Episode 110: Writing Dialogue and Character

Shanthi Sekaran, Connie Hale

Want to take your writing to the next level? Today’s episode is the first of two special podcasts about a new series of books from the Writers Grotto called Lit Starts, available starting September 10, 2019. Each book is filled with prompts to help writers practice the craft of writing character, dialogue, action, and humor. Each book also features a foreword by a Grotto writer. Today’s podcast is devoted to a conversation between two of those writers, Shanthi Sekaran, who wrote the foreword to Writing Dialogue, and Constance Hale, who wrote the foreword to Writing Character. Sekaran’s most recent novel, Lucky Boy, was named an IndieNext Great Read and an NPR Best Book of 2017. Hale is the author of four cheeky writing manuals, a book for adults on hula, and a picture book for children set in Hawai’i.

Episode 2: Constance Hale

Constance Hale

Constance Hale

Connie Hale, a Hawaiian-born author of groundbreaking books on language, enters the GrottoPod studio to discuss growing up in paradise, laying some island Pidgin English on one of her profs at Princeton and laboring in the publishing industry to write about the culture of her home state. She tells us how a chance exchange with her hula teacher led her to scrap traditional publishing for a new book on hula, The Natives are Restless, and also for a children’s book, ‘Iwalani’s Tree.

Sin and Syntax Workshop: Grammar Brush-up for Writers (with Constance Hale)


Constance Hale

Constance Hale

Contact: kailani2123@gmail.com

Course fee: $60

Number of sessions: 1

Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Date: Saturday, September 12

Course fee: $60

Six hours, 60 bucks, free bagels, buckets of grammar.  How can you resist? Grotto member Connie Hale will lead you through a series of hilarious exercises to perk up your writing in surprising ways. (We’ll use Sin and Syntax as our guide, but dip also into Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch.) Writers will stretch new muscles, disabuse themselves of bad habits, and duke it out in a war of words. We’ll also talk about how to cultivate that most elusive of literary elements: the writer’s voice. This 1-day session is perfect for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir who want to take their prose to the next level. While we realize this is catnip for students heading back-to-school, the course is intended for adult writers and writing teachers. No grammar competency required, but a sense of humor is a must.

Constance Hale has transformed “writing reference” shelves with her irreverent books on language—which are used in writing classes around the world. A former editor at Wired, Health, and the San Francisco Examiner, her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Afar, The Atlantic, and Smithsonian. She directed the narrative journalism program at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard and wrote an eight-part series for the “Draft” series at the New York Times’ Opinionator. She covers writing and the writing life at sinandsyntax.com.