Writers write. But how do you construct a story without the proper writing tools?
Here are some classic and not-so-classic writing tools I use to help me:
1. Movie Magic Screenwriter 6: I've used both Movie Magic (MM) and Final Draft, but when I write with a writing partner, I much prefer Movie Magic Screenwriter. Both softwares are amazing, but for me, it's the notes feature that makes MM my preferred choice. Writers tend to either neatly put items in folders or leave them strewn on their desk. I'm the latter. Messy desk, for sure. With MM, the notes are always open and visible in the document. Final Draft keeps them nicely hidden, requiring you to click on them to view. Some of you may prefer that way of working.
2. Strunk and White TheElement's of Style: I've owned a copy of The Elements of Style for as long as I can remember. It was a "must have" according to my father, who lived to mark up my school papers in red market. It's one of the books always within arm's reach of my writing desk.
3. Linda Aronson's The 21st-Century Screenplay: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Tomorrow's Films: Linda's book is a new find for me and one I highly recommend. Everyone learns differently. I'm a visual learner, so one of the best ways for me to wrap my brain around something is to have it shown to me using examples. Linda covers classic to avant-garde scripts, from The African Queen and Tootsie to 21 Grams, Pulp Fiction, Memento, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
4. Screenplay Brass Fasteners: Presentation matters. If you're submitting a hard copy of your script to a studio, you'll want to bind it with brass brads (one in the top hole, one in the bottom hole, NONE in the middle). The best way to secure the brads is to use washers. You don't want the reader's attention on keeping your script from falling apart instead of on your story.
5. Read, read, READ screenplays! At The Writers Store we have tons of screenplays available to read. It truly is the best way to familiarize yourself with style, structure, format and great storytelling.
6. Craft Compelling Characters and Stories - Mac Edition: Since I'm a Mac girl, check out our new Screenwriting Kit at The Writers Store. If you got all the products individually, it would cost $249.87... but bundled, costs only $99.00! BIG savings! It includes the following:
- Writer's DreamKit - Download Edition (Mac)
- Constructing Powerful Story in TV & Film - OnDemand Edition
- 10 Effective Techniques for Creating Your Cast of Characters - OnDemand Edition
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting - Audio CD
- Story Physics - eBook (PDF)
Now get your writing toolbox filled with goodies and get to work!
Jeanne Veillette Bowerman is the Editor and Online Community Manager of Script Magazine and a webinar instructor for The Writers Store. She is Co-Founder and moderator of the weekly Twitter screenwriters’ chat, #Scriptchat, and wrote the narrative adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, with its author, Douglas A. Blackmon, former senior national correspondent of The Wall Street Journal. Jeanne also is President of Implicit Productions and consults with writers on how to build and strengthen their online and offline networks as well as face their fears in order to succeed in writing and in personal peace - a screenwriter's therapist. More information can be found on her blog, ramblings of a recovered insecureaholic. Follow @jeannevb on Twitter.