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Writing Week!

Just FYI I’ve been swamped getting a secret project done. Well not too secret. Basically “Finish The Script!” which I’ll be posting more about soon, is going to have a fiction companion component and I’ve been trying to get the first draft of that done. It’s a full screenplay and even though I only started it last Thursday I’m already up to page 65 (I’ve been planning it for a month so it’s not like I’m just pulling it out of my butt)! My plan is to get the first draft done this week.

It sounds crazy but I normally crank out first drafts in 7 to 10 days and then will spend one to two months doing rewrites. But it is important that I get it done this week because I’m a college proffesor and my spring semester of classes starts next week. Once that happens I’ll have a lot less free time for creative things. So don’t be shocked if the blog is very quiet this week. Things should pick up again once I’m back in school and out of writer-mode.

The 5 Best iPhone Apps for Writers

This list is for iPhone apps only. That’s important to note because I think it’s crazy for anyone to actually write a novel or screenplay on their phone. However with a nice bluetooth keyboard there’s no reason why an iPad can’t be squeezed into your writing workflow. In fact in a few months when the Scrivener app for iOS is released I’ll probably do a review of the best writing programs for iOS but until then this is what you get!

Simple Note
Free on iTunes
Ideas come at all times and when they come it’s nice to have a simple app that’s easy to maneuver so you can write yourself notes. For that I think Simple Note is the best there is. Heck it has “Simple” in it’s name!

Of course a few other choices would be the very popular Evernote or iA Writer.


$2.99 on iTunes
Motivation is a pain in the butt when writing. It’s why most writers need a deadline because if they didn’t have the pressure of it they would never get anything done. That’s what’s great about WordTyrant it’s like NaNoWriMo in your pocket! You can set word count goals for the month and every day you can log your amount. There is then a nifty grid and stats which will help keep you motivated through the dreadful first draft of a project.


Free on iTunes
There is nothing more important when writing then having access to all your files and notes. Personally I live in Scrivener when I write and it syncs fabulously with Dropbox. However just about every note app or writing processor will also sync with it giving you access to any file you need.


Free on iTunes
So a not so little secret of mine is that I’m dyslexic and you’d think that a dictionary would be important for me, but I don’t even bother. Spellcheck normally has my back and when it doesn’t that’s why I have copy editors! However what I use all the time are thesaurus and the Dictionary.com App has one built in. It’s not the top of the line, but honestly I’ve spent up to $15 on iOS thesaurus apps and none of them have a word index any more robust than what’s in this free app.


Free on iTunes
I’ve never been a fan of the mind-map craze. I’m a strictly paper and pen kind of guy. However SimpleMind+ is a nice tool for planning outlines. It’s easy to use and if you upgrade to the paid version it gives you a lot more options for customizing your maps.

Honorable Mentions:

Free on iTunes
Wikipedia is easy to reach with a quick google but this app is great because it’s fully optimized for the iPhone and it makes searching and researching that much faster.

Free on iTunes
Let’s be honest, writing means you are spending a lot of time sitting on your butt. I can easily spend ten hours or more in my computer chair when I’m deep in a writing project. That’s what’s great about RunKeeper, it keeps track of your movements and gives you reminders that squeezing in a few miles of walking or cardio is important. Then in union with it I’m a big fan of Lose It! which is a food logging program that syncs with RunKeeper.

$9.99 on iTunes
Pages is the mac-daddy of word processors on the iPhone. I think Scrivener will be a contender when it comes out but for right now Pages is the best. So if you are going to go against my advise and do actual writing on your phone then make sure you checkout Pages.

Final Draft Reader
Free on iTunes
When I’m not in Scrivener the only other real writing program I use on my computer is Final Draft, partially cause I do a lot of freelance editing. The problem is that those pesky final draft files are a pain in the butt. No program really likes them. So what’s great about FD Reader is that I can open dropbox on my iPhone, pick any Final Draft file and FD Reader will open it. It makes reading work for my clients so much easier!

Index Card
$1.99 on iTunes
I’m a big outliner and what I love about Index Card is that it syncs up with Scrivener so that any tweaking I do shows up on my computer with no effort on my part. It means I can be on the go and in those five minutes or so of down time I can stop and adjust my structure or notes. Then when I get home everything is already in place and ready to go.


2012’s Black List

This year’s Black List is out. I LOVE the Black List. For those of you who don’t know it’s basically a list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.

It’s neat to see what’s hot and what’s not. However what I really enjoy is the loglines. One of the first things I make my writing students do is write an elevator-pitch/logline and the Black List always has great examples of well written ones. For example check out these:


Each of these examples are short and to the point. They do a great job of pitching a the scripts premise, protagonist, and their protagonist’s wants. So if you are struggling in trying to find decent sample loglines, then you may want to consider checking out The Black List.