Susan Albert

Class Title: Crafting Dialogue: Giving Your Characters a Voice
Instructor: Susan Albert
Class Term: May 13-July 8, 2019
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In this 8-week, 4-session class, we will work on crafting realistic dialogue that also performs specific functions in your memoir or fiction project.

Class Description

We will work on specific dialogue exercises and free writes to develop skills in using dialogue to 1) reveal character; 2) share information; 3) move plot forward; 4) create and develop conflict. Students are expected to complete exercises, share their completed exercises and free writes for class comment, and comment constructively on the work of others.

At the end of this class, students will be able to: construct more effective dialogue in their own work.

Instruction/Communication Method: 4 2-week units, sent via email as pdfs; responses shared via Yahoo for class comment.


  • Unit 1: May 16-30. The importance of dialogue. Using dialogue to reveal character. In each unit, we'll work from exercises I'll email you. Students will submit work for class critique; instructor's critique will be shared with the class.
  • Unit 2: May 30-June 13. Using dialogue to reveal important information; practice in using speech tags
  • Unit 3: June 13-June 27. Using dialogue to move the plot forward; practice in visual and auditory settings for dialogue
  • Unit 4: June 27-July 11. Using dialogue to create and develop conflict; practice in adding a character to the dialogue scene.

Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required

Intermediate skill level (instructor's permission required); ability to use email, Word, YahooGroups.

Time Commitment: Minimum 2 hrs/unit.

Tuition/Fees for this course

SCN members: $256. Non-SCN members: $320.

Instructor Bio

Susan Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige. Her historical fiction includes Loving Eleanor and A Wilder Rose. She has also written two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place. Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); Writing from Life: Telling the Soul's Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman's Guide to Success Off the Career Track. She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. Visit her website and her blog.

Social Media:

Praise for Susan's Classes

  • Susan Albert is an exceptional teacher. She helped me grow as a writer and understand why that growth was needed and a positive step forward. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to become a better writer and is willing to work to make that happen. —Susan D., Damon TX

  • I so much appreciated [Susan Albert's] comments. They were constructive and encouraging. They helped with the "nuts and bolts" and also with the larger issues of character development, story development...

  • Susan Albert was the best [instructor] I've ever had, and I've taken a lot of writing classes. Thorough, professional, demanding—but inspiring, too. What more could I ask? I can't wait to take her next class!

  • This course (Susan Albert) gave me the confidence that I can write and motivated me to want to do it, even when I don't feel like it. More, more!

  • Susan Albert is tough and makes you work hard, but she's still warm and approachable—pretty remarkable for somebody who's published so many books.

  • This (Susan Albert) was the best class ever! Didn't think I could learn so much and feel so good about what I wrote.