Grammar for screenwriters: abstract vs concrete

When writing dialogue and scene descriptions, use concrete language (things that can be photographed or immediately understood, like “light, feel, sword, puppy, love) over abstract words (nuance, liminal, vagaries, analogous). They communicate better and paint a word picture.

If you listen to songs on the radio, you’ll be surprised how concrete the language is, whether it’s Top 40 pop, or more cerebral bands like Death Cab For Cutie.

As a giant nerd and huge hypocrite, I ignore this all the time in my blogs, but I’m hyper-vigilant about it in my screenwriting.

For a more technical description, see here.

Published by Matt Lazarus

WGA screenwriter offering in-depth writing instruction, notes, critique, and assistance.

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