How To Say It

Often writers fall into the trap of trying to tell an actor HOW to deliver a line.

BIG mistake!

9 times out of 10, how a line of Dialogue should be delivered will be obvious based on the context of the scene.

Whether a character is exhausted, frightened, giddy, surprised, mournful, or whatever, the action of the scene will likely be enough to convey a character's emotional state as the character speaks.

However every once in a while, a character may NOT react to a situation as expected. Maybe a character SHOULD be exhausted, but somehow appears ready for more. Maybe a character SHOULD be saddened by a tragic event, but for reasons unbeknownst to the reader, he or she is actually happy. Maybe a character delivers a line sarcastically, and if that sarcasm isn't made known, an actor may not realize the character is being sarcastic.

In these rare situations, it is perfectly acceptable to use a Parenthetical to convey to the actor how to deliver a line of dialogue.

Here are two examples:

In the first example, the character is speaking sarcastically.

In the next example, there is a surprise party in the speaker's honor. However, the speaker of the Dialogue already knew about the surprise, but has to pretend he didn't.