Screenwriting Secrets by John Scott Lewinski

Screenwriting Secrets » WritePro

You may have seen the ads for this all-purpose creative writing package in magazines or brochures.
WritePro does not claim to aid only screenwriters. It is careful to describe itself as a program designed to improve your creative writing, whether in screenplays, teleplays, stage plays, novels, etc.

WritePro uses the Stein Creative Writing Program, named for its designer, Sol Stein. According to the product's accompanying print materials, Stein is a prize-winning author and award-winning writing instructor who edited and published many of the 20th Century's most notable writers (including James Baldwin, Jack Higgins, Elia Kazan, Budd Schulberg, Dylan Thomas, F. Lee Bailey, David Frost, Lionel Trilling and the Oxford-trained poet, W.H. Auden). Stein guided Kazan's first novel, which sold 3 million copies. Stein also edited seven Jack Higgins novels, which earned an average of $2 million each.

A successful novelist, poet and screenwriter for 20th Century Fox, Stein puts his experience into a series of brief, simple lessons to lead a writer through his take on the secrets of effective fiction writing.

For example, Stein stresses the importance of editing and revision, explaining that an amateur is often reluctant cut his or own material. One of the lessons examines the skills needed to "flab edit." Stein calls unnecessary words and phrases "flab." The Flab Editor function within WritePro effectively allows a writer to compare writing to more efficient style. Once a writer completes the Flab Editor lesson in the program, he or she can use the editor function at anytime during the following lessons. WritePro's designers no doubt hope that will train the writer's brain to identify and limit innate wordiness.

WritePro also offers a function for catching those fleeting brainstorming ideas that can pop into any writer's head amidst the creative writing process. If such an idea comes along, the writer can hit Control J and call up an Author's Journal window. The Author's Journal is essentially a floating notepad function (similar to the utilities located in pull down menus for he standard Macintosh and Windows operating systems).

The writer can then save the idea in a text file, perhaps printing out the collection of brainstorms after the writing lesson.

If a writer tires during a particular lesson, or feels the urge to escape the cyber classroom and get down to actual writing for a while, the program offers a convenient Autoresume function. When finished with the WritePro work for a day, the writer can quit the program. His or her work is saved regularly if the Autosave function is correctly activated. When the learning writer next starts the program, the software immediately picks up where the student left off. The lesson continues as if no delay interceded. (Just try doing that with any flesh and blood writing instructor!)

A methodical and effective training tool, Write Pro is not a program to delve into in the midst of your writing process. It is a teaching and skill-developing software product. A writer should complete the Write Pro computerized course between scripts in hope of improving his or her technique and producing a better screenplay next time around. Rather than helping the writer develop a particular story, like Movie Magic Dramatica, WritePro endeavors to make all of a scribe's stories better.

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