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How To Use Screenwriting Software To Organize Scenes & Plan Script Rewrites

By Dan Bronzite

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Previous Article: Can Screenplay Software Help Structure My Story & Film Script?

When you first start writing you will probably just want to blurt it all out onto paper or onto your favorite word processor but then comes the problem of organizing all of these notes and pages and rearranging them so they make sense. That's where screenwriting software such as Movie Outline and its powerful story outlining tools come into play.

Any professional screenwriter will tell you about the importance of proper planning when it comes to writing a screenplay. Of course you will always have to do rewrites but if you take the time to outline your story, before you start writing the action and dialogue, you will save yourself a whole heap of grief in the long run.

So instead of writing your story from beginning to end on your regular word processor, use Movie Outline screenplay software instead and take advantage of its step outlining tools to break your story up into individual steps.. or "Key Events". Then when you have completed your outline you can move over to the Script Panel and start adding your script! It's as simple as that. Organzing Your Outline & Rearranging Scenes with Movie Outline

You can also use Story Tasks (a story to-do list) to note down important ideas about your movie and check them off as you complete them - that way you'll never forgot to include important plot points and snippets of dialogue that came to you in the middle of the night.

One Thing To Remember

You probably already have your own way of working or will develop your own writing methodology as you progress as a writer. That means that you may prefer to make physical notes on a note pad then type them into your screenwriting software and refine those notes during the inputting process. While other writers may prefer to use software to type up their notes as the ideas emerge and then print out these notes for revision. The trick is to find the method that suits you best and customize your software to fit into that and not the other way around.

Let's take Movie Outline as an example. Sure, it's designed for writers to use the step-outlining system since outlining is such an important part of story planning and script writing but you are not "forced down that road". If you don't want to create your story and script in steps then you don't have to. You can simply write everything in a single step and use the Story Tasks tool for planning. The point is, steer away from any software that has a rigid structure and paradigm that you MUST follow because ultimately it will restrict the creative process and lead to a poor story and screenplay.

Plan Your Rewrites

A good screenwriter will approach the rewriting phase of their project with the same mindset as their first draft. That is, they will plan the draft before diving in. The advantage of tackling a rewrite is that you already have your outline and script in place along with a bunch of development notes either from friends or collaborators. But don't get lazy and just take on problem scenes without viewing them within the context and theme of the full script. Look at the entire narrative and arcs of your principle characters and how the changes you make will affect these elements.

Make sure you plan each thread of your rewrite in tandem with subplots and character journeys. Move scenes around using screenwriting software to help you. Most script writing applications have index card features and Movie Outline also allows you to view outline, script and notes on these cards which can be present step or scene information or content from referenced movie breakdowns. Use all the tools you have at your disposal to structure the next draft into a cohesive narrative where each scene naturally flows to the next and each story or character turning point directly influences the proceeding story development. Rewriting is a crucial stage in your script's life so don't rush and don't cut corners!

Next Article: How Do I Write Believable Characters & Develop Their Character Arcs?

About Dan Bronzite

Dan is a produced screenwriter, CEO of Nuvotech and creator of Movie Outline 3 screenwriting software. He has written numerous specs and commissioned feature scripts including screenplay adaptations of Andrea Badenoch's Driven and Irvine Welsh's gritty and darkly comic novel Filth. Dan is a contributor to Script Magazine and has also directed two award-winning short films Finders, Keepers... (1995) and Absolution (2001) which have played the international festival circuit. His most notable feature to date is Long Time Dead, a supernatural horror for Working Title Films starring Lukas Haas, Marsha Thomason, Lara Belmont, Alec Newman and Joe Absolom. His spec horror Do or Die was recently sold to Qwerty Films and he is in the process of developing his directorial feature debut and various US and UK projects.

Screenwriting Article by Dan Bronzite

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