Curious to try out another writing program, I agreed.
I got a free version of the software in exchange for this review, but that hasn’t affected my opinion. I am as honest and impartial as ever.
What is Script Studio?
Script Studio—formerly known as Movie Outline—started out as a screenwriting program, but it’s now added in functionality for novels, too. This review focuses mostly on the novel writing side of it.
This review doesn’t contain a breakdown of all of its features. It looks at my favourite ones, and the ones I think you’ll find most useful when writing.
So, without further ado, let’s delve into this Script Studio review…
Nightmode was one of the first features that I tried out.
And it was seriously sexy.
It’s easy on the eyes, which is great for late-night writing sessions.
I’ve used it a few times recently to write video scripts late at night.
If you don’t like nightmode quite as much as I do, you can create your own custom theme to suit your needs.
The Character Spotlight is where you can store everything and anything about your characters. This includes imagery, biographical information, what their character arc is, and more.
Within the Character Spotlight you’ll also find the Character Interviews. This is my favourite feature of Script Studio. It asks some really interesting, thought-provoking questions that help you to dive deep into your characters’ psyches.
Some of the questions include:
- Did [insert character name here] have any role models or major influences growing up?
- What is [insert character name here]’s greatest regret?
- Is [insert character name here] an angry or passive person?
- Does [insert character name here] have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?
- Is [insert character name here] an optimist or a pessimist?
- Who or what would [insert character name here] die for or otherwise go to extremes for?
That’s just a snippet of the questions asked. In total there’s over 70 questions to help you get to know your characters.
You probably won’t need to use the information you figure out from these questions in your novel. But they help you to work out what kind of person your character is, and once you know that, you can easily write about them in any situation.
A character’s name can be used to reflect many aspects of their personality.
The sound of a name can change how we feel about a character or person—there’s a reason most words for mother begin with a soft ‘M’ sound, no matter what language you speak—while the meaning of a character’s name can add extra depth to youe character/story.
The name wizard can generate first or last names, or both. It also allows you to pick the first letter you would like, and the name’s origin. It even has names from Shakespeare or Arthurian Legends.
Once you’ve generated your list, you can compile a list of favourites and even add them straight to your character list.
Autosaving is crucial.
You never know when your laptop will keel over without warning (mine did that just the other day).
However, when you’re deep in the flow, the last thing you want to think about is autosaving.
Script Studio prompts you to autosave your project, and asks how often you’d like it to do so. It’s easier to set it up and leave it to do its thing in the background, but it’s a good reminder of how important saving (and backing up) your work is.
Every story needs to take your character on an emotional journey. FeelFactor allows you to track that emotional arc through the course of your story.
FeelFactor is a bar chart where you can adjust how much you want your audience to feel certain emotions in each scene and over the course of your story.
You can also track the overall action of your story to ensure that there’s always something happening but your audience has a little time to recover in between all the drama.
Story Tasks are like a to-do list for your work in progress. You write down roughly what you want to do, then can go into as much or as little detail as you like.
The Scratchpad is where you can add all your notes. It has folders for General, Characters, Story Ideas, Plot Lines, and more.
I’m a big fan of keeping all your notes as organised as possible—a folder full of Microsoft Office documents just isn’t good enough for me.
This section makes your notes easy to find, meaning that even if you drunkenly type them before passing out at 3am, you’ll still know where they are in the morning…provided you save them in the right folder, of course.
The reference library is a great learning resource. While you can’t read full scripts (for obvious copyright reasons), it does break down every scene and analyse them from many popular films including When Harry Met Sally, Die Hard, Ghost, Good Will Hunting, and Spider-Man (2003 version). There’s something from every genre.
It’s worth taking your time to read all of them, even the ones outside your genre—you never know what you might learn.
These are obviously all films, but that’s ok. You can still learn from the imagery and the way the stories are constructed, and these will help you to create more vivid imagery and characters in your writing, too.
It’s hard to find easy-to-understand definitions of terms when you’re just starting out, and the screenwriting glossary offers just that.
It also breaks down commonly used plot devices such as the elements of the hero’s journey, and legal jargon that I’d never even heard of before (although I’m not a screenwriter so that’s part of why).
Word Count and Stats
Tracking your writing stats over the long-term really is fascinating. It helps you to see how short writing sessions can quickly add up to form full manuscripts.
As well as tracking obvious things like how many words you write and how long your manuscript is, it also tells you when your writing sessions start and end. This can help you to work out when your most productive times are, and find ways to ensure you write more during these hours.
Overall, it’s one of the more in-depth writing programs I’ve used. Script Studio guides you through the writing process without holding your hand. It makes you think about the importance of plot and characters in your story, and gives you tools that mean you can always keep learning.
It’s definitely on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but if you factor in the learning tools alone, you’d pay much more than £200 to learn all of this in a classroom (I did, and I didn’t learn nearly half the jargon that’s in the glossary).
It’s still clear that this is a scriptwriting tool first, but there’s no reason you can’t use it for your novel, too. Many of the basics of scriptwriting such as plot, structure, and forging an email connection with your audience are just as important in a novel, if not more so because there’s no pretty imagery to fall back on.
If you want to give Script Studio a try, you can download a free trial from their website.
Thanks to Script Studio for providing the imagery, too!
Over to You
What’s your favourite writing program and why? Have you tried out Script Studio? What did you think to it?
Find out more
Stay tuned for an interview with Script Studio creator, Dan Bronzite, in April!