An excerpt from my script review for 21 Bridges which will be available 11/25/19:

4.) Dialogue and Description

The dialogue was forced NYC dialect with all the slang and abbreviations.

In addition to that, it was hard to tell what the characters were trying to say because of this, and felt packed with specific references non New Yorkers might not get.

On the description, parts were too “on the nose”.

Page 78:

There is something about him in the black suit that reminds us of Spevack as if they’re starting to take on each others persona.

Congrats.  You more or less just told us that Felix would be impersonating Spevack which we’ll see in the very next scene.

Stuff like this should be left out of the description.  Let readers (who are generally a clever lot) connect the dots for themselves as your story naturally unfolds before them.

The other topic to discuss here is the “we do this, we do that” style of description that Reals covered a bit in his script review last week.

Is it acceptable?  Sure, to a certain degree.

The issue I have with it is you’re jarring the reader out of your story.  Reminding them they’re “working” should be the last thing you’re aiming to accomplish.

Think of a novelist you enjoy.

(I’ll pick Stephen King because I’m a basic sort of fellow.)

How many times does that writer put “we see” or “we hear” into the novel’s description?  Never should be your answer.

With King, he simply describes (sometimes in an overly detailed manner) what’s happening and our mind naturally “sees” it.

The imagining is the fun of reading!

Although screenwriting is a different medium, cut all that shit out, and describe what’s unfolding in the scene as conservatively as you can.  (You don’t have 500+ pages to do so, remember.)

This way your reader will enjoy the story and hopefully forget they’re reading a script altogether as the characters come to life in their mind’s eye via your storytelling.

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