Professional writers working on the Linux platform don’t always enjoy the same choices as other writers, though with the addition of open source screenwriting app Trelby, it’s clear we’re doing OK on the screenwriting front.

If you’re new here, I recently outlined two good screenwriting applications (Celtx and Fade In Professional), both of which are available on Mac & Windoze too.

You can now add Trelby to that list — an open source, Windows & Linux screenwriting application that looks nice, clean and promising.

The Trelby screenplay software website

Linux (and Windows) screenwriters have another screenwriting application to choose from

I’ve only toyed with it (and I only occasionally write scripts for clients), but here are a few first impressions:

  • It offers a clean, simple interface and multiple views of your script
  • It’s fast
  • It generates .pdf files
  • It generates script reports (which I don’t use)
  • It imports/exports Final Draft (.fdx) files

The last bullet is important; though nobody seems to love it, Final Draft is an industry standard. Even if you’re writing your own spec script in isolation, the ability to read/write Final Draft files will eventually prove important.

How Does It Compare?

Trelby doesn’t support the side-by-side AV/documentary/corporate video format, so if (like me) you write that format (or radio, theater, comic strip formats), then stick with Celtx.

Basically, Trelby looks and feels like an open source competitor to commercial Fade In Professional software, though without the Dropbox sync and a few other nice features (see short reviews of Celtx and Fade In Professional here).

Also, there is no Trelby mobile app (Celtx’s screenwriting app is currently available for iPhones and the iPad; Fade In’s mobile app is available for iPhones/iPads and Android phones/tablets).

It’s a nice simple, clean (and free) piece of screenwriting software that should appeal to students and those writing spec scripts.

It’s cleaner and simpler than Celtx (which is the Swiss Army Knife of screenwriting software and does much more), though if I wanted to write features/TV scripts — and didn’t want to drop a couple hundred bucks on Final Draft — I’d also look hard at Fade In Professional (currently only $50).

Keep writing, Tom Chandler.