aftermath of his disappearance, his mother, Lorraine, makes daily pilgrimages to her son’s room and tortures herself with memories. Equally distraught, the boy’s father, Lincoln, finds himself wanting to comfort his wife even as he yearns for solace, a loving touch, any kind of intimacy.
As the Ewings navigate the mystery of what’s become of their son, the circumstances surrounding Newell’s vanishing and other events on that same night reverberate through the lives of seemingly disconnected strangers: a comic book illustrator in town for a weekend of debauchery; a painfully shy and possibly disturbed young artist; a stripper who imagines moments from her life as if they were movie scenes; a bubbly teenage wiccan anarchist; a dangerous and scheming gutter punk; a band of misfit runaways. The people of Beautiful Children are “urban nomads,” each with a past to hide and a pain to nurture, every one of them searching for salvation and barreling toward destruction, weaving their way through a neon underworld of sex, drugs, and the spinning wheels of chance.
In this masterly debut novel, Charles Bock mixes incandescent prose with devious humor to capture Las Vegas with unprecedented scope and nuance and to provide a glimpse into a microcosm of modern America. Beautiful Children is an odyssey of heartache and redemption heralding the arrival of a major new writer.
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