What makes dialogue good?

Writing good dialogue is essential for screenwriters to create engaging, memorable characters and a captivating story. Here are some rules for writing good dialogue:

  1. Keep it natural: Dialogue should sound like real conversations between people. Avoid unnatural or overly stylized language.
  2. Make it purposeful: Every line of dialogue should serve a purpose in advancing the plot, revealing character, or building tension.
  3. Use subtext: Good dialogue often has an underlying meaning that is not explicitly stated. Subtext can add depth and complexity to a character’s motivations and relationships.
  4. Show, don’t tell: Instead of having characters directly state their thoughts or feelings, use actions, expressions, and tone of voice to show how they feel.
  5. Avoid exposition dumps: Don’t have characters explain the plot or backstory in long monologues. Instead, find more organic ways to reveal information.
  6. Vary sentence structure: Dialogue should have variety in sentence structure, rhythm, and length. Avoid long, clunky speeches or repetitive sentence patterns.
  7. Make it specific: Dialogue should be specific to the characters and their unique perspectives, backgrounds, and personalities.
  8. Create conflict: Good dialogue often involves characters with opposing goals or viewpoints, which creates conflict and tension.
  9. Use humor: Humor can add levity to a story and make characters more relatable. However, it should be used in moderation and not undermine the dramatic tension of the story.
  10. Edit and refine: Once you’ve written your dialogue, revise it until it is tight, impactful, and memorable. Read it out loud to hear how it sounds and make adjustments as needed.

By following these rules, screenwriters can create effective dialogue that enhances their stories and captures the attention of audiences.

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