Learning to write dialogue
“As a beginning novelist long ago, I learned to write dialogue not in a fiction workshop ruled by a sophisticated “mentor,” but by reading Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter over and over again. There were uncanny reverberations in those short, plain sentences, and a peculiarly suspenseful arrest of a character’s intent. The perfected work was the mentor.”
“On Being a Novice Playwright”
from The Writing Life anthology
I got into a bit of a dust up over at the Poets and Writers message board some months ago when I asserted that a novice writer really doesn’t need to learn the so-called “rules” of grammar. I believe that one can learn all they need to know by reading good writing. The perfected work can be the mentor, as Ozick says.
I was shouted down, but I still believe I am right.
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