How to Write Dialogue in Screenwriting by Judy Blume
Good dialogue moves the plot forward and captures how real
people speak in screenwriting, short stories, and dramatic plays. Learn how to
write effective dialogue from author Judy Blume.
A Brief Introduction to Judy Blume
Judy Blume, a master of writing compelling dialogue, is a
beloved author whose best-selling books for young readers have remained
relevant and influential for generations. Are You There, God? is one of her
most well-known works. Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Deenie, and
Blubber are here. Judy has also written four adult novels, each of which was a
New York Times bestseller. Judy Blume has received over 90 literary honors,
including the Library of Congress Living Legends Award, the National Book
Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and the
E.B. White Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Academy of Arts and
What Is Dialogue?
Dialogue is a spoken exchange between several characters in
a play, film, television show, or other form of creative writing. Writing
dialogue reveals character development, speech patterns, and mannerisms, all of
which can help the plot move forward. Authors frequently use realistic dialogue
that captures how specific people speak. They use direct dialogue (showing what
a character wants) at times, and subtext at others.
The Importance of Dialogue
Dialogue is used by writers to express ideas, reveal
conflict, and advance the plot. Effective dialogue, according to author Judy
Blume, is also necessary for character development. "Dialogue advances
your story," Judy says. "Here's a scene, and here's some dialogue."
It advances not only your story, but also your characters, because you learn a
lot about them [through dialogue]."
Great dialogue can reveal character backstories and help
introduce them quickly the first time they speak. Characters' dialogue can also
reveal their inner desires, giving readers a better sense of how the story will
progress. "Dialogue helps me know who the characters are," Judy says.
Dialogue Formatting: How to Format Dialogue
Dialogue formatting can effectively depict verbal exchanges
between two characters. Consider the following guidelines for dialogue
Put quotation marks around it. To encase a character's
spoken words, writers should use double quotation marks. When someone quotes
someone else, single quotation marks may appear within the dialogue.
A dialogue tag should be placed at the end of a sentence. To
indicate the speaker, writers typically use a comma at the end of a sentence
(for example, "Let's eat," Travis said.). The comma should come
before the final set of quotation marks.
After the quotation marks, use closing punctuation. Before
the closing quotation marks, an exclamation point or a question mark may
Begin a new paragraph. When characters converse with one
another, begin a new section each time another character says a line of
Long speeches are classified as monologues, whereas dialogue
involves the back and forth exchange of two or more voices.
Judy Blume on How to Write Dialogue
Consider the following Judy Blume writing tips for creating
1. Use dialogue to break up your text. Dialogue can be used
by writers to bring long blocks of text to life. "I'll flip through a
book, and if it's dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense,
dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense,
dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense, dense
"However, dialogue brightens your book on the page. On the page, you want
white space. Dialogue provides that: playlets, which I frequently include in my
books; it's like a mini-play within a scene."
2. Read more dialogue to improve your writing. Great
dialogue inspires authors to write great dialogue. "You'll discover what's
good dialogue, what you think is good dialogue, and what you think is wooden
and not very good dialogue by reading and reading and reading," Judy says.
"And you'll learn from it simply by reading it again and again, and then
going to the next book and finding it because it's there." It appears in
every novel. There is conversation."
3. Keep your wording as simple as possible. Judy did not use
the word "said" when writing dialogue in a few of her earlier works.
"I resolved to write this entire novel without ever using the word'said,'
because said was such a boring word," she says. "'He said,' she
replied. I had my thesaurus nearby, and my characters did everything except
say. My characters yelled. They enchanted. They did everything except say. When
you're writing, put away your thesaurus."
4. Create voices that are realistic. Creating a character's
voice necessitates observing real-life interactions and making wise word
choices. "It's a matter of capturing the way people talk to each other on
the street, you know, in the workplace, wherever," Judy explains.
"Your characters should speak as themselves, which means they should be
believable and recognizable."