Dialogue Breaks

Occasionally a character's dialogue will be interrupted by a Direction paragraph. When the Dialogue continues, the writer will need to decide how to indicate the continuation of the same character's dialogue.

There used to be many ways to show the continuation, but a couple of them have gone out of style and are no longer used.

One way used to be to indicate the continuation with a Parenthetical like this:

But screenwriters don't do this anymore.

Another way was to indicate the continuation through the use of a Character Heading extension, but with lowercase letters, like this:

But again, this has gone out of practice, and shouldn't be done today.

Instead, do the same thing (use an extension), but write (CONT'D) in ALL CAPS, like this:

What's more, most screenwriting software, such as Final Draft, handle the Continuation extension automatically, so writer's don't have to remember.

Of course, even the Continuation extension is slowly being faded out of existence. More and more, writers are not indicating a continuation of dialogue at all, which means writing your dialogue like this is fine:

However, sometimes a Dialogue block will be broken at the end of a page. When this happens, writers really need to include the Continuation extension. Also, writers should cue the reader that the Dialogue continues on the next page by typing (MORE) at the bottom of the page, indented as a Character Heading.

Look at this Page Break:

Writing Note: You'll notice that the Dialogue breaks at the end of a sentence, not within a sentence. Had the first sentence of Paul's Dialogue been much longer, the entire Dialogue block would have needed to be moved down to Page 2.

Also, Character Headers should NEVER be left orphaned at the bottom of a page. Had I moved the first sentence down to Page 3, I'd have had to move PAUL along with it.

The (MORE) is only needed when there is a Page Break in Dialogue, but not for a break in a Direction paragraph.

By the way, screenwriting software such as Final Draft ALSO handles the Page Breaks correctly and automatically.