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Arguably the most consistent note that shows up in the script coverage for screenplays from newer screenwriters is an abundance of on-the-nose dialogue. It’s this bizarre thing that happens where we all know how human beings speak, but it is so tempting to just let them say what they mean. 

This is the plainest difference between “good dialogue” and “bad dialogue.” It seems subjective, though, right? When it comes to on-the-nose dialogue, it isn’t really. The simple litmus test for this is, “Are your characters saying what they mean?” If the answer is yes, that’s on-the-nose dialogue.

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