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Writing Workshops

The Spoken Role with Charles Bock


2 Sessions

Out of stock

Friday & Saturday 6:00 pm EDT - 8:15 pm EDT June 11 to June 12, 2021

Online via Zoom

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.

All Levels
Capacity: 20

This workshop will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first session.


Led by

  • bock

    Charles Bock

    Charles Bock

    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.