In his must-read book, Adventures in the Screen Trade, William Goldman says, “Yes, nifty dialogue helps one hell of a lot; sure, it’s nice if you can bring your characters to life. But you can have terrific characters spouting just swell talk to each other, and if the structure is unsound, forget it.”
And of course, the opposite is also true. Having a well executed structure helps one hell of a lot. But if you can’t bring your characters fully to life, and they walk around spouting flat dialogue, forget it.
Because your script is only as strong as its weakest link.
Which explains why there is such a huge failure rate among writers trying to break into the business. Many find themselves only able to get half of the equation right. They can come up with big concepts and a solid enough story, but are forever told their characters are flat and one-dimensional. Or they can nail characters and dialogue, but always come up lacking in the structure department.
Most writers know which part they excel at and which part is holding them back. But they don’t know what to do about it. They read the books and take the seminars, but it never seems to help. In fact, it often ends up hurting their writing because a bunch of rules and formulas is never the answer.
The real solution comes from understanding how to identify your weaknesses and turn them into strengths through a process known as creative integration. In my recent guest spot on Pilar Alessandra’s On the Page podcast, I explained how writers can achieve creative integration. I invite you to listen to our interview below:
Posted in Corey’s Blog | August 9, 2012