Yesterday I had a weird experience with someone who was reading some of my work and this person started correcting dialogue things and actually sent me like War & Peace list of fixes, that weren’t actually wrong. I felt that I had to defend myself and explain that people don’t speak in “perfect English”, and she just couldn’t see that. This isn’t uncommon actually with writers.
Ever since I started doing script and book reading and coverage, I notice more and more and more, (run on sentence) stiff dialogue because the writer is so fouces on perfect grammar that they have forgotten completely about reality. People rarely speak in perfect grammar-if they do, are they really the kind of people you want to hang out with?
When studying French I would ask my French friends grammar questions and they would say, “I don’t know, nobody speaks like that.”. I am not saying that grammar isn’t important, because of course it is, but you have to just think about it with logic and reason.
This is the BIGGEST mistake people make when writing dialogue and I see it all the time. Then the writer in question has his or her heart is broken when you tell them to losen it up a bit. I may not be the best writer and I am the queen of typos and mistakes-I admit that about myself-but I always get complimented on dialogue-always.
I think if you are a creative writer-especially screen and teleplays-you need to focus on STORY not perfect English, especially when your characters are speaking. If you spend all your time worrying about getting it perfect, you will never accomplish a great story.
I had friends in high school and college get upset with me because with little to no effort I got As on all my creative writing assignments and book essays. Their papers would be technically perfect and mine had heart and soul. It isn’t that I don’t care about those things, but it just isn’t my focus.
I also do storyboarding and I see this all the time in art. Those who worry about making these perfect sistine chapel drawings usually end up with stiff boring boards that don’t convey story, emotion, or acting. It’s not saying to not do a good drawing, but again, you are focusing on the wrong thing.
Typos are another thing that happens to writers all the time, no matter who you are. The reason is that your mind fills in what you wanted to write when something is wrong and you can not see it. God invented editors for a reason. Okay, I am kidding, because it does look unprofessional to hand in any work with mistakes all over it, but you get the point? Don’t you?
In any case, this was an interesting article that one of the making writing sites I follow posted on Facebook today and I thought I would share.