GILLETTE, Wyo. — A Wyoming award-winning writer will present a workshop on character development and dialogue writing from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Campbell County Public Library.
Reatha Thomas Oakley said in an email today that people at any point in their writing journey will benefit from attending the workshop, which will take place in the Wyoming Room of the library, located at 2101 S. 4-J Road, Gillette.
“Those just getting started will be introduced to some of the basics of fiction writing that hold true for a 500-word flash fiction piece as well as a 75,000-word romance novel,” she said. “Those more experienced should find innovative ways to enhance their ongoing efforts.”
Oakley said she first presented the workshop at the 2018 Wyoming Writers’ Conference, the year after she won first place in the Wyoming Writers’ adult fiction category. In that first year of her entering the contest, the judges praised her use of dialogue in demonstrating character development and plot. In her one-hour 2018 workshop, she focused on dialogue and provided some information on character. In 2019, she led mini workshops on character development and dialogue before two Prairie Pens meetings.
“Again, time was limited, so not everything was covered, even in two separate sessions,” she said.
Compared with those presentations, this year’s will be the most interactive, she said. The workshop will first focus on defining and exploring the key elements of fiction: genre, plot, setting and character. She will use stage plays to emphasize the importance of dialogue in fiction for plot and character development. By the end of the session, attendees should have at least one character created, with the help of information presented and input from the group, and at least several scenes of believable dialogue that is written with correct punctuation.
Since 2017, Oakley has received 22 awards from Wyoming Writers, according to the event announcement. She has won first place in adult fiction, children’s fiction, flash fiction and stage play categories. She has placed in nonfiction and poetry. She has also placed in Writers’ Digest short fiction and poetry contests. She is part of the Prairie Pens local writing group, which includes both award-winning and emerging members.