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Crafting Organic Stories: Weaving Action and Dialogue like Quentin Tarantino

Updated: May 23

Writers are often tempted to artificially alter their stories with some formulaic additions, such as adding a chase scene, or a song if it's a screenplay for an Indian film (lol I may be guilt of this when I was working on my film screenplay).

I have nothing against it, honestly, but it would be better if these elements organically happened in the story, rather than being forced in as add-ons. If your writing leads you to a chase scene, then by all means, write one. But, don't put it or anything else in the script as an afterthought because it will come across as false, even if the chase scene is the most exciting scene in your movie.

I sometimes think of writing a script like writing a song. You start with a chord and have many options for what the next chord might be. But as you move through the song, your choices become fewer and fewer. A script is similar. You start with a scene, and the next scene can be just about anything, but as you progress through the story, it almost begins to write itself, and your choices become fewer and fewer, leading you to that sweet, perfect ending.

And in this realm of crafting stories that float like songs, my admiration for Quentin Tarantino stands unwavering. A devoted fanboy, I once delivered my college English class monologue on Pulp Fiction, a testament to Tarantino's masterful screenwriting. He is a total master at crafting screenplays that captivate audiences with a unique blend of action and dialogue. In my opinion, his writing style is rooted in three key principles. Hear more about it with examples from his films in the video below -


Action tells the story.

Tarantino's ability to write compelling action stands out when you read his screenplays. He makes sure you as a reader can perfectly visualize a particular scene, when reading his script, especially because of his incredible use of action to progress the scene. He understands that film is a visual medium, and the use of action is imperative to illustrate the visuals.

Poster for inglourious basterds made by design crescendo


Dialogue reveals character.

When it comes to dialogue, Tarantino is an absolute genius. He uses it to reveal character, ensuring that each character has a unique and individual voice that is believable and plausible. His dialogue takes the audience somewhere, with no throwaway lines or unnecessary exposition. As he famously said,

"I try to write dialogue that’s both realistic and stylized at the same time. I want it to sound like something people would actually say, but I also want it to be memorable and have a certain kind of flair."


Embrace anything and everything that can happen in the context of your story's universe.

Tarantino's ability to blend action and dialogue into a riveting concoction is unparalleled. He understands that film is a visual medium, where action is the pulse that propels the narrative forward. When reading his screenplays, one can perfectly visualize a scene, owing to his masterful use of action to progress the story. This principle mirrors the notion of seamlessly integrating elements, allowing them to emerge organically rather than imposing them as mere add-ons.

kill bill poster

Tarantino's screenplays are a testament to the power of good writing. His unique style and approach have inspired countless filmmakers and writers, me included. Why so much about him, apart from a cheap excuse to also share a couple of posters I've made in the past of his works? It's because I love the dude and I don't need any reason really.

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