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Suspension of Disbelief: Dialogue (1 Viewer)

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WF Veterans
A good example of dialogue that's nothing like actual speech, is any dialogue written by Aaron Sorkin. People aren't that clever so often and so consistently. But, you can't deny how impressive it is.

I struggle from this problem as well as I am told my dialogue is too on the nose, but when writing a crime thriller that deals in the legal world, police and lawyers have to talk to each other like that for legal purposes, and they cannot have people make mistakes if they try to read between the lines, so I guess one shouldn't try to write it realistically then, but try to find some sort of middle ground?

Watch any movie written by Mr. Sorkin. What they're saying in regards to the topic is often "on the nose". But, the scene is filled with the world around them and their speech is reflected in their choice of words, their behavior as they say the words, the emotion behind the words, etc. If you just give facts and figures, the dialogue is automatically dry.

Check out an episode of Columbo (I don't even know if this is still on TV). Columbo would interrogate people and just give the facts, but there's a ton of things shown that's not in the words spoken that makes the dialogue interesting. If my memory is accurate, what made Columbo awesome, wasn't that the viewer were surprised to discover who did what (the viewer is told who did the act in the beginning) but how Columbo corners the suspects through his investigation.

I think the show Monk is also good in that regard, as the MC has a ton of phobias. His phobias effect his behaviors and thus the visual delivery of the dialogue.

My point is, dialogue can actually be on the nose, but still very interesting. An although you can read a book with great dialogue, you may not actually get how they're doing it. I prefer watching a movie with good/great dialogue and examining both the words and the visual aspects of the scene. Incorporating all of it makes even on the nose dialogue rich and vibrant.


Senior Member
Oh okay. Actually Arron Sorkin is a good point, because writers are often told not to have dialogue be preachy, and he writes preachy speeches for his characters, all the time, not that that's bad.

Olly Buckle

If you are preachy in a way the audience agrees with you are on a winner, if they feel you are being critical of them they won't like it. Of course you can carry them with you sometimes, like,

"Just don't go, stay out of it"
"But I promised my support, it's not right to break a promise"
"No, you're right"
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