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Mr David Trottier, the writer of the best selling book, "The Screenwriter's Bible", has a post on the ISA network about dialogue errors. Here is a link to the post:

Hello David,

Thanks for sharing the link. I read the posting, now, I need to go through the rest of the website content.

Michelle L. De La Garza
Here are more tips from the same website:




Luci says:
It was a good list in terms of discussing what "content" should not be in dialogue - no trivial chat, no exposition, no excess - but one thing I find lacking especially in TV dialogue and some books is lack of personality in the dialogue. Especially in cop shows, medical shows, courtroom shows - I know if you're in the same career you might use a lot of the same terms, but the dialogue seems so generic and without personality. A lot of things affect the way people speak and sometimes it all seems watered down.
The Coen brothers, IMHO, write dialogue that really reinforces character - I think the dialogue is very sharp and individualized in "Oh, Brother Where Art Thou" and "Millers Crossing".
Hello Luci,

I will have to review the scripts. Thanks for the tip.

Michelle L. De La Garza
catcon says:
Luci says:
> Especially in cop shows, medical shows, courtroom shows

I love Law and Order, but you don't have to listen very hard to detect that the same dialogue is written for the "Sergeant" character in every version of that show: Sharp, sarcastic, and emotionless. They all sound the same, even though they all look different - White Jewish and Gentile men, white woman, black woman, etc.
Jane says:
I agree with Luci and Catcon that dialogue is often too generic. The post seemed to discuss dialogue primarily in terms of the "don'ts" of composition; i.e., don't be too literal, don't exaggerate, don't use cliches, and so forth.
The purpose of dialogue is not just to deliver information, but to express character by way of speech and speech patterns; IMHO it's one of the best components of character. How a person speaks, sentence structure, vocabulary, are all influenced by family, educational level, gender, age, region, whether the language a character is speaking is the native language or an acquired language.
One work I often point to is "Pride and Prejudice." It's a good example of how well dialogue defines character. When you read the dialogue, you don't need the attribution - you can tell by the composition of the speech whether it's Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth, Darcy, Mr. Collins who's speaking.
I also point to Elmore Leonard, who had a terrific ear for speech patterns.
And I completely agree about "Law and Order."
Luci says:
Interesting @ Pride and Prejudice because the dialogue seemed a lot more personalized in classics - Dickens, Twain, Steinbeck - than in a lot of modern commercial fiction and TV shows.

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