27 November 2013 9:12 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

The New York Times queried  14 talented screenwriters, asking simple questions like "What's the trick to writing realistic dialogue?," and many of the responses are fascinating. A highlight of answers below, from Richard Linklater ("Before Midnight"), Greta Gerwig ("Frances Ha"), Nicole Holofcener ("Enough Said"), Sarah Polley ("Stories We Tell"), Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy (both "Before Midnight") and more. Gerwig on a good screenwriting tip:Whenever you have an “idea,” as in a concept that you could explain to someone, like a hook or at worst a gimmick, that is a bad thing. It feels good, but it’s not good. The best ideas reveal themselves, you don’t “have” them. For me, anyway.Let your characters talk to each other and do things. Spend time with them — they’ll tell you who they are and what they’re up to.Hawke on the trick to writing a heartbreaking scene:There is no trick »

- Beth Hanna

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