library-488690_640.jpgBKS_FI could give you a big attaboy/yougogirl pep talk about how these authors will inspire the beejesus out of you and spark your creativity and skill set to the point where the Academy just shows up at your door and hands you the damn award.  But you know how this works.  You’ve probably read most of these screenwriting books anyway.  Read ’em again.  And don’t be surprised if you find a new tip you can use on your next project.


Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting by William Goldman

• Every time this book is read, a writer gets their wings.

The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

• I am constantly watching films looking for the “Save the cat” moment.  His basic outlines and beat sheet templates are a great “cat”ch, too.  And check out the other “Save the Cat” books in the series.

How to Write a Screenplay in 21 Days by Viki King

• The most fundamental way to get ‘er done.

How to Write a Selling Screenplay by Christopher Keane

The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time by Pilar Alessandra

• She’s got a great concept that really works when you’re using lack of time as an excuse to not write.

The Writer’s Guide to Writing Your Screenplay: How to Write Great Screenplays for Movies and Television by Cynthia Whitcomb

The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script by Dave Trottier

• Great reference pages.


Getting It Write:  An Insider’s Guide to a Screenwriting Career by Lee Zahavi Jessup

• The woman’s got the goods.  Look her up.

Making a Good Script Great, 3rd Ed. by Linda Seger

• If screenwriters had a fairy godmother…

Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational ARC by Dara Marks

Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach by Paul Gulino.

Breakfast with Sharks: A Screenwriters Guide to Getting the Meeting, Nailing the Pitch, Signing the Deal and Navigating the Murky Waters of Hollywood by Michael Lent

The Writer Got Screwed (but didn’t have to) by Brooke A. Wharton

• The legal stuff


Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

• You still have to read it at least once more.

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition by Christopher E. Vogler

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field

• Amen.

Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters, Storytelling Secrets from the Greatest Mind in Western Civilization by Michael Tierno

Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hauge

• There is a twentieth anniversary of this book for a reason

Bird by Bird, Some instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

• If you’re looking for inspiration it doesn’t get better than the master.

One Thought on “Screenwriting Books You Must Have On Your Shelf (don’t argue)

  1. juan howard on April 6, 2018 at 3:34 pm said:

    been inspired by the beatles again. you know that mighty apple band. “old brown shoe” and “baby,you’re a rich man.” just some great music. I’ve been dragging and depressed more than i’ll ever own up to. these two songs came through like Maurice sendak’s book, “where the wild things are.” they put a smile on my face. feeling better as I type like i’m a wannabe p.i. ala bogie. so off i’ll go to write a letter or compose in my sketchbook/journal. strap on a guitar and out comes one of those cheesy songs I write ten minutes in and my guitar looks at me and tells me to bring my a game. cheers!

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