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Writing Dialogue

How to Craft Effective Dialogue

Storyteller OS users: Clip this video into your Knowledge Base and categorize it under Prose + Dialogue

In this video, the creator gives tips on writing effective dialogue, drawing from the expertise of screenwriting greats like David Mamet and Aaron Sorkin. The focus is on context, character development, and the purpose of the scene, rather than flashy one-liners or complicated subtext. The creator emphasizes simplicity, and encourages writers to find their own voice rather than trying to mimic famous writers.

Prose + Dialogue


  • Dialogue is not just conversation or witty one-liners; it's a tool to move the story forward through characters heading towards their goals.
  • Focus on the context of the scene and what each character wants and believes before worrying about the dialogue itself.
  • Stylistic dialogue is simply a tool in the toolbox and should serve the story.
  • David Mamet's three questions for writing dialogue in a scene are: Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don't get it? Why now?
  • Aaron Sorkin's method of intention and obstacle involves understanding what each character wants and what is stopping them from getting it.
  • Don't worry about writing like famous screenwriters; find your own voice and style.
  • Writing good dialogue takes practice, and simplicity is often key.