Writing Dialogue


You will explore writing dialogue for fiction, stage, radio and screen, and write a piece of your own in one of these formats.

This course is for people who wish to write authentic dialogue whether it is intended for fiction, stage, radio or screen. We shall look at the linguistic differences between speech and writing as well as single and mixed sex conversation to better understand how writers present convincing interaction between characters. You will learn from exemplars in fiction and drama and produce a piece of dialogue in a format of your choosing. No experience necessary, just the desire to write.

All reading materials will be provided in class.

Programme details

Course begins: 24 April 2024

Week 1: Introduction to dialogue.

Week 2: The differences between speech and writing.

Week 3: Voices and their presentation in form.

Week 4: Dialogue in fiction.

Week 5: How conversation 'works' and the differences between men and women in conversation: some distinguishing features.

Week 6: Dialogue in stage plays.

Week 7: Dialogue in radio plays.

Week 8: Dialogue for the screen.

Week 9: Children and other aliens.

Week 10: Recap.

Digital Certification

To complete the course and receive a certificate, you will be required to attend at least 80% of the classes on the course and pass your final assignment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.


Description Costs
Course Fee £269.00
Take this course for CATS Points £10.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses


Mr Jeremy Hughes

Jeremy Hughes has published two novels – Wingspan (2013) and Dovetail (2011). He was awarded first prize in the Poetry Wales competition and was short-listed for an Eric Gregory Award. He also publishes short fiction, life-writing and reviews. He studied for the Master’s in Creative Writing at Oxford.

Course aims

To provide students with an insight into writing dialogue by exploring the writing of others so that they can embark on writing effective dialogue in a variety of literary forms.

Course Objectives:

  • To foster the ability to recognise the constituents of which dialogue is made.
  • To demonstrate techniques by which these constituents can be utilised individually or in combination.
  • To encourage the production of dialogue through exercises designed to further students’ ability to hone their skills progressively.

Teaching methods

- Whole group discussion

- Pair work

- Close reading and analysis of a variety of exemplars

- Writing dialogue for a variety of literary forms and sharing

- Sharing creative work for discussion and feedback

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • understand the different ways in which dialogue can be presented; 
  • be expected to have gained and/or developed the following skills:

  - demonstrate such knowledge in their own work;

  - be able to use some of these aspects of technical expertise with increased skill and confidence.

Assessment methods

Two pieces of work:

1.  Write a creative piece in which there is dialogue between two characters. The dialogue must be part of a piece of fiction, stage play, radio play or screenplay. Present the work in the appropriate format for the form chosen. (500 words approx.).

2. Write a dialogue with two or more characters for fiction, stage, radio or screen, generated by exercises undertaken on the course (1500 words approx).   

The dialogue will follow conventions appropriate for the particular form chosen i.e. fiction, stage play, radio script, screenplay. 

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)