Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Paul Schrader on writing dialogue

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Occasionally you hear something, some conversation, that you steal. But very rarely. The way I write dialogue is, I have an idea of how long the dialogue should be—a page, two pages, three pages—how much the scene will support, and how many points I have to make in that dialogue, either expository points or character development points. Then I just start working it out, the conversation—using what seems natural to get from one point to another. If you gave me a situation with certain points that would have to be made in a scene, I would sit here and give you the dialogue. Within five, ten minutes you would have the dialogue. All paced out. Dialogue is the easiest thing in the world.

Paul Schrader, in John Brady’s The Craft of the Screenwriter

Written by nevalalee

August 6, 2011 at 8:35 am

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