You’re Doing That Wrong is a journal of various successes and failures by Dan Sturm.

Fountain for Sublime Text

Jonathan Poritsky has created a great Fountain package for Sublime Text. It supports almost everything outlined in the Fountain syntax guide but, most importantly, gives us syntax highlighting.

While not everyone likes the idea of using colors to highlight elements in their screenplay, I most definitely do. For me, syntax highlighting is equivalent to the red squiggly line underneath a misspelled word. At a glance, I can see if I've made any errors and, to a lesser degree, I can recognize patterns of highlighted elements to quickly understand where I am in the overall document.

Another reason I want syntax highlighting is to ease my recent transition to full-time use of Fountain for screenwriting writing projects, replacing my roll-your-own MultiMarkdown screenplay syntax.

The Part Where I Ruin Everything

Hands down, my favorite part of Jonathan's Fountain package is its ability to be customized, like all Sublime Text packages. The default package theme does a good job of emulating the look of a screenplay, using layout settings like 15pt black Courier on a white background and centering the text within the document window, etc.

While I enjoy reading screenplays in their correct format, I really dislike that layout during the writing process. I much prefer to look at white text on a black document. More specifically, I use the Sunburst theme in Sublime Text while writing in MultiMarkdown. Since Fountain is designed specifically to be platform and application agnostic, I'm free to be as picky as I want about my writing environment.

So, I tweaked the theme that came with the Fountain package. The biggest thing I wanted to add was background highlighting for Scene Headings. It helps me quickly scan the document to find the beginning of a given scene.

I made all Scene Headings, Action, Character, and Dialogue elements white(ish), and Parentheticals, Sections, Synopses a dimmer grey color to help them fade into the background a bit. The only elements that use colored text are Transitions, Notes, and the Title Page, which uses the same color scheme as MultiMarkdown metadata in the Sunburst theme.

In Fountain.sublime-settings I removed the additional line padding, changed the font to Monaco 11, turned on line numbering, and turned off "draw_centered". What I'm left with is a document that looks nothing like a screenplay, just the way I like it.

Personally, I don't want to feel like I'm writing a screenplay. Writing a screenplay is hard and stressful. Conversely, writing words into a text editor is something I can do all day long. Maybe some day I won't be so particular or need to psych myself out in order to write, but for now, this feels right to me and I'm sticking with it.

If for some reason you would like to use my theme, download this file and drop it into the Fountain folder in your Sublime Text package directory. Once you've done that, open up Fountain.sublime-settings and make yours match mine:

    "font_face": "Monaco",  
    // "font_face": "Courier Screenplay",  
    // "font_face": "Courier Final Draft",  
    "font_size": 11,  
    "color_scheme": "Packages/Fountain/Fountain Dan.tmTheme",  
    "word_wrap": true,  
    "wrap_width": 78,  
    // "line_padding_top": 5,  
    "draw_centered": false,  
    "spell_check": true,  
    "indent_subsequent_lines": false,  
    "trim_automatic_white_space": true,  
    "line_numbers": true,  
    "translate_tabs_to_spaces": true,  
    "auto_complete_commit_on_tab": true,  
    "auto_complete_with_fields": true  

Launching Marked from Sublime Text 2

I do pretty much all my MultiMarkdown writing anymore in Sublime Text 2. I’ve come to rely on Marked for previewing my files with a variety of custom CSS files, depending on the type of project I’m writing.

At the moment, the most annoying part of this workflow is the time it takes to open Marked and locate the MultiMarkdown file I’m currently working on in Sublime Text. I think I’ve been spoiled by the speed of using Sublime Text’s Goto Anything feature (Command + P) for opening files.

To speed things along, I wrote a new build system for Sublime Text that launches the active document in Marked. Now previewing my active file is as easy as invoking the build command which, for me, is still Command + B.

The (insanely simple) code [1]:

"shell": "true",  
"cmd": ["open -a marked \"$file\""]  

More non-rocket-science, but a big time saver in my world.

  1. This build system is only for OS X.  ↩

MultiMarkdown Build Systems for Sublime Text 2

When I started using Sublime Text 2 as my primary text editor, last year sometime, I created a build system to more quickly process my MultiMarkdown files. Since I couldn’t find a preexisting MultiMarkdown build system in the Sublime Text forum, it’s probably a safe bet that others might find it useful for me to post mine.

Since all of my writing is based on MultiMarkdown and varying CSS files, I use the same build system for screenplays, blog posts, presentations, etc. When I created the initial build system I was doing the majority of my writing on a Windows 7 machine. Since that time, I have retired all of my Windows computers [1] and created a new build system for OS X (10.7.3).

Here are both build systems:


"shell": "true",
"path": "/usr/local/bin",
"cmd": ["mmd \"$file\""]


"shell": "true",
"cmd": "multimarkdown -b \"$file\"",
"cmd": "\"\"${file/\\.txt/\\.html/}\"\""

The last line in the Windows build system is a launch command that will open the processed document in your default HTML application. Since I have Marked on my Mac, I decided to omit the launch command from the OS X version and pick my viewer on a per-file basis.

  1. For a number of reasons, I’m still required to use a VM of Win 7 on my Mac via Parallels.  ↩