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Writing Dialogue

Judy Blume

Lesson time 20:15 min

Realistic dialogue elevates and sharpens your characters. Judy shares her love of writing dialogue and her ideas for troubleshooting if you don’t love it as much as she does.

Judy Blume
Teaches Writing
In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.
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The one thing that's never changed is the way that I write dialogue or approach dialogue. It's always been the same from the beginning because I think this ear that I have for dialogue, I think it's always been there. I think it goes back to my childhood and the stories in my head, when people were always speaking in my stories, and the conversations that I overheard, or didn't get right but thought I heard. I've always, you know, I'm fascinated by putting people together and seeing what happens, and one of the things that happens when you put people together is they talk to each other. And so that for me is the great pleasure of writing, and I won't even begin to tell you all the things that are not great pleasures. But writing dialogue is my greatest pleasure when it comes to writing. Dialogue helps you advance your story. Here's the scene, and here's dialogue in the scene, and it's advancing not only your story, but your characters, because through dialogue you learn a lot about your characters. It's giving your characters knowledge that they might not have had. Dialogue helps me know who the characters are, so even if other things aren't working, I'll learn that. But it won't be the dialogue that will tell me that. Or maybe I won't be able to write dialogue between two characters if I don't understand what's going on in the book. If I don't understand what's going on in the story and why are they having this conversation, then out it goes, no matter how much fun it is to do it. It's got to advance the story. And, or, it's got to illuminate the characters. It can't just be there for no reason because it's fun. And I have to say that to myself all the time, because dialogue is fun. What makes good dialogue is believable, realistic, the way people really talk, and dialogue that's going somewhere. And what makes bad dialogue is, I don't know, characters who talk in full sentences and never interrupt each other and talk in some literary way that's not the way people talk to each other. So it's a question of capturing the voice, capturing the way that people talk when they're talking to each other on the street, in the workplace, wherever. They don't talk in paragraphs, unless you're telling a really good story. You know, the other person would say, oh, go on, go on. But usually it's give and take, give and take, give and take. And I like dialogue between more than two people. It's fun. And what you can do also, and what I like to do, is not necessarily say each time which character is speaking. Because if it's working, you can usually tell. Especially if it's only two characters. You can't necessarily if it's three, but if it's two characters you don't necessarily have to say, Nancy said, or Judy said, because your reader will know. You want to practice your dialogue. And that's so easy to do, because you're listening. You're...

Write timeless stories

Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I have always loved Judy Blume's books, now I love her, too. I felt as if Judy really cared about what she was sharing. Thank you so much for the opportunity to really take in all she had to say. I will continue to just soak it in and, hopefully, let her guidance help me along the way as I move forward on my writing journey. Thank you, Judy!

Really good company, like sitting with a friend and talking about shared interests. Thank you.

I loved Judy's emotional energy. Whereas James Petterson's course was much more the science behind writing, this was the heart behind writing. The two courses complement each other perfectly.

What I loved about this class that is unique from the other writing classes is that she shares her heart with us. She said she has never written an autobiography but this is a great autobiography into her life and mind. I loved it!


Elizabeth P.

This writing dialogue lesson is feeling more like confirmation to my random snippets of dialogue I send my friend who really likes my stories. Even if it's them just fighting over poptarts and if someone should buy them, hahaha.

AuthorSheryl C.

This is where I need more study for writing a book. I seen to over use he said or she said. I worked on a few books I was working with but I'm starting again on one I had for class in like 2014 where you write the first chapter. I want to make sure it come together well for my kids.

Robert S.

The Video Sub-Chapters do NOT appear as Sub-Chapters in the PDF Download and so are to be very confusing if printed for later study or to follow along if you need to stop the video and return later !

Veronica F.

The project that I'm working on now does have a dialogue between some 4th-grade classmates. After listening to Judy explain how she used playlets maybe that's something I could add to my project in order to add more dialogue between characters.

Graeme R.

Judy Blume's style of delivery is quite beautiful. She may not talk in full paragraphs, or always full sentences, but she is always coherent, with a strong sense of forethought and integrity. I love listening to this beautiful, womanly woman.

A fellow student

Loved this series of videos, I have so many great notes now and am inspired.

Maggie J.

Session great but couldn't download this and the previous season's pdf's. Shame because one's that did download were great.

Mary H.

Writers are keen listeners to conversations in the world around them. This quote is inauthentic.

Mary H.

Lloyd Alexander's advice to me, as an aspiring writer, was that nobody can teach you to do dialogue. He said that there are no good books on dialogue.

Deirdre M.

Dear Judy Blume, You might not even read this, but I have a question. I have a wonderful book idea that has been bubbling in my head for quite a while. I’ve written out the characters, but they just don’t seem right. Do you have any advise on how to fix my problem?