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The Comics Experience Blog

Fred Van Lente Teaches Dialogue and Captioning this March!

Beginning March 10, aspiring and established comic book writers alike (that means you) can learn from a legend with Fred Van Lente‘s Great Dialogue and Narrative Captions course! The man with a background in literally putting words into the mouths of Spider-Man, Hercules, Taskmaster, Archer, Armstrong, and the Marvel Zombies – among others – will be teaching all of the ins and outs of creating characters with unique voices and thoughts.

“I think it’s important for writers to go out and listen to real people, not just parrot what they see in movies and other comics. David Mamet developed his staccato dialogue style because it’s specific to him. His characters do have a tendency to all sound alike, on the page at least, but don’t forget there’s a huge difference when you have actors to bring a character to life, that’s going to vary the lines by definition,” Fred says.

“Prose and comics writers don’t have that kind of luxury — we have to be both author, and, in conjunction with the artist, actor. So you have to develop the different skills we’ll teach in this class.”

Enrollees will have access to a private forum where they can offer one another advice and critique, or catch up on videos of any classes they may have missed. Weekly assignments help with applying lessons learned into tangible results, and students receive personalized attention and critique from Fred.

“I guess as a teacher I really like coming up with assignment challenges and seeing how the students respond to them. In the last story arc class I taught for CE, people came in with their own stories they were excited to work on, even if they just came up with the ideas for the class,” he says.

“Here we’re going to create a few characters together from the ground up, and then people are going to put words in their mouths. They’ll really get to see how you can create a whole world just based on the dialogue of the characters — and their internal monologues. I’m hoping that students really get excited to unlock new avenues of their own writings they wouldn’t have otherwise explored!”

Many of the skills Fred hopes to nurture transcend writing for comics. He offers good advice for life in general.

“The secret weapon of the fiction writer is empathy. Nowhere is that more true than in the art of writing dialogue, because it requires you to listen to other people. You really have to close your own mouth, open your own ears, and hear what others are saying — not just their truths and untruths, but how they’re saying them,” he says.

“There’s a cadence, a music to most people’s way of speaking, that will give your writing the spark of life when you emulate it. I want people to come away from the course with the tools to go out into the world and synthesize what they hear out there into what they see in their own work.”

Awesome.

Great Dialogue and Narrative Captions does not require Introduction to Writing Comics to sign up. However, we are currently offering a bundle where you can save $100 if you purchase both classes at once! Click here for more information.

Our classes have a tendency to fill up quickly, and we keep the number of students small to ensure everyone gets an optimal amount of attention from the instructor. Make sure to sign up ASAP to secure your slot!

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