Friday, April 20, 2012

Fiction Intensive: Dialogue with Matt de la Pena

The dialogue workshop with Matt de la Pena was well worth the time. Matt's a very down-to-earth guy and it was a pleasure to sit in on this session. This was the first pre-conference intensive I've ever attended and I'll likely come back again next year.

Matt focused on some key components of effective dialogue that every writer can apply immediately to their own work:

- Great dialogue enable the reader to interact with characters, not the writer.

- Dialogue is never polished in the first draft. 

- You can summarize dialogue.

- Keep things organic. Readers can tell when dialogue is stilted or forced.

Matt read some excerpts from several books and it cemented how difficult dialogue can be to write. My first step in revising my own novel will be to rework the dialogue. Thanks a ton, Matt!


  1. Thanks for the summary of his points, Kirk. I would love to see the changes you make after taking this workshop to see your application of the material. Maybe you can give me some pointers at our next table discussion at NCWA.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Kirk. Hope the rest of the weekend is fabulous for you!