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Scribosphere Carnival #2 – Workflow

The Scribosphere Carnival is a weekly discussion from a variety of screenwriting blogs around a rotating theme.

And I’m catching up on all those I missed.

Instigated by Jonathan Hardesty, today’s topic is:

WORKFLOW — Everybody has one, and none are the same. Inspired by a post from John August (referencing this site), you should explain where and when you write, what hardware you use, what software you use, and what you would change about how you write. Have at it!

Where and when do you write?

Unlike some writers, I actually prefer to write in the comfort of my own home instead of going out to a coffee shop (and spend $5 on a latte).
With that said, I like to create an appropriate “space” for the magic to happen. Even if my desktop is in the bedroom, I will try to physically separate the “writing workspace” from where I sleep by moving stuff over to the living room.
This doesn’t happen all the time, but when I do, the complete set-up looks something like this:

workflow
As you can guess by what’s happening on the TV, this is during my “research phase” for my Good Wife spec last year. Yes, I like to reverse-engineer the show.

When I’m actually writing, the TV will usually be off, while I display my outline on the external screen (i.e. the one in the middle). My preferred screenwriting software will be pulled on the laptop itself.
And then I type away. On reddit.

My writing schedule is, at best, inconsistent. I rarely have “real” deadlines, so it’s often hard to shoot for consistency.
With that said, I enjoy (in a manner of speaking) going into what I call “lockdown modes”.
As the name implies, it’s a pre-determined amount of time (usually an entire week-end) where I force myself to sit in front of the computer and write/achieve something with very little breaks, and, crucially, no going out. No escape!
This extended, dedicated period of time allows me to completely focus on the one story/task, and think deeper about the problems than, say, a 2-hour writing block every other day. I also try to divide the task evenly across the days (e.g. 2 acts per day for a 3-day lockdown).
Lockdowns are especially great for outlines, first drafts or imminent deadlines.
Binge-writing FTW.

What hardware do you use?

I enjoy the good ol’ pen and paper when I’m brainstorming dialogue/scenes, however when it comes to the nitty-gritty, 90% of the work is done on my computer(s).

As for the tech nerds out there:

Desktop
I love to build my own computers. This is my latest beast (minus a graphics card).
Processor: Intel Core i7 2600K clocked at 3.40 GHz
Mobo: MSI Z68A-GD80 (MS-7672) 3.0
RAM: 16 GB DDR3 Corsair (800 MHz / PC3-12800J)

Laptop
Purchased almost four years ago, so bear with me on the specs (although who needs a gaming laptop for writing?!).
Sadly it has a battery problem that makes it less portable: the battery isn’t recognized, which means it only works when plugged in.

HP Pavilion dm4-1065dx
Processor: Intel Core i5 430M / 2.26 GHz
RAM: 4.0 GB
Graphics Adapter: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) HD Graphics
Display: 14-inch LED / 1366×768
Weight: 2kg

External displays
Main display: ASUS VE278Q / 27.2-inch / 1920×1080
Secondary display: BenQ FP241WZ / 24-inch / 1920×1200
I also have an amazing TV (primarily used for shows/movies), which is a Samsung UN60D8000.

What software do you use?

When it comes to breaking my stories, I start off using Scrivener. Pretty much the best outline-building option out there (save for actual index cards and corkboards). It’s a great tool when it comes to visually seeing your outline/acts/breaks/stories. Gotta love the color-coded labels.

For the actual scriptwriting process, I exclusively use Final Draft (currently version 8). I may or may not try Fade In for my next script. It looks fairly interesting. Plus, I love black.

What would you change about how you write?

It’s less about how, and more about when.
In a word: consistency.
Trying to find a “sweet spot” is very hard, and I know I should really discipline myself to sit down and dedicate X hour(s) to writing, every single day. And yet, I don’t.
Like getting in shape physically, it’s one thing to say you wanna do it, and another thing to actually do it.
Time will tell if I succeed in that regard.

There’s also the thing about “less procrastination, more content”, though I believe this is less of an issue. You need these short bursts of mental distraction in between your mental back-and-forths when breaking a story.
When it comes to the actual writing portion of things, I’m happy the way I do things (when I do them). Sometimes I talk to myself, or rather talk the scenes out. I’m crazy that way, but it’s not something I’m keen on changing. It’s part of the process.
And then when you’re in the zone, well, you don’t even think about getting distracted.

Write on.

Scribosphere blogs also on the topic:

Shouting in the Wind | Red Right Hand | Jonathan Hardesty | Bamboo Killers

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