An excerpt from my script review for Money Monster which will be available 05/16/16:
4.) Dialogue and Description
One thing we should avoid is jumping back and forth between “side scenes”. By that I mean locations that DO NOT deal directly with our main characters.
It’s okay to have one or two, but the more you keep jumping to them without explaining HOW they fit in, the more annoyed your reader will become, assuming you’ve made the grave mistake of presenting irrelevant information.
Even if you use them for a later twist, chances are it won’t be enough to appease the reader for dragging your feet.
For instance, page 83:
And then he moves even closer — and kisses her. (By now, it
is apparent, if it wasn’t earlier, that these two were the
couple having sex in the high rise office in the prologue.)
The fact that it had to literally be SPELLED OUT for me is a bad sign, and I didn’t give a fuck that Walt and Diane were having sex earlier. It’s implied via their body language in this scene that they’re in a relationship, but the earlier hint isn’t needed, ESPECIALLY at the beginning when I’m trying to establish the setting and who to focus on.
Writers, please present only what is needed!
(And if you’re going to make a side scene pay off, MAKE IT COUNT and DON’T DRAG IT OUT!)
Aside from that, the one other description note I had was to avoid reusing the same actions. Nancy bites her lip so hard it draws blood, and then Lee does it later on in the script. Identical phrases in each case.
Find varying phrases, analogies, expressions, etc. to convey what a character is going through. We’re writers, and finding creative ways to express action displays our talent!
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