On Writing

Paws & Prose: An Early Christmas with Final Draft

Final Draft Screenwriting Software logo

Some of you know that I am an aspiring screenwriter. I aim to become a television series writer, preferably in drama or fantasy. This Christmas, I have received the best gift any screenwriter could wish for. A copy of Final Draft. Final Draft is the software used in most industries.

This gift, given to me by my dad as an early Christmas Present, couldn’t have come with better timing.

Third Year at University

It is my third year at university. As my degree is in creative writing, I have the luxury of choosing what my dissertation will be, and I have chosen to write a 90-page script. Final Draft is going to be perfect for it.

Already, I have one scene written and am just naming some characters.

My first script? Set in a Birmingham Chandlery during the industrial revolution. I have an idea of the plot already. The poor candlemaker loses everything and his son tries his hardest to save them. I’m really excited.

Using Final Draft

I haven’t played with it much yet, I’ve been getting my Prose coursework out of the way first, but I can tell you what I know about it so far.

It’s the first software I’ve used that displays a beat-board and story map. I’ve been reading about beats in a lot of screenwriting books and as far as I can make out, it is how a story is structured. Essentially it allows me to view the structure of my story and check that everything in my script runs smoothly.

I haven’t tried the story map out yet, but I think it does something similar that enables me to view my script as a whole or to plan or something.

I’m also a huge fan of index cards—I have hundreds of them scattered across my bedroom floor at uni and a stack at home. Final Draft has index cards that I can colour code, so I’ll be able to transfer some of my paper ones to the digital as I write my script. It’s great.

It also allows me to highlight characters names to see how long they’ve disappeared for, look at their arc and whatnot… I’m a huge believer in developing characters, I think they are just as important as the plot themselves. It has a revision mode too that I’m dying to try out.

I can’t wait to play with Final Draft more. I’m going to aim to write 5 pages minimum every weekday until I start uni again- so by the 29th Jan I should have 150 pages of screenplays. Wish me luck! And do let me know what you think about this gift!

Thank you so much, dad!

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