October 29, 2010


Which Software for NaNoWriMo?

For my screenwriting, I’ve been using Final Draft 8. I also have & used Movie Magic Screenwriter 6.

But formatting a novel is quite different, and Word just doesn’t cut it. It takes too much time to fix the chapter/scene spacings etc. The thing about Chapters (for example) is that I want to shift down the page without hitting the tab button multiple times. I tried creating a chapter element which starts at a certain point (in other words spaces before). But what if I want to put “Part One” just before it? It was becoming cumbersome. And I want my time to be spent getting those 50,000 words down.

So I tried Final Draft 8. It has a novel template, but it doesn’t auto tab. You have to do this manually. Huh? There’s gotta be something better. So I moved on.

Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 does do auto tab. WoooHooo! Their website also had a novel template which auto set my Chapter, Part numbers etc. No need to tab down the page. It already does this when you insert a page break. So far so good!

I researched and found Liquid Story Binder XE. This program seems like it can do so much. It’s very complicated. I went through many tutorials, which can be found on YouTube. For my needs, I just want to start writing, sectioning my chapter & sections in an easy to read linear pattern. But this program seemed to compartmentalize things. You have to open a Chapter (with a box that pops up), then open something else (another pop box). I come from an intense Excel background and like to have things laid out for me. Excel is what I use for my synopsis, loglines, character bios etc… I like how things are right in from of me in a tabular format. No need to search for things.

Regarding Liquid Story Binder XE, maybe there’s an easier way, but I found that things were too hidden. I spent so much time trying to figure things out that I never found a way to set the Chapter/scene spacing that I wanted. So I decided to work on this another time.

On the NaNoWriMo website, there’s a promotion to try Scrivener. They have a Mac version available, but I don’t have Mac. Luckily, they made a beta version for Windows. You can try it till early December for free and post any issues you have. So you become the bug finder. And when they fix the bugs and it’s ready for sale, those who used it for NaNoWriMo get a discount.

So I gave it a shot. I really liked Scrivener because it’s very user friendly with very little learning time. You can just start. I watched their short tutorial and was ready to go. It contains a corkboard, and a place to put your synopsis, which is very easy to view and manipulate. The synopsis viewer is structured very much like Excel, which I love.

But as far as formatting, that will come in the next version. Presently, you can’t double space. Also, it seems you have to tab down the page for your Chapters. So it’s not a program that you can use right now, without having to format somewhere else. But I think it will turn out to be a wonderful program in the future.

Bottom line: for NaNoWriMo, I will be using Movie Magic Screenwriter 6. It practically takes the formatting out of my hands.



About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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