As a writer myself, I get how difficult writing dialogue can be, and yet, I still get feedback from various readers saying that the dialogue is either on the nose or the characters sound alike. However, I've noticed that over the years, my dialogue has somewhat improved, but of course there's plenty of work that has to be done, so don't fret writers. This is an easy fix.
One way to write dialogue is to use subtext. In other words, try to say it without saying it. For example, let's say you have a scene where a couple is in a heated argument and someone says, "I can't do this anymore! I'm leaving you!" First, the dialogue is on the nose and too obvious. Normally characters don't speak what is on their minds, so perhaps instead, the character could easily leave the situation. The audience could then easily conclude that the said relationship is over.
Starting the Script
Before you can write a script, it's important to have the following: a logline, beat sheet, and scenes mapped out from start to end (of course this is optional). Once you have these, then you can start writing. Think of writing a script like building a house. In order to build a house, you need the foundation and a blueprint so you know what the final product is going to look like in the end. Sometimes, writers will scrap the pre-production process and get writing. In some cases, they get stuck along the way and others end up with a messy draft. Even if you do have everything mapped out, it's important to know your first draft isn't going to be the best, and that's okay! That's why you go back and make changes and clean up the script.
Once everything is completed and you strongly believe your script is ready to be sold, keep this in mind: the film industry is competitive so be wary of who you send your script to. However, there's a few solutions to getting at least one step closer towards selling your script, which will be expanded upon in a future post. For now, here's a summary.
1. Have a variety of scripts on hand that are extremely polished.
2. Network! Join screenwriting groups and connect with others. What are they working on? Have they had anything produced?
3. Keep writing!
So, no matter what your facing, there is a simple solution and of course, it's all about timing. If you've found this helpful, stick around because I'm going to dive a bit deeper into each of these problems this month. Until then, keep up the good work!