Sometimes, best intentions aren't enough to get you to write your screenplay. Or perhaps you need to work under a tight deadline to churn out pages. But how well would you write if you knew your computer or iPad would start deleting your words if you stopped writing for too long? That's the beauty/horror of Write or Die, an app available for your iPad and desktop that goads you into writing with negative consequences. Or as its tagline proclaims: "Putting the 'Prod' in Productivity".
Write or Die allows the user to set up parameters for a writing session, including a word goal, a time goal, and a grace period. Users can export their writing to Dropbox, email, Clipboard or text file. The app also provides multiple settings for the level of punishment for taking fingers off the keyboard. "Gentle" mode gives the user a pop-up reminder to get back to work. "Normal" mode emits an unpleasant sound until the user starts writing again. "Kamikaze" mode will start to delete precious words if the writer strays beyond the grace period. Finally, there's "Nyan Cat" mode, and you do not want to know what happens when you cross the line in "Nyan Cat" mode.
Practically speaking, the desktop version may be more useful for screenwriters than the iPad app, but if you're mobile and need to write under a deadline, now there's an app for that. Also, writing in screenplay format can be difficult without the right tools, so to make Write or Die useful to write screenplays, you could write in Fountain syntax, then import your Fountain-formatted text file into your preferred screenwriting application, including Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter.
The Write or Die iPad app is $9.99 in the App Store. A desktop version for Mac, PC and Linux is also available to download from Write or Die for $10. If you're really old school, the original web app can still be launched with its modest settings.
Do you need negative reinforcement to get the words on the page? Have you used Write or Die and suffered its consequences? Let us know.