Dialogue tips from UK scriptwriters

“Write your whole scene with all the things you think people would say to each other. Imagine all the things two people could say when saying goodbye to each other. Then keep taking words away while it still makes emotional sense. Five lines of dialogue between to people may end up being a single word: ‘Later’ “

Tony Jordan, Life on Mars

“In good dialogue people aren’t really listening to each other, the opposite of listening is waiting: you’re just waiting to say your next thing. That’s everyone in life, all the time. People hardly ever listen to each other. Good dialogue is two monologues that connect sometimes.”

Russell T. Davis, Doctor Who

On avoiding exposition: “I’d rather be confused for ten minutes than bored for five seconds”

Jimmy McGovern, The Street

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