All too often writers, especially experienced writers, get lazy. They get comfortable in their own writing shoes with their tried and tested screenwriting habits and while this makes knocking out a screenplay a hell of a lot easier than it was when they first started writing.. back in the day, it also sometimes leads to stale material and obvious choices, whether that be for dialogue, characterizations or plot.
So the next time you sit down in front of your computer, take this advice, if you want to know how to write a script: Don’t take the obvious option! If it’s easy to come up with then chances are maybe the audience would have expected it too.
For dialogue, acknowledge your initial idea for a witty retort then step back, chew it over and play around with a few more by turning the dialogue on its head and experimenting with something you would not normally write or that particular character would not typically say. Even if it doesn’t work at first the process will get you thinking and open your mind up to new ideas to make the dialogue fresh and less “on the nose”.
And for plots, instead of surging from one chase scene to an action-packed confrontation between the hero and villain, why not insert something unexpected into the mix? Or create a surprising chain of events and progression of scenes that keep ‘em guessing! In short: lead the audience down a familiar route and then turn your story 180 degrees. If you do this your script will be less predictable and it will leave your audience begging for more…