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January 2010
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Powerful writing

I have been thinking about Doctor Who: The End of Time. I enjoyed it, but my enjoyment was in spite of the script rather than because of it. The show contains a climactic scene which is half full of an expository monologue explaining why the situation is deadly and unfair. The more I think about that scene, the more I see how much more powerful it could have been if it had just been set up properly. A little bit of ground work earlier in the script would have given all the information that the torrent of words supplied. Then the Doctor could have arrived at that moment wordless, fearful, and I would have been right there with him.

I love scenes where the dialogue is simple, but the meanings are subtle and complex. An example is the ending scene of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when all the characters say is “okay.” It is only a single word repeated twice, but that one word implies acceptance, interest, love, a willingness to forgive, and a chance to start over. All those implications are created by everything that went before. It is all carefully crafted so that the scene can mean what it does.

I love it when a writer is able to put thoughts and feelings into my head without ever saying them out loud. I want to be able to do that.

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