Wednesday, June 18, 2014
"What" writing partners argue over
That said, we have had one disagreement that has been ongoing for literally decades.
I think characters should say “what?” occasionally when they hear a big piece of information and David thinks it’s unnecessary.
“I want a divorce.”
“There’s a tank coming.”
David thinks I rely it on too much.
“These apples are good.”
Okay, maybe he has a point there. But I contend that people say “what?” in daily conversation way more than they even think they do. And to support my point, if so many people didn’t say it, then the expression would never have evolved to “What the fuck?” I’d like to think that through our scripts I helped coin and popularize that now-treasured phrase.
And I also exercise some discretion. I never pitch "say what?"
So how have we resolved this sticky matter?
David will say, “I’ll give you a ‘what?’ for two ‘so’s’.” Yes, this leads to other arguments (“I have a ‘what’ banked from Thursday.” “No, you used that ‘what’ Monday.” “But we cut that speech.” “It still counts.”), but on the whole this has gotten us through hundreds of scripts. And it’s an example of the kind of stupid shit partners bicker about all day.
And don’t get us started with when to use … and when to use --. The police were once called.
Update: I'm not alone it seems. Don Draper says "what?" a lot. Thanks to reader F.Rumsen for finding this.