I’ve been reading and commenting on your dialogues, and they’re all really great. (Sorry if I haven’t gotten to yours yet, but I plan on finishing them by the end of next week.) I’ve been giving you personalized feedback on dialogues, but something for everyone to consider when revising a dialogue for the chapbook is this:

  • Show something about your characters’ personalities in the thread. It doesn’t have to be a huge reveal–it can be something small; perhaps you share what their favorite cereal was when they were little or whatever.
  • One way to do this reveal is to create repetition in the dialogue. Suzan-Lori Parks does this in Topdog/Underdog and other work.

“What does it mean for characters to say the same thing twice? 3 times? Over and over and over and oh-vah.” 

Suzan-lori parks
  • As she says, the fact that something is repeated means that it isn’t just word-vomit. It means something bigger. Think about lyrics in all genres of music–there’s usually some refrain (otherwise known as the chorus) that trumpets the main message of the song. The one thing the writer wants the listeners to understand.
  • Another way to have your character reveal something is to NOT say what they mean. Think about a time when you’ve had to talk about something that you didn’t feel comfortable discussing. We often “talk around” uncomfortable topics by talking about something else, or use euphemisms in place of specific words.
  • One more way (not the final way) that I’ll mention here is using action to share something. This would be a good place to use stage directions. If someone puts their arm around you, that can say so much, and of course, your reaction depends on the context of the action. 🙂

Try it! See what happens!

Tuesday is a Reading Day

According to City Tech’s academic schedule, Tuesday is a Reading Day. A Reading Day is a day where no classes should be scheduled to meet (but check with your other professors if you usually have classes this day). However, it’s not a day off! It’s a day where you’re given time to prepare for final exams or work on projects, like the chapbook for this class.

We won’t have class on Tuesday, but if you want to talk to me, get some feedback on work, etc., I’ll be available to do a Zoom session with you. Come to my office hour at 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. If that time doesn’t work for you, email me at least 24 hours in advance with multiple times you’re free, and we’ll set up a time on Tuesday to meet. Note: My office hour Zoom is separate from my class session Zoom. Check your email for that invitation. If you can’t find it, email me! (Please look first.)

Chapbooks (aka the Final Portfolio)

If you haven’t read through the discussion of what the Chapbook/Final Portfolio entails yet, go to Week 15 (click here).

Final Reflections

You’ll be sending this to a partner on Thursday for a brief review. There’s a document the Course Profile page that I want you to use when you review your peer’s Final Reflection.

Details about what we’re doing can be found on the Assignment page for Week 16!

If you aren’t present in class with a Final Reflection on Thursday, you’ve forfeited the chance for a peer review and the participation points that go with the document. However, you can ask a friend or family member to read it and use the worksheet to guide their reading. The link to that document is on the Assignment page.


Some students were confused about the Final Reflection’s place in the chapbook–it is the first item in the chapbook. Remember, the order of the chapbook needs to be as follows (a table of contents is NOT required):

  1. Cover Page
  2. Final Reflection
  3. Memoir
  4. Short Story
  5. Poetry
  6. Dialogue
  7. Journal #X & Journal #X

Everything except the two Journals must be on their own pages.