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Updated by Frontrunner Magazine on Mar 25, 2018
Headline for The Best Online Resources for Screenwriters
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The Best Online Resources for Screenwriters

There's a great argument to made for turning off your WiFi while you're writing. That's because most things on the Internet are simply a distraction for someone trying to focus on a story, its themes, characters, and how to bring it all together in the right words. With that said, the Internet can also be a writer's best friend. You can use it to inspire new ideas, research the information you need, and learn from great writers throughout history. If you know what you're looking for and where to find it, it's possible to work on your screenplay and keep your web browser open without drifting off into an endless scroll through your Facebook feed.

Here are eight online resources every screenwriter should keep bookmarked.

1

Dictionary

Dictionary

It might not seem like the most creative tool at your disposal, but a dictionary can be extremely useful for writers at every level of their career. Use it to brush up on words even if you already know the meaning — sometimes seeing a familiar definition in a new way or in a sample sentence can improve your own usage.

2

Thesaurus

Thesaurus

The key to using a thesaurus properly is simple: When you look up a word, don't dig for the most unusual or unique word that matches in meaning. Instead, let your findings remind you of words you already know and use, since those words will fit more comfortably in the rest of your work.

3

Formatting Websites

Formatting Websites

Screenplay formatting can be tricky, but thankfully, there are dozens of websites that clearly explain what to do with examples for context. For some formatting questions, try checking multiple websites and comparing answers — the rules of screenwriting are not etched in stone, and you may benefit from learning different approaches to see what feels best for you.

4

Name Generators

Name Generators

Naming your characters can be frustrating. Once you've got your story outlined and you know each character's motivations, obstacles, and relationship to the overall arc, it can be hard to choose the perfect name to fit what you've already created. Online name generators might not immediately serve you the ideal name for your characters, but they're sure to give you a boost of inspiration and examples to consider.

5

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Anyone who has used Wikipedia will be quick to remind you that it's not a recommended research source since the content can be easily edited by anyone. Don't lean on Wikipedia for all of your story's facts and figures. Use it to quickly hop from one article to the next, exploring connections between historical figures, parts of the world, specific events, and more. There's a wealth of inspiration to be found, and you can always fact-check your work later.

6

Reddit

Reddit

Reddit is essentially a collection of online communities that post original content and aggregate links from across the Internet. You can find literally anything on Reddit, but for screenwriters, there are some especially useful forums dedicated to both the craft and business of writing. Start with r/Screenwriting and follow whatever link piques your interest — careful not to spend too much time in Reddit's labyrinth of clicks, as your first job is still to write your screenplay.

7

YouTube

YouTube

It's the second largest search engine on the web, and like Reddit, you'll never run out of new things to discover. Search YouTube for screenwriting channels and you'll find an endless stream of thoughtful script analyses, scene breakdowns, and interviews with successful filmmakers. You can also use YouTube to rewatch moments from films, which can be especially useful when you're reading a screenplay and want to see how a scene came together on screen.

8

News

News

Get yourself a subscription to your online newspaper of choice, and start reading every day. It's a good thing to do to be an informed citizen, but as a screenwriter, the news can be one of your best sources of inspiration. Not only will you pick up story ideas from reading about current events, but you'll learn about the larger context for any story you choose to pursue — you might even be able to incorporate true events into your screenplay and link your plot to real life.