Today is the first day of the weeklong holiday of Sukkot, celebrated five days after Yom Kippur. Sukkot is the Jewish holiday of the harvest and also commemorates the forty years that the Jews wandered in the desert after receiving the Torah. Much of the imagery and ritual of the holiday revolves around rejoicing and thanking God for the completed harvest.
This holiday is celebrated in an unusual way. Traditionally, a hut is built outside, and the family will spend time eating, entertaining, or even sleeping in it during the celebration week. When I was a girl, my synagogue built one and had big group dinners. It was a lot of fun. It’s wonderful that this joyful holiday follows the solemnity of Yom Kippur.
This week, I held my second dialogue webinar: Write Amazing Dialogue, A Deep Dive. It was well attended and the students asked wonderful questions! As this was a “deep dive” into the art of writing dialogue I’d like to recap some of the topics we covered.
1. If you will structure all stories and all scenes from an understanding of what the main characters dream is, using the 4 Magic Questions of Screenwriting, you will make fewer mistakes and write more exciting dialogue.
2. Understand your character’s frame of reference: where they come from, how they grew up, what was their education, what do they like to eat?
3. Location is a critical element in determining a scene. The natural limits of that setting whether a church or a restaurant help to shape the dialogue organically. You can control the degree of intimacy by choosing where the characters will be talking.
4. Determine not only the obvious relationship between the characters, i.e., student/teacher, but also how they feel about each other, and are there other elements present, such as they’re also friends, or are dating.
5. Ask yourself where the characters were immediately before this scene begins. By bringing in the immediate past, you will find that the character’s express themselves in richer and more interesting ways.
6. A scene begins when a character wants something and ends when they either get it, or they don’t.
7. All scenes should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Every scene must push the action forward, so we can’t wait to watch or read the following one.
To recap, the webinar had a lot of useful ideas, and these are a few of the main ones that you can instantly apply to write better scenes. Join us next time!
My next webinar will be held on Thursday, October 15, 2020 so save the date and we’ll send an invite next week.
Very excited to share Jokeonastick Episode #40.
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz