Posted by : E.v.R. | On : May 23, 2007

Text Block WriterOne of the problems I found with mind mappers and why I went back to 3×5 index cards for the time being is the ability to easily move and shuffle things in a tactile way that allowed me to re-order scenes of my story without having to fight with an interface.

Then the other day it occurred to me; Maybe there is note card software out there designed to behave exactly like 3×5 note cards?

There is, and it’s called Text Block Writer. Text Block Writer allows you to create, manage, and visually arrange virtual index cards. The best part? It’s free. If you like the free version, you can support the creator by purchasing Text Block Author — Text Block Writer’s big brother.

And so I go from the virtual to the real-world physical back to the virtual again.

P.S. As usual I’ve mocked up one of my crazy structure templates in Text Block Writer.



Posted by : E.v.R. | On : April 30, 2007

You can try it on your own by starting at the bottom of a blank page and writing the end of your story/act/scene and working backwards. To read the rest of this post skip to the bottom of the post and work your way upwards:

  • …because you’ve probably encountered plotting blocks and could benefit from reverse cause-effect plotting yourself!
  • …because we get naturally blocked when we have to think of something on the spot.
  • …because it might be the nature of the brain to be more inventive when thinking of reasons for why something came to pass than it is to spontaneously generate a sequence of events in order.
  • …because I’ve tried working forwards and for some reason I always draw a blank that way.
  • …because thinking of causes, working backwards from an effect forces your brain to connect the dots.
  • I’ve been using the reverse cause-effect plotting method suggested in Writing A Great Movie, and it works quite well.



Posted by : E.v.R. | On : April 27, 2007

Those of you struggling with your work in progress, I do not hesitate to recommend Jeff Kitchen’s book Writing a Great Movie. I believe if I had read this book long ago, I would not have had as many problems trying to wrangle my stories.

One of the strongest techniques in the book is using the reverse cause-effect to breakdown your acts, sequences, and scenes into clearly established plot points. The process is not unlike the TV story development advice to write your act-outs first, although Jeff Kitchen’s method is a bit more comprehensive. The book has many different techniques with examples, and at times functions much like a workbook to help you develop stories quickly and save time by avoiding unnecessary rewrites.

I can say with confidence it is safe to drop other screenwriting books and pick this one up. You won’t regret it.