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Screen Adaptation, 2nd Edition by Kenneth Portnoy

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10

Dialogue, Starting to Write, and Marketing

Dialogue

A problem many writers have when writing their screenplays is dialogue. Writing good dialogue is difficult, because novel or short story dialogue doesn’t easily make the transition into screenplay dialogue. Often, the dialogue is one-sided—characters talk at each other, but not to each other. Dialogue in a novel is often followed by a description of a character’s thoughts or other narration, not necessarily additional dialogue.

In the screenplay, the interaction between two characters is essential. Thus, the best approach for writing dialogue when adapting is to follow the same rules that apply to writing dialogue for an original story. The dialogue should be crisp, reveal character, and ...

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