Prewrite; Finally, Screenwriting Software That Puts Story First.

CJ Walley
12 min readAug 4, 2020

As someone who’s becoming somewhat seen as an opinion leader within the break-in screenwriting world, I get approached by people all the time asking me to judge their competition entries, read their books, and try out their software. I almost always say no because their business operation is often predatory and against the interests of my peers or highly misleading and spreading information I consider dangerous to career development. I’m a working writer-producer so I know what actually makes a difference and perhaps that’s why Prewrite caused me to stop in my tracks and give it a second glance.

I can’t tell you how often I get asked to review books on “how to sell a screenplay” by people who’ve never sold a screenplay. It has turned me into a cynical husk of a human-being who often responds to those emails with a bark of “thanks but no thanks” before adding another name to my avoid list. Sometimes however, there’s something that catches my eye, looks promising, and results in me throwing a bone back. When I was asked to check out Prewrite, a browser based screenwriting tool designed to help screenwriters develop their story, my ears pricked up. However, I have my own well developed pre-writing system called Turn & Burn, something that’s proven critical in helping me break in, so I told the developers as such and their response was unexpected — they implemented my structure it into their software, humbling me in the process and giving me every reason to check Prewrite out, something I’m glad I did.

Now, the concept of pre-writing comes up now and then in screenwriting communities and the responses can easily mislead aspiring screenwriters hoping to improve their craft. The comments often fall into two clear camps; those who pre-write (synopsis, outlines, treatments, scriptments, etc) and those who say they prefer to “keep things natural” by diving into page one with no real plan.

I’m telling you now that the latter is nonsense. EVERYONE pre-writes in some capacity, it’s just that some don’t do it formally by writing a lot of it down before they start drafting. Those who do not spend conscious time pre-writing tend to be one of two kinds of writer;

  1. Highly experienced professionals who’ve developed so many scripts, story development has become second nature.
  2. Naive amateurs who are either too deluded or lazy to realise developing their story structure first will save them work in the…
CJ Walley

Screenwriter | Film Producer | Founder of Script Revolution & Rebelle Rouser | Author of Turn & Burn