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Introduction

Fountain Mode combines the simplicity of Fountain syntax with the extensibility of Emacs. Fountain Mode is a major mode for Emacs, which is to say it is a program that runs inside Emacs — the extensible, customizable, free/libre text editor. It enables the writer to engage with all aspects of realizing a screenplay — story development, outlining, drafting, rewriting — and to work in such a way that the hands never need to leave the keyboard.

After learning a handful of syntax rules and a few keyboard shortcuts, nothing stands between the writer and the screenplay. The friction between thought and its expression on the page lessens, allowing the writer to more readily access a state of relaxed concentration that is conducive to creativity — all the writer needs to do is write.

To quickly get up to speed with Fountain syntax, memorize the rules for the six most used elements of the screenplay format: Scene Headings, Action, Characters, Dialogue, Parentheticals, and Transitions.

Then learn how to use Section Headings to outline a story. This will be familiar for anyone who has used Markdown, as the syntax is the same. Sections allow you to easily show or hide and reorder large parts of a script.

There are additional Fountain syntax elements to allow for brainstorming, capturing ideas and omitting a part of the script without deleting it. These include Synopses, Notes, and Comments. These elements are not usually included in the formatted output.