Dialogue Short Course Review

“Fiction Essentials: Dialogue” with the Australian Writer’s Centre

Last month I completed an online short course with the Australian Writer’s Centre (AWC), refreshing my dialogue skills. I’ve previously done their 30-Day Bootcamp and Fantasy, Science Fiction and More courses (my review of the latter is here).

This time I went for technique. I’ve been writing seriously for over a year and a half now, and think I’m getting the hang of certain things… but there is always room for improvement. I decided to go for dialogue because I’ve always written it intuitively, and wanted to review the ‘professional’ approach.

The Fiction Essentials: Dialogue course was made up of four modules, each with two audio lessons of about half an hour total, an exercise to complete, and a handout to refer back to. I listened to the lessons in the car, with Valerie Khoo’s calm voice explaining the ins and outs of writing what characters say.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Most of the content was not new to me — but the terminology sometimes was, such as ‘paralanguage’. I enjoyed the exercises looking at how personality and character background, as well as reader expectations, can influence dialogue, and reviewed my recent manuscript for repeated facial expressions — I am a fan of eyebrow-raising, it seems. By and large, I found the final module most relevant, which considered how to pull everything together along with how those factors affect other aspects of writing.

Recommendation: 4/5. Clear and relevant, the course delivered what I expected. I’d have liked to consider some non-traditional forms of dialogue, and some parts were pure review, but overall I found the course useful as a beginner/intermediate writer.


A man and a woman facing each other and smiling/open mouthed, with coloured circles representing speech emerging from mouths and meeting
Creative / DigitalVision / Getty Images
Header image by UKT2 from Pixabay

I do not receive renumeration for the course links provided in this review, nor do I accept responsibility for any person’s actions or results upon following said links.

Have you recently learnt something new? Tell us about it in the comments! 🙂

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