Writer's Blocks 4 is a really cool program designed for all writers that need help shaping their ideas into a coherent structure. If you're a writer whose organizational style involves the use of index cards, sticky notes or jotting your ideas randomly in a notepad, then read on.
Whether you write books, movie scripts, research papers, speeches, newscasts...or whatever, Writer's Blocks 4 is an invaluable program to have on your computer. It's PC only though, no Mac version available as of yet. Think of it as having a huge supply of “electronic” index cards, or blocks as they are called in the program. The blocks are arranged in columns in a workspace that can be sized to your specific needs. Each block holds a thought, idea, note, or quote. Every block has a title, a space to write and a space for reference information, a feature great for creating research papers. Once you have your information in the blocks you can easily move them around the workspace to change their order. This makes outlining your writing easy and fun.
Writer's Blocks 4 also has it's own full-featured word processor that includes a dictionary and thesaurus. You use this word processor when you view your blocks in manuscript mode. Simply put, when you export blocks to a manuscript they are copied into the manuscript pane in the order that you arranged them in the block panel. Once in the manuscript mode you can finish writing and formatting your project. If it's a script you're writing, it can be formatted to industry standard in Writer's Blocks 4.
One of the most impressive features I found is the power panel. It's a floating window that has many of the basic controls built into it such as add block, remove block and more. This is a useful tool if you are writing a research paper, researching a script, or just need to go to the web or another program to get some information. For example, by making the power panel “float” over your browser, you can copy stuff directly from a webpage and paste it into the power panel, which is in essence a block. Use the reference section of the block for web address or any information regarding where the material was referenced from. Need another block? Just click 'add block' and repeat the process.
A really fun, flexible and intuitive program to help you write better and faster, Writer's Blocks 4 is a tool that fills a void for people who need help putting things in order. You can go from start to finish with your project in Writer's Blocks 4 or export into another program if you would like. It exports in many formats such as Word, .txt and PDF. Writer's Blocks 4 is affordable at $149 USD but there is also a version with less bells and whistles called Writer's Blocks Essence for $39 USD (editor's note: Writer's Block 4 is on sale for $99.00 until May 17, 2013). I personally believe it is worth buying the full-blown version, but I recommend you compare the features for both to see what is the best fit for you.
I want to be clear on the fact that Writer's Blocks 4 is not a system but rather a tool for writing. Just like a carpenter has tools at their disposal, so should a writer, and Writer's Block 4 should be one of them.
PROs – Fun to use, dozens of tutorials to help you learn, easy to maneuver around with tons of features, two pricing levels making it affordable to everyone. Free 30 day trial.
CONs – Only available for Windows computers. Not available for Windows 8 as of this writing but keep an eye open. Could use more tutorials for some of the more in depth features.
BOTTOM-LINE – A simple to use, yet powerful program designed to create order out of chaos. I recommend it for anyone who cannot write in a linear fashion or just needs a way to stay organized.
More Screenwriting Product Reviews by Forris Day Jr.