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DramaQueen 2.5: Plotting & Structuring

2.5 is live!

With the new features, we’re building on DramaQueen’s strengths so you can plan, develop and tell your stories even better.

We have also improved the DramaQueen interface, optimized the terms of several panels and made lots of small enhancements.

What are the new features?

  • Structuring without limits
  • Use established structure templates
  • Create your own structure templates yourself
  • New way of visualizing storylines in the navigator
  • Colored highlighting of the lines in the navigator
  • Two new turning-points: Pinch-point 1 & 2


Create custom structure templates for PRO

If you want to structure your story precisely with specific structure templates such as the Heroes Journey, “Save the Cat” or John Truby, you can now create these templates in DramaQueen PRO, modify them according to your own needs and save them:

There is a new option for freely configuring the structure:

  • free description of the structure unit
  • any number of structure elements that can be flexibly added or deleted
  • individual name for each structure element
  • optional numbering
  • import structure templates from other dq documents

This means that the structure can be adapted individually for every story!


New visualization of storylines in the navigator for PLUS & PRO

In the navigator, the storylines are now displayed as color bars (instead of colored circles):

Thus the storylines are generally more noticeable. In particular, it is easier to recognize when a storyline is interrupted.


Colored highlighting of the lines in the navigator for PLUS & PRO

The lines of the navigator can be emphasized by color via the sub-menu Colorize which is located in the Edit menu as well as in the context menu of every element. Both the text and the background can be colorized:

This allows the navigator to be structured by color. While the color bars serve to display the storylines, you can use the colored lines completely freely, for example to highlight different narrative perspectives, locations, motifs, revised scenes or structure elements.


New terms
  • The Outline panel became the Overview panel.
  • The panel Dramatic Chart has been renamed to Story Arcs.
  • The first text level is now called Plot (instead of Synopsis). And the second text level is called Outline (instead of Treatment). That makes their purpose as working texts more clear.

The Plot can now – depending on the usage – be divided into steps, parts, sequences, beats or stations:

As a writer, you can decide whether you understand the terms ‘step‘, ‘beat‘ or ‘sequence‘ as action elements or as structure elements. For example you can use ‘step’ either as ‘action step’ or as ‘story step’.


Two new turning-points for PLUS & PRO
  • The first pinch-point divides the first half of act 2 and is situated at about 3/8ths of the story.
  • The second pinch-point divides the second half of act 2 and is situated at about 5/8ths of the story.


Overview summaries including turning-points and structure for PLUS & PRO

Generating the Overview summaries (via the menu ‘Extras’) will now also include any structure elements and turning-points.


New options in the Overview panel

  • The new setting ‘Row spacing’ allows to set the compactness of the rows to ‘Tight’, ‘Normal’, ‘Wide’ or ‘Extra wide’ (FREE, PLUS & PRO).
  • Almost every configuration-option is also directly available in the drop-down of the respective toolbar-icon of the Overview panel. Furthermore there is a separate configuration for which types of elements (Steps/Parts respectively Scenes/Chapters) each property is displayed or deleted (PLUS & PRO):



All improvements can be found as always in our update report.


Enjoy trying out 2.5, we look forward to receiving your feedback!

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Instant payment or Hire-Purchase?

You are wondering which purchase option for a DramaQueen PLUS or PRO license you should go with: Hire or instant-purchase? Answer yourself the following questions and learn which option is the better one for you.

You always want to work with the most current DramaQueen version? – Actually, hire and instant-purchase are not different regarding the upgrade and update possibilities. Either way all coming updates and feature upgrades of the current update cycle are included at no additional cost – at this time up to and including version 3.9.

You want to wait and see how DramaQueen is evolving? – With the hire-purchase you stay the most flexible. You pay the monthly rates only for as long as you want and don’t need to bind yourself. You can cancel your rates at any time, without notice period, and thereby terminate your contract. Or you decide to pay until the last monthly rate and your license automatically converts to never expire. The automatic payment stops all by itself, you do not need to cancel manually.

You need DramaQueen PRO or PLUS only for a short-term project? – In this situation the hire-purchase may be the better solution. Simply regard your monthly payments as a rent that you can cancel after your project is completed.

You are certain that DramaQueen PRO or PLUS is the right tool for you and you want the most cost effective option? – The hire-purchase is associated with higher costs for us, which reflect in a somewhat higher total cost. The one-time instant-purchase is about 8% cheaper than the hire-purchase. With your firm decision for DramaQueen you save $25.20 for PRO or $8.10 for PLUS.

It is our desire to meet a broad spectrum of needs with the two alternative purchase options and to offer you a good deal. No matter your decision, we will be glad about every new hire or instant-purchase, but also about every new user of DramaQueen FREE.

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DramaQueen 2.4.5: Import templates

The current update DramaQueen 2.4.5 introduces a number of improvements for working with serial formats. Often it is the case that one wants to use elements such as characters and locations in more than one episode. This is made possible by the new import of elements from other documents into the current one. From the main menu File → Import → From another document one can directly select ideas, storylines, characters and locations:

Either individually or in the case of characters and locations also by certain criteria such as the appearance in certain storylines or text levels. When elements with the same names already exist in the current document, there won’t be additional copies, but instead the elements will be synchronized with each other.

The import from another document is also available for the layout settings. In the Template selection there is a new entry User (import from file):

When the selected file is a DramaQueen movie or novel document, the effective layout settings of the same text level will be transferred, the general layout settings otherwise. The other document may also be in one of the supported import file formats, when the filetype filter has been extended accordingly in the open file panel. At the moment DramaQueen imports layout settings from Final Draft files. In the future support is planned to be extended for other import formats.

The new features may of course be used specifically to create an extra document as template for other documents. When developing a series one could for example store a master document that already includes all characters and locations of the season, the layout template as well as the structure template.

Drag&Drop of elements between open documents, i.e. of a character from the character list of one document into the character list of another, is of course still available and may be more practical depending on the situation, especially when transferring single elements.

The improvements and new features don’t stop there, however. Often we received the request to make All caps available via keyboard shortcut or its own icon in the formatting toolbar. This is now implemented. We also reworked the import and export filters in this regard, so they support the new text style attribute in the expected manner.

Script authors will be happy to learn that the keyboard shortcuts for the text elements (action, parenthetical, dialogue …) now match the industry standard behavior. Strictly speaking, they don’t perform the same function as the icons in the formatting toolbar, which set the style of the current paragraph. Instead the shortcuts insert a new paragraph inbetween the existing one and set this new one to the respective style. Of course this also works when the caret is positioned at the end of a paragraph, which may sometimes be more direct than using the TAB key or the formatting popup after pressing ENTER. Speaking of which – the popup can now be disabled in the gear-menu of the Texts panel. Even when autoformatting is not to be used. This option is remembered for the script separately from the other text levels.

Another improvement for script authors is the new separation of the text elements “Action” and “General”:

This makes DramaQueen more compatible to the industry standard when importing and exporting, and it gives more flexibility regarding the spacing between paragraphs. The default setting is to have one line of spacing before “Action” paragraphs, while there is no spacing before “General” paragraphs. The pre-text is now also formatted to “General” by default. The layout settings allow to configure each of the two text elements separately.

As usual, the new update is rounded off by bux fixes and performance improvements. We wish you great fun when working with the new version!

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DramaQueen 2.4: Story development

We conclude the year with DramaQueen 2.4 in which we’ve put the focus on further development of the DramaQueen exclusive features storytelling, turning-points, dramatic charts and character arcs.

As always the update will be offered automatically when you open DramaQueen. To allow all DramaQueen users to try out the new features, we activated an extra 5 day trial period!


 
Extension of the storytelling guidance

  • There are new text fields in the Storytelling panel for Logline, Premise, Genre and Narrative Tone. These allow to capture the fundamental idea for a story.
  • In addition to that text fields allow to capture all important dramatic vehicles of the story: Initial crisis, heroes fall, leitmotif, key-line, refusal, motivation, conflict, point of no return, antagonist, knowledge, mandatory scene, self-knowledge, transformation, kiss-off.

 

Characters: More (role) diversity

There are additional gender options ‘X’, ‘neuter’ and ‘undefined’.

  • X: Transgender, fantasy creature
  • Neuter: Androids or other artificially created creatures
  • Undefined: This option offers the choice to deliberately leave the gender undefined when creating a new character. This may facilitate an awareness for more role diversity and can lead to a more balanced distribution of male and female roles:

The Character panel contains the new options ‘Roles’ and ‘True self’:

  • Roles‘ = the social roles of the character, i.e. mother, wife, business woman, lover
  • True self‘ = the authentic self of the character, without pretending, self-deception, or false goals. Completely pure and unmasked.

 

Turning-points: More flexibility as author and dramatist


There is now a new optional major turning-pointLast Twist. It is located just before the end of the storyline:

The number of major turning-points can now vary between two and six turning-points for each storyline:

Up to now there were only the options ‚positive or negative turn‘ for each turning-point. Now there are the additional options ‚no change‘ as well as ‚non-existent‘:

  • The option ‚no change‘ expresses the need to revise or unexplored potential at a turning-point. This allows to capture incomplete stories.
  • The option ‚non-existent‘ will hide turning-points that are not intended for a storyline. They will disappear from the Outline and Storytelling panel as well as from the Dramatic Chart. Only the two indispensable turning-points Plot point 1 and 2 cannot be disabled.

With the additional last twist and the new turning-point options, the storytelling guidance and the dramatic chart can capture the plot of a story in much finer detail and with more precision:

In the update report for DramaQueen 2.4 you can find more detailed information.
 
We wish you great fun with the new DramaQueen features, an inspiring holiday season, and a highly creative, happy New Year!
 

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DramaQueen 2.3 with revision mode

DramaQueen 2.3 is – finally (!) – live and available to anyone! :)

Even though the revision mode may not become the “sexiest feature ever” in DramaQueen – we have too many cool exclusive features for that ;) – it is still a very often used and therefore indispensable tool for authors. That’s why we strived to integrate the most practical, flexible and user-friendly change tracking into DramaQueen that any author could wish for.

We started by taking another deep look into the state of things in other important writing software, because compatibility* is an important factor. Another reason is that the existing implementations establish a range of expectations from our users. Specialized script writing software however often takes a different approach: The revision mode is integrated into the (movie) production, with colored pages when printing and revisions which divide text changes on a timeline. DramaQueen needed to meet these requirements as well. Maybe that’s why as a result of considering so many use-cases, the implementation in DramaQueen turned out especially flexible:

Who needs the revision mode and why?

  • You write multiple versions and want to track your respective changes in each draft.
  • You collaborate with other authors and want to synchronize their changes and comments with your own.
  • You work with lectors, editors, directors or producers and want to accept or reject their changes.

The revision mode is activated in DramaQueen PLUS and PRO via the menu Edit -> Track text changes (or via gear menu of the Text panel):

Track text changes

When hovering the mouse cursor over a change, the change window will pop up. It’s possible to navigate here, to see the change contents in full, as well as to accept or reject the change (also via short cuts):

Hovering change window

While change tracking is active in DramaQueen, all related features are accessible from the changes bar which is shown along the bottom of the text. The most frequently used features are right on the bar, as well as information about the change at the text caret and navigating between the changes:

Changes bar

The gear menu provides access to all additional options:

Zahnradmenü Überarbeitungsmodus

The behavior regarding text changes is easy to configure according to personal preferences. The option Configure change display can be reached from the mentioned gear-menu in the changes bar. Among other things, it allows to set colors for highlighting changes, for the different authors and revisions. Additionally it allows to filter the changes, for example to see only those changes from a certain author or only of the active revision:

Configure change display 1

Authors can use text changes not only for highlighting each other’s changes in order to synchronize them. An author working alone may also use the feature ‘revision’ to separate his own changes into distinctive versions of the text. While other text editing software would merely attribute all the changes to him, DramaQueen gives them an additional attribute, which is the ‘revision’ that each change belongs to:

Configure change display 2

Two additional very practical features are ‘Mark as changed’ and ‘Mark as unchanged’. Simply select a range of text and label it as a change or remove that label. Consider a paragraph that has been heavily modified, it will contain lots of small deletions and insertions that obscure the bigger picture. In DramaQueen just select the paragraph and ‘mark as changed’ it as a whole.

Oh, by the way: The changes and inserts are visible in the exported text! Also the import of Word DOCX files keeps tracked text changes.

You can find more detailed information in the update report for DramaQueen 2.3 as always.

Have fun with DramaQueen 2.3!


* When importing from & exporting to Final Draft DramaQueen supports the recorded changes and transfers the created revisions. (However, Final Draft does not store deleted text, only the text locations where deletions happened. Also it does not store authors or timestamps.) When importing an RTF document recorded changes will be maintained as well.

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