This is Lesson 11 of CWN's fiction writing syllabus. If you teach creative writing, you can use the creative writing lesson plans here to give you ideas for your own classroom. To go to Lesson 1, click here.
The reading assignments in these creative writing lessons are all from Charles Baxter's story collection, A Relative Stranger.
Creative Writing Lesson Plans - 11: Dialogue (continued).
Lecture material: More on Writing Dialogue
Reading: Charles Baxter, "Sheherazade."
Discussion focus: "Sheherazade" is an example of fiction where the action takes place through dialogue. Why does the woman tell the stories she tells? How does the writer show that there's a gap between what she is saying and what she is thinking? What does this tell the reader? Students should find examples of dialogue tags. Then they should find examples of stretches of dialogue without tags. How do they know who is speaking when?
In-class activity: In pairs, students rewrite their dialogue from the previous class, adding dialogue tags if/where needed.
In-class activity: 10-minute writing about one of the creative writing ideas on this story starters page.
Homework: Students read "Silent Movie" by Charles Baxter and rewrite one of the 10-minute assignments they have done as in-class writing. This time, students must not look at the original piece as they are rewriting. They have to actually rewrite it, from start to finish. Explain that this is sometimes a helpful way to get a fresh perspective. Then students have the option to compare both drafts and create a version that combines the best of both.
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