The 2013 version of The Quest starts Week 5 today. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by because you can Go On Your Own Quest by following the structure of The Quest to dig into screenwriting theory [Core – 8 weeks], figure out your story [Prep – 6 weeks], and write a first draft [Pages – 10 weeks]. It’s a 24-week immersion in the screenwriting process and you can do it here – for free!
Plus you can join The Black Board, the Official Online Writing Community of the Black List and Go Into The Story, another free resource to help keep you inspired and on target at you Go On Your Own Quest from FADE IN to FADE OUT on the first draft of your original screenplay.
This week, we are reflecting on the subject of Dialogue, mirroring the content the Questers are engaged with in Core V: Dialogue, working through six lectures I have written building off the 5th Essential Screenwriting Principle: Dialogue = Purpose. The lectures: Introduction to Dialogue, Finding Your Character’s Voice (Inward Journey), Finding Your Character’s Voice (Outward Expression), Subtext, What Is Not Said, and Realistic Dialogue [Idioms, Slang, Contractions, Declination].
The late playwright August Wilson was once asked how he wrote such great dialogue. He answered, “I don’t. They do.” The ‘they’ in question? His characters. And that in my view is a key to writing dialogue — go into the characters and find their voice. If you can coax them into talking, you tap into authenticity, distinctiveness, and personality. Then you can shape the dialogue so that it serves the purpose of each scene.
For those of you who plan to Go On Your Own Quest, let’s begin this week long conversation about dialogue with this question:
* Do you ‘hear’ your characters ‘talking’ to you?
Why not use the structure of this 24-week workshop to Go On Your Own Quest? That was an idea that gathered energy among many members of the GITS community which I described here:
The first eight weeks, we will focus on eight essential screenwriting principles, reflecting the content of what the participants in The Quest will be learning. The content I present publicly won’t be nearly as in-depth as that in The Quest proper, but the subjects and some of the ideas will be the same. What I’m hoping is that each week as we work through these eight subject areas — Plot, Concept, Character, Style, Dialogue, Scene, Theme, Time — the GITS community will engage in a wide-ranging conversation that will deepen and perhaps even change your understanding of screenwriting theory.
During this phase, I will be challenging you to do two things: (1) Generate story concepts with the goal of coming up with a killer idea for you to write as you Go On Your Own Quest. You may think you have a good idea now. Fine. Use these next eight weeks to come up with a better one. (2) Read scripts and watch movies that are similar but different to the story you want to write. This is not only about research, it’s also about priming your creative juices and centering your energy in that specific story area.
Here is the schedule for the first eight weeks of Go On Your Own Quest:
July 15-21: Plot
July 22-28: Concept
July 29-August 4: Character
August 5-August 11: Style
August 12-August 18: Dialogue
August 19-August 25: Scene
August 26-September 1: Theme
September 2-September 8: Time
Then on September 19, you can move into the next phase of Go On Your Own Quest, where you spend six weeks prepping your story.
And on October 21, you can type FADE IN, then over a ten week period write your first draft.
Again all of this is free.
If you plan to participate in the Go On Your Own Quest challenge, you have 4 weeks before we move into the Prep part of the process. Time to start getting in touch with your characters and discovering each of their distinctive voices as reflected in dialogue.
If you’d like to access the same Core content as the writers participating in The Quest, I will be teaching Core V: Dialogue starting Monday, September 30. More information on that 1-week online class here.
Why wait? You can have immediate access to the content of all eight Core classes by signing up for The Core Package. This enables you to go through all of the Core lectures (48 total, each written by me), tips, techniques and optional writing exercises on a self-paced basis as well as take any of the 1-week classes as I offer them. Plus The Core Package offers a nearly 50% savings compared to if you took each Core class separately. For more information on this unique offer, go here.
Meanwhile I encourage you to head to comments to discuss today’s questions. And for a related discussion on The Black Board, check out these topics:
For more information on Go On Your Own Quest, go here.