On Talking: Novels vs Screenplays vs Plays

I love dialogue. Great dialogue can make your heart sing, from the Crispin's Day speech in Henry V to President Bartlet's rant against God in Two Cathedrals. And I've always fancied I'm not half-bad at it. There are fundamental differences between novels, plays and screenplays that I'm not going to delve into here, but the thing that grabbed me tonight is dialogue. I've started attending Kites and Violence in Waterloo, a writers group run by the funny and devastatingly handsome Sandy Nicholson. This evening's readings were from a feature film and a play. Both were very enjoyable, actually (though I had to duck out early because of trains) but wow, they sound so different! I've turned my hand to novels and the thing I hate about them is all the damn describing you have to do. There is a basic expectation of description that is actively avoided in screenplays. I personally feel this can go too far - JRR Tolkien may have been...
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