How to Write a Script With Dialogue That Doesn't Suck: Book 3 of the ScriptBully Screenwriting Series (ScriptBully Book Series) Kindle Edition
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Now... how do you do that?
Rogan explains that characters very rarely say what they're actually thinking, so learning how to dance around the truth of a scene is the best thing to do. One of his exercises asks you to figure out what's the most important point of the scene, and then make VERY, VERY sure that no one is allowed to say it. Perfect. Or, better yet, find out the one thing the hero would desperately like to say, and then put that information into the mouth of the antagonist, making it into an attack. Also a great idea.
With plenty of other tips for tightening up your dialogue, including the ever-important "Read it aloud!", this book is practically guaranteed to help whip your characters' speeches and one-liners into shape with a little thought and lots of practice.
As far as the content goes, I believe it to mostly be pretty solid advice. Rogan's advice on writing dialogue is pretty good for a beginner screenwriter to read. It's very basic stuff: read your dialogue out loud, keep a folder of cool dialogue from your favorite movies handy as inspiration.
I was dissatisfied with this book's repetitive nature. The chapters here are very short, so there really isn't a need for a "key takeaways" bullet list at the end of each chapter. This attempt to pad the book made me sort of irritated since if it were sold/advertised as a pamphlet or what have you, I would be fine, but it masquerading as a novella-length manual is sort of intellectually dishonest.
if you have never written a script before. I would definitely advise buying the scriptbully collection. it's got some good advice. if you've written a script before and know enough to want to seek out a book like this, you probably know everything that it has to tell you.
While each concept and literary truism seems like common sense, it is the synthesis of each principle in this particular format that makes this a great read. (I found myself nodding vigorously when reading lines like: "If you gotta have a character provide the lowdown of what the story is about, and sometimes it's unavoidable, you better be damn sure it's not your hero spouting off.")
However, the book's true value lies not only in providing clear (and quite humorous) examples; the practice exercises at the end of each section embed the lessons in a fun and challenging way.
What I love about Michael Rogan's screenwriting books is that not only do they point out why you suck as a writer, but they offer some really great exercises and tips to get your creative mojo on. For example: "...eavesdrop on a conversation and see if you can write what's not being said. Or, even better, write what comes next. Or maybe introduce another character that could disrupt the whole thing entirely." How cool is that?
The book delves into the nitty-gritty of dialogue, including things like handling exposition without boring people to death, and finding the right voice for your characters. Although guess I'll never write tween fiction - I'd rather stab myself in the thigh with a fork than follow a group of 12-year old girls around the mall to analyze how they speak. But still - an awesome resource for all of us who struggle with the basics of writing good dialogue!
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