Write Dialogue Like a Pro with Elizabeth Sims

Write Dialogue Like a Pro with Elizabeth Sims. $25 class. Wednesday, July 14, 2021. 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern.

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Masterful Techniques to Achieve Realism, Fuel Action, and Boost Character

Brenda snapped her pencil and threw down the pieces. “I’ll never get my characters to sound real!” she said. Her cat, Thor, listened indifferently.

“My writing group says my characters all sound the same,” Brenda went on, “and remember that agent from the conference? He told me my dialogue came across as ‘stiff and improbable.’ I don’t know what to do. If only there was some kind of online teaching about dialogue—just that!—where I could get reliable advice from an expert. Solid techniques, Thor, I need solid techniques!” She wrung her hands. “I think even a one-session, focused class could be just the thing, provided it doesn’t cost too much.”

Thor jumped down from the desk and stretched. Then, hearing a possible mouse, he streaked away, leaving Brenda, heavy hearted, to sharpen a new pencil and try again.

Many writers can relate to Brenda. It’s plain your dialogue doesn’t sing. But how do you make it better?

Great writers use dialogue to reveal the hearts and minds of their characters, to create conflict and humor, to fuel action, and rivet readers’ attention. They know that readers typically form their first impression of a story from its dialogue—more so than from plot. And they work to bring the utmost realism to the words their characters speak and think.

In this 75-minute live webinar, instructor and award-winning author Elizabeth Sims will give you the same tools the pros use to craft terrific dialogue. She’ll start by unlocking the great paradox of dialogue: Authors must write dialogue that comes across as real and believable, yet why does actual speech usually sound so dumb when transcribed onto the page? She’ll cover the basics of good dialogue, then move into the nuts and bolts of generating ideas for dialogue, how to use characters’ words—instead of narrative—to bring them to life, how to stay out of trouble when writing tricky passages, and more.

You’ll learn: 

  • How to develop your ear for the “gold nuggets” in ambient speech
  • How to use dialogue to bring realism and immediacy to your fiction
  • Effective ways to represent emotion in dialogue
  • How to give characters distinctive dialogue markers
  • A good way to brainstorm great dialogue
  • Punctuation and grammar rules to remember—or forget
  • An easy way to summarize dialogue in narrative
  • How to use interrupting to sharpen pace
  • Techniques to represent internal dialogue (character’s thoughts)
  • How to write complex conversations involving multiple characters
  • How to represent accents and foreign-language passages

After taking this class, your sharp dialogue will instantly distinguish your writing, and be more likely to attract the favorable attention you want.

Who should take this class

  • Writers working with a full or partial manuscript who want to build their dialogue skills to a professional level
  • Writers who are about to launch into a new fiction or creative nonfiction project and want solid guidance—and inspiration
  • Writers who have been struggling to create realistic dialogue
  • Writers with specific questions about dialogue and the process of creating it
  • Writers who have received consistent feedback indicating their dialogue isn’t as strong as it should be
  • Published authors who want to take their work up a notch

How do I know if this webinar is worth the cost?

This is an important question, and it’s a tough one to answer—especially since so much online education is available free of charge. Furthermore, every student is different, and a valuable webinar for one person can end up being a disappointment to another. For this reason, we offer full refunds if you register, attend the entire class, and fail to get the information you were looking for. Please contact us to request a refund.

Do I have to attend the live class?

No. Everyone who registers will get access to the recording. However, if you’d like to attend live, keep reading.

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology. You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 1 hour of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, July 14, 2021
  • Time: 1 p.m.–2:15 p.m. Eastern Time / 10 a.m. Pacific Time
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. For students joining the class through the Zoom app on a mobile device, you can enable/disable the closed captions through your settings.

Elizabeth Sims

About the instructor

Elizabeth Sims is the author of the Rita Farmer Mysteries, the Lambda and GCLS Goldie Award-winning Lillian Byrd Crime Series, and other fiction, including the standalone novel Crimes in a Second Language, which won a Florida Book Awards silver medal. Booklist calls her work “Crime fiction as smart as it is compelling,” and Crimespree magazine praises her “strong voice and wonderful characters.”

Sims has written dozens of feature articles on the craft of writing for Writer’s Digest magazine, where she’s a contributing editor. Her instructional title, You’ve Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams (Writer’s Digest Books) has been specially recognized by National Novel Writing Month and hundreds of other websites and bloggers. She has taught webinars for Writer’s Digest University and has also served as an adjunct professor in creative writing at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. When time permits, she teaches at conferences and workshops around the United States. Learn more at elizabethsims.com.

A hit out of the park! Several times, it took all my will not to drop the webinar and go to my writing … Well worth the money and time spent.


Best workshop of the weekend [conference]. Thank you … Lighthearted, informative, captivating, practical.


I immensely enjoyed the webinar and got so much information out of it, I sat down and wrote two chapters last night focusing on dialogue. The class was well-planned and I liked your humor. It kept the material engaging.


You’ll receive the following

  • Access to the 75-minute interactive class. After 60 minutes, Elizabeth will take questions using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 75 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Additional answers to questions, if needed. If there isn’t time for Elizabeth to answer all the questions during the live event, she will answer them in writing afterward. All participants will receive the answers with the follow-up recording.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.
  • Handout to help you keep track of key points.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.

System Requirements to Join the Webinar

We will be using Zoom webinar technology.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers: built-in, USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Recommended bandwidth:

  • 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
  • If you connect through audio only: 60-80kbps (down)

Supported operating systems:

Supported tablet and mobile devices:

  • Surface PRO 2 running Win 8.1
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers:

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

For a detailed listing of system requirements, check Zoom’s site.