Choosing dialogue for common exchanges is one of the most difficult aspects of dialogue creation within the realm of screenwriting. I remember first bringing up this topic with my writers and having an entire room look at me as if I was crazy. After several moments of silence, I continued to explain that being original in how characters greet each other as well as how they communicate within a standard, or common, basis is challenging as it requires a viewpoint outside of your own self.
Using unique dialogue for common exchanges keeps your story fresh and your characters interesting. The most important reason for keeping this rule in mind is it allows your characters the chance to step outside of your own mind and into their own world.
Greetings and Goodbyes
This is one of my personal pet-peeves. Imagine watching a movie where at the beginning of every scene, whenever two or more characters meet, they always say the same greeting. Imagine how boring that would be as an audience member to watch. Throughout the course of a film characters meet and greet multiple times. If each character was to use the same greeting or the same goodbye, then it would be quite apparent these people were created with the same writers mind.
One of the most important rules when it comes to screenwriting dialogue creation is to be unique when it comes to common verbal exchanges.
Keep in mind that each of these characters is different. Each character has a unique upbringing and may even be from a different part of the country. Even if your characters are from the same small town in Georgia, they were raise differently and their minds are unique just as yours are.
It’s when there isn’t a difference between these characters and how they engage on a common, comfortable level that your story become boring and unbelievable. But how exactly can you avoid falling into this trap?
Think Of Their Personality
Before delving into dialogue you must first be aware of who these characters are. This is only done by creating detailed character biographies and outlines. It’s only when you understand what the differences between Carol and Kristen are that you can create unique language to showcase these differences.
Whenever you write a single line of dialogue for these character you must first understand their personality.
Common Exchanges Vary Upon Setting And Relationships
A Common exchange between a mother and son will differ from exchanges between the same son and his teacher or the mother and the man she’s having an affair with. While each of these scenarios requires a level of familiarity within their speech, they will be completely different. It’s only when you realize that there is a difference between characters and how their external influences affect these differences that you can create unique and interesting people rich with realism and believability.