Writing dialogue in a script should not be too much of a worry if you know the processes and guidelines to follow in writing and doing it well. A good dialogue in a script is a strong driving force of a script. A good dialogue determines if a script and the play or movie to come out of it would be marketable or not. Thus, your main concern should be how to write a dialogue in a script?
Before we go all in to discuss how to write a dialogue in a script, we would be answering questions which would make you understand this post better and where the post is heading to.
What is Dialogue?
Dialogue is the conversation of two or more characters in a script, novel, play, movie, and any other creative piece that involves interaction among character (fictional people). This dialogue involves the discussion of these characters or people on any subject at all. Thus, a dialogue is important in such creative pieces, and they must be good and realistic.
What is a Script?
A script is a piece of writing that can be of any type. There are different types of scripts. There is manuscript, which is the piece of writing that is a forthcoming book. This book might be of any genre. A play script is the one guiding the acting and performance of a play. A movie script is the one guiding the acting and performance of a movie.
In this post, writing the dialogue shall be focused on novel manuscript, play script and movie script.
What is a Good Dialogue?
A good dialogue can be noted or is noticed due to lots of characteristics. First and foremost, a good dialogue should be real; this means that a good dialogue should have characters who speak as it can be obtained among people of the same class and make up in real life. It should flow. A good dialogue should be engaging. It should be a conversation your audience can easily connect to.
In the next part of the post, we would be taking you through the process of how you can write a good dialogue in a script.
How to Write Dialogue in a Script
Study Real-life Conversation: This should be the very first thing you do, study real-life conversation. As a learner, you build your characters, the way they act, and the way they speak on real-life people. Watch how people close to you speak, use that and create characters. When you get better at script writing, you can totally create new realistic characters.
Read Award-Winning Scripts: To learn and become a master at anything, you have to learn from masters. Therefore, if you want to write the best script, you should read the scripts of award-winning writers, be it play script, novel manuscript or movie script. For instance, you can read the scripts of best screenplay writers at the Oscar. You learn from them and copy them.
Mastering Writing: Before you begin writing scripts to send out to big time producers or publishers, you should write continuously and perfect your writing. There should be no grammatical errors, your dialogue should follow the right guidelines and should be well punctuated.
Real and Engaging: When writing, make sure your dialogue should be real and engaging. For instance, an alien cannot speak like a US president, and a US president shouldn’t speak like an alien. The dialogue should flow smoothly, and it should be engaging for the audience–something they can relate to and enjoy.
Follow the Right Guidelines: There are different guidelines for writing dialogue for different scripts. The guideline for a novel manuscript is different from that of a play script, and a movie script is equally different. Follow the right guidelines and ensure your dialogue is real, engaging and it shouldn’t be too long. Furthermore, too much shouting by the characters doesn’t make a good theme.
It is also important that your dialogue should be in active voice.
In the next part of the post, we’ll be guiding you on how to write a dialogue in different types of scripts with examples.
Example of How to Write a Dialogue in a Novel Manuscript
Mr. Isigwe sat on the wheelchair, calmly, and he stared at the air in front of him. He was at home all day, and the entire house bored him. He remembered some months ago, on the day of the accident, when he walked to his office smiling and talking loudly. He greeted everyone he saw that day. And the office affairs that day had been good. The marketers had come to the board of the company with good reports. The contract with African Delight Restaurants had been signed. He had turned around several times on his swivel chair. The day was the day of goodwill.
“Good evening, Di m,” a voice said behind him. He turned to find his wife, Mr. Isigwe, standing there. “How was your day?”
“Do you expect me to say fine?” he said, voice raised and hands waved with speed and energy. “You keep asking all these stupid questions!”
Mrs. Isigwe looked at him, and her husband couldn’t tell what her reaction was. She looked for a short time, and then she smiled and patted his shoulder. “We’re going to somewhere tomorrow. You don’t have to sit at home all day,” she said. Her husband focused his eyes on her black suit and her blue shirt. Her perfume entered deep into him and made him calm. He still liked that aspect of her: her good choice of perfumes. “You’ve heard of the Deep Healing Power of God Ministry at Emene.”
In the above example, the narration and description in the novel mixes up with the dialogue. However, the dialogue is enclosed in quotation marks. After the dialogue in quotation marks, a report on which character spoke and what he or she did is stated.
Example of How to Write a Dialogue in a Movie Script
INT- DAY – Inside the House, Hallway, a Parking Room
The camera comes on Nene and Zoba running down a large dark hallway illuminated a little by the flashes of thunder and small light from the outside coming from the room. Their running steps in the hallway echoes a lot. Their heavy breaths can be heard. The hysterical laughter of the old man is heard slightly from the background.
You cannot run away from me. None of your ancestors did, and they are all dead lying at my backyard. (Laughs). I will get you. (A knife hitting a door is heard).
(running and breathing heavily, stops and stares at an open room filled with properties). Nene! Stop! Let us get in here! (Enters room).
In the above example of a movie script dialogue, you can see the conversation between the characters are centered. The stage direction is italicized, and can be in brackets or not. The description or introduction of the location comes first.
Example of How to Write a Dialogue in a Play Script
Zoba and Nene are jumping out of the outer ceiling of a house. They jump down and take off into the surrounding bushes. Zoba limps, blood on his leg, as he runs. They run and duck so as not to be be seen. The rain had stopped but the day was still cloudy. The young men come to a tree and climb, wounded Zoba assisted by Nene. A minute later, the old man comes running to the location.
Papa: (smiles and makes a short dry laugh). Nice try, boys. No one has stressed and damaged my property like you have done. But there is no way of escaping. Your car has been set on fire. No quick route to leave here. It is either you die or I die We all know who would die. Let us get it done with. (Cocks the gun and shoots).
For a play script, the conversation among characters is not centered. The stage direction is italicized and in brackets. There is description of the location or scene of the play before the dialogue begins properly.
How to write a dialogue in a script is not much of a problem if you know the guidelines. It is also not much of a problem if you know what to do to write a good dialogue. A good dialogue is paramount and determines whether a script is good or not.