I have packratatosis. Don’t bother looking it up. It’s not contagious. Organization is not in my genes. Y’all saw my mom on American Pickers. It’s no wonder I can’t even organize writing projects. As some may remember, I vowed to have the outline done for my novel by July 12th… well, I just finished it last night (the 14th). Better late than never. Part of why I was having a hard time was shuffling through 20 pages of random notes with no sense of order.
Until… Best Selling thriller writer JT Ellison turned me onto Scrivener. I. Am. Hooked. In using the program, I reached out to others online and asked what they use: StoryO and Movie Outline were the other top choices.
Let’s explore a bit of each:
1. Scrivener – As I mentioned, I’ve been using it to help me develop my series of novels, but the program could just as easily organize screenplays, but especially TV series. I have mine set up with folders for research, characters, chapters, pictures, and even the next two novels in the series. What is brilliant is you can color code files, allowing you to see if you have the right balance of characters in your story. You can also set a target goal of your word count, including what days of the week you will write, to help you calculate when you can realistically finish (love a deadline!). Another ScriptMag contributor, Clive Davies-Frayne, uses Scrivener to organize his blog posts, allowing him to keep track of what topics he’s posting and what he needs to cover more of. I’m seriously hooked. Now to admit I have had it on my MacBook Pro for two years but was intimidated to use it. The shame! Note: The program imports into Final Draft too.
2. StoryO – Tomorrow’s Screenwriting Product Review will be on StoryO, so I’ll let Forris Day Jr. give you all the deets. As I edited his review, this stuck out at me, “Now for one of the coolest features StoryO software offers. This feature is used in the event that you want to seek funding for your book, movie, screenplay or project. The Pitch module. In the Pitch module you can easily create a Powerpoint-like presentation using pictures of your characters, places and things used in the project. There are templates where you drag and drop pictures, type custom text or use text from your virtual index cards. It just does not get any simpler to create a professional presentation that you can show to potential investors. Before I used StoryO, I knew nothing about pitching a project, but by experimenting with the included sample files, I now know I could certainly put a pitch together easily.” Love a program that takes you beyond creating your story! (ON SALE until July 21, 2013!)
3. Movie Outline – Designed by a produced screenwriter, Movie Outline 3.1 is an all-in-one development package that uses the simple technique of step-outlining to help build your story, characters and screenplay scene-by-scene, letting you focus on each key event of your script without losing sight of the bigger picture.
Now you have no excuse but to grab all those notes and get organized!
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.