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Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting by Brian Price

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ThirtyDialogue

What You Say Is What You Get

“Under Thought is included every effect which has to be produced by speech, the subdivisions being: proof and refutation; the excitation of feelings, such as pity, fear, anger, and the like; the suggestion of importance or its opposite.”

(Poetics, Part XXVI)

We’ve already discussed dialogue to some extent when we discussed character because, as we’ve seen, it’s nearly impossible to isolate one element of drama without bringing in others since, when done well, they all work in concert.

But here we’ll come at dialogue from a slightly different angle. Admittedly, Aristotle doesn’t say a lot about it. In fact, he kind of shoehorns it into the end of his treatise. But what little he does say is pure ...

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