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Elements of Craft

Conveying Emotion (Without Emoticons)

Friday, October 2nd, from 10:30am-1:30pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

In our emails and on social media we can rely on emoticons to convey the tone of our texts, but in our prose, of course, we can't always depend on a crying cat or a monkey covering his eyes; most of the time, we need to use good old-fashioned words. In this seminar we’ll examine ways to make the tone of our written dialogue and exposition inherently clear. We’ll practice showing emotion through our descriptions rather than telling it through adverbs. There are better ways of saying “He said gently” or “I said with surprise,” and in this seminar we'll find out how, and leave with the know-how to slay any emoticon with our words. We'll do some generative exercises in class; students should also bring an excerpt of dialogue from a piece they've written.

Part of GrubStreet's Elements of Craft series, dedicated to exploring craft issues on a deeper level. For more on this series' offerings, click here.


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Jennifer Crystal
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • Craft Lessons
  • In-Class Writing
  • Class Discussion


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction
  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Nonfiction
  • Young Adult & Children's Literature

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