A Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Lewis Robinson
Maximum Attendees: 12
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→ Dibner Fellowship (FELLOWSHIP DEADLINE: Monday, March 3 at 9:00 p.m.)
“I’ll come right out and say it: I love writing dialogue,” admits author Lewis Robinson. “I’m always willing to march through the tall grass of exposition to get to the next powwow, shouting match, whisper. How can I assemble these folks again for some talking?” Dialogue, says Robinson, provides writers and readers alike with vivid occasions to bear witness.
Of course, a narrative can suffer from overstuffed or extraneous dialogue; every story must earn its opportunities to showcase conversation. When is dialogue necessary, and what exactly creates a charged, energetic scene? Fictional dialogue is made to seem like real speech—it mimics the patterns—but it’s more stylized than transcribed conversation. This workshop is designed for fiction writers of any experience level. Attendees will read short excerpts of dialogue from the work of Alice Munro, Nicholson Baker, Richard Ford, Lydia Davis, John Cheever, and Z.Z. Packer. Participants will complete technique-focused writing exercises, share work, and discuss strategies.
Preparation: Attendees are asked to please bring the following to the workshop:
1. A one-page (double-spaced, 12-point type) exchange of dialogue between two or three characters from your own work. Bring 13 copies.
2. One page from a published work of fiction that features interesting dialogue you love. Bring 13 copies.
Lewis Robinson is the author of the novel Water Dogs (Random House, 2009), a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, and Officer Friendly and Other Stories (HarperCollins, 2003), winner of the PEN/Oakland-Josephine Miles Award and a Whiting Award. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Missouri Review, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times Book Review, and on NPR’s program Selected Shorts. Robinson lives in Portland where he is at work on his third book.