How to Write a Play : Writing Dialog for a Play

How to Write a Play : Writing Dialog for a Play


In this segment we are going to cover how
to write good dialog. And I have brought you out to our quiet, out of the way location
because with dialog the best thing is to hear it instead of sitting and writing it in your
head. Sometimes if you say it out loud that works a lot better. Now an important starting
place is to realize that if you are writing a novel or if you are writing articles or
even poetry those are the end product that are meant to be read. Now on the other hand
if you are writing a play or a screenplay you are simply writing a blueprint that is
to go to producers and directors and actors to breathe life into it and that production
is the final step. So you have to think you are not writing the dialog to be read you
are writing it to be spoken. Now you see in some plays and even on TV. sometimes all the
characters talk exactly alike. The exact same infliction, excitement, but people are not
like that. People are all different and it is important to breathe life into each and
every character and one way to do it is the way they talk. Can you picture some kid coming
in with his skateboard looking down at a spill and going “Good land.” But grandma might come
in and come up to this spill and say “Oh, good land.” The dialog fits the character.
It is not just all the same and it is not how you or I as play writes would say it necessarily.
We give it to our characters to say. With my play “Ticket to Paradise” for instance,
I have a man behind the counter and I have characters coming in asking to buy a lottery
ticket. Now, it would be easy just for a play write to have each one go “Hey, can I have
a ticket, please?” But if you can make different dialog or even something so trivial as asking
for a lottery ticket it can help really establish those characters more. So the first person
we have in is a CEO and he is going to say “Yeah, I want a lottery ticket. Now how come
you guys don’t have the percentages posted?” Something like that. Then maybe a woman will
come in who is a little more wealthy and well-to-do and she is flirting with the counter guy a
little bit and says “I think I will have a, give me some Clove cigarettes,” and she is
looking around. “And I’ll take a lottery ticket.” That kind of thing. Then you might have a
let’s say a blue collar worker come in and ask for a lottery ticket. And instead of intellectually
thinking, “Now how would he ask for a ticket?” Actually, we are out here in the middle of
nowhere so we can sort of get into this character and see how this guy might kind of talk like
this “Yeah, yeah give me a, yeah, give me a couple tickets there. Give me a lottery
ticket there. Hey, you got any beef jerky too?” You know maybe something like that.
Just anything that will give you an idea to latch onto where their dialog is not all the
same. And even the simplest things will make that character stand out. And all of those
things together will help the play move along and help your characters become so much richer.
Now just because you are writing dialog does not mean you need to write as much as possible.
I mean unless of course the character is a chatty type character. But sometimes it is
best to say as much as you can visually. Like for instance, say I am walking in, someone
is sitting here on the bench, I am sitting here. I will walk up and I am a guy who is
kind of bitter and hates all the pigeons. So I will come up, sit down, look around and
say “I hate these pigeons. Somebody ought to clean these up. Why isn’t the city doing
something about this?” I can go on and on and on and then my conversation with this
fellow starts. Better yet, what if I came in and put my arm around the bench and just
got my hand in some pigeon droppings and “Pigeons!” And then I begin the dialog with this character
here. I got the same thing across with fewer words and that meant more and you see that
it is more real than just talking. So as much as you, can get reality and make the dialog
more precise and express something visually the better.

14 Comments

  1. abdul hadawi says:

    dont say, if you put into your head your ganna make it! you will. always think above every thing.. and good luck.

  2. Michael says:

    I think when writing dialog. you should rely less on stereotypes as this man is suggesting. If you want interesting characters don't give people the same stereotypes we've seen over and over. Make someone creative and more unique

  3. Claire Miller says:

    Ha, way to spell Dialogue right!!! haha(:

  4. Jonathan Smith says:

    I am thirteen years old and I am writing a play and these videos are very helpful! I have been working on it for two years and I just discovered these videos? a well!

  5. jeroro70 says:

    THANKS! 😀

  6. jeroro70 says:

    I like this dude. Good guy…

  7. TAINOSUN says:

    Thank You so much

  8. Panji Ibnu says:

    Hello! Thanks a lot for this useful video. By the way, I hear a lot of people keep on talking about online coaching known as Novelonax Academy (do a google search), but I'm not sure if it is really good. Have you tried using Novelonax Academy? I've heard some awesome things about it and my buddy finally learn to write, publish, and market his novel easily, but she refuses to tell me: (

  9. Spirtual Rising Gospersel Sing says:

    Thank so much for the info I manage a gospel group and I tell them all the time you have to put life into what you are singing. I am all so looking to write a play so this helps me out a lot.

  10. JMZ Artistry says:

    thanks it helped

  11. i Dream says:

    Useful and inspiring. Thanks

  12. cappelloart says:

    Kirks my elementary school buddy from the 60's. yeah, and he was directing me in the fourth grade. True. Hi Kirk.

  13. Matt Miller says:

    Psssst, buddy, you mean "dialogue" not "dialog." Seriously, where do they find these people who think they know how to do something but cannot spell basic vocabulary about their subject?

  14. HeadTrip Productions says:

    good land?

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