Saturday 3 December 2016
**This is not a paid advertisement for any of the software or programmes that I refer to. It’s simply my explanation of a recent purchase.**
I made a rather expensive, but rather exciting purchase last week. I’d been hedging around the purchase, on and off, for a few years but had never actually got around to committing to spending the money. But on Wednesday, I felt that it was time – the right time – to spend the money. Spurred on by the knowledge that a lot of professional writers, many of whom I admire, use the software, I forked out the cash for Final Draft 10. For those who aren’t aware of the point of this software, it’s primarily a scriptwriting programme, but it does cater for novelists as well.
Up to this point, I’ve always used either Pages or Word for my writing. To be fair, Word tends to be the programme that I use the most for writing. It’s a simple piece of software to use, as the majority of you will know. And it’s not software that I’ll throw away and never use again now that I’ve got Final Draft 10. Word will still be my go-to programme for writing blog posts, and a sh!t load of other types of writing that I inevitably do. For years, when I was writing a lot of scripts, I depended upon Word, but it was cr@p for formatting scripts in any professional manner.
Final Draft 10 though . . . oh good Lord, it’s a fabulous piece of programming. A few taps of the tab key and all of the formatting slots itself into place, and the best part is, you can choose what style of script you want to write – BBC TV drama, US film script, Broadway play – plus a couple of novel manuscript, and treatment templates. It’s a piece of writer’s software, created by writers, for writers.
I had a bit of a play around with it the day I purchased it. Set myself up with a BBC TV drama screenplay, and tapped away at a scene that had taken up a lot of my thoughts recently. It was so much easier to focus on the story and the dialogue when I wasn’t having to consider formatting the piece. I don’t know why I waited so long to buy this software. What the hell was I thinking? Or, more to the point, what the hell wasn’t I thinking?
Now I find myself trying to figure out how I can wrangle time to sit in front of my computer, open up Final Draft 10, and type out script after script. Of course, the danger in that is that I end up creating really sh!t scripts because, instead of actually thinking about something worthwhile to write about, I just produce cr@p in order to get screen time with this programme. There is an idea that I’ve allowed to take up residence in my head, and I do want to get around to scripting the whole thing out, but I’m following Sally Wainwright’s advice, and I’m attempting to write a highly detailed scene by scene breakdown of the story. The thing is, at the moment, the scenes are coming to me out of order, jumbled, bits and pieces of dialogue pop into my head at the most inopportune time, and I’m fighting against it sounding like stories that have already been told, and stereotypical ideas, characters, and dialogue. On the plus side, however, the ideas are coming, the scenes are forming, and once I get that scene by scene breakdown done in some semblance of order, I can script it to my lil heart’s content.
Holidays are coming up; only a couple more weeks of the working year are in front of me, and I’m determined this break to get back to a writing routine, and produce this idea that’s in my head. Then maybe I might just take the opportunity to submit it to a particular development programme run by one of my favourite TV channels. Maybe. At the moment, though, I’m looking for any opportunity to open Final Draft 10, and get scripting. I’ve got that urge to write again.