|Yeah, I know it's not the sort of workshop I'm talking about but it's a lot cooler than showing a bunch of writers sitting around in a circle.|
So what I've been noticing is that a lot of young or inexperienced writers really seem to have a big problem with dialogue. Either the words spoken by their characters come out stiff and unnatural - more like written prose than actual speech - or there is little within the dialogue to differentiate one character from another. It's something I see again and again throughout these workshops and it's usually my number one critique whenever I read a dialogue-heavy story by another student.
I would honestly think writing structured, narrative prose would pose more of a challenge than simply giving speech to a fictional character. Everywhere we go we are surrounded by spoken words, in real life, on television, in the movies, different people all talking differently with decidedly different quirks to their word streams. Emulating these speech patterns in writing, for me at least, is only a matter of channeling whatever person or people I'd like my character to sound like and then basically allow that character to begin speaking for themselves on the page - I only need supply the essential story details.