Best Screenwriting Books

Writing a screenplay may seem easy at first, but writing one that sells is the tricky part. Numerous books are available to help you understand how screenwriting works and how to get your screenplay noticed. Below are the top ten screenwriting books. Most can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ordered through a local bookstore.

  • “The Art of Dramatic Writing” by Lajos Egri – This book explains each element of creating the perfect dramatic story. Though originally written for play writing, all tips apply to screenwriting as well. If you need help with creating a foundation for your screenplay, this is the book for you.
  • “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting” by Syd Field – This books offers a step by step guide to starting and finishing a screenplay. Considered the screenwriting bible by many, this book is a must read for both beginners and pros alike.
  • “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting” by Robert McKee – This screenwriting book focuses on weaving together the story and your characters. Details on writing eventful scenes help make your screenplays stronger. Many award winning screenwriters have used this book to help guide them on their screenwriting journey.
  • “The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script” by David Trottier – This book focuses many technical details such as updated formatting guidelines. All the basics are covered, making this a quick references for professional screenwriters and a must have for beginners.
  • “Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read” by Michael Hauge – This book explains how to sell your screenplay to others. Most people don’t have time to read your screenplay. This books teaches you how to sell your screenplay in a few quick sentences.
  • “The TV Writer’s Workbook: A Creative Approach to Television Scripts” by Ellen Sandler – This book focuses on writing sitcoms. From creating to pitching your sitcom, this book covers it all. If you are interested in comedic screenwriting, even if you don’t want to write sitcoms, this book covers comedy in depth.
  • “Psychology for Screenwriters: Building Conflict in Your Script” by William Indick – This book focuses on building in depth characters. You will be able to create characters will extensive pasts, emotional issues and common problems we all experience on a day to day basis. This book is a must for creating compelling characters the audience will relate to.
  • “The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God!” by Joe Eszterhas – This book provides advice and stories from successful screenwriter Joe Eszterhas. Tips are presented in a quick read format. This book is full of opinions and gossip as well. For those wanting quick tips, this book is for you.
  • “The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider’s Secrets from Hollywood’s Top Writers” by Karl Iglesias – Instead of focusing on screenwriting tips, this book focuses on how to actually be a screenwriter. This book provides advice on working with others, pitching ideas and how to get your screenplay read.
  • “Screenwriting for Dummies” by Laura Schellhardt and John Logan – The popular Dummies series offers up a beginner’s guide to screenwriting. This book provides you with the basics you need to get started with writing your first screenplay.

Many other great screenwriting books exist, but this list offers some of the best for beginners and professionals alike. Whether you need something for reference or a guide to get started, you’ll find something for you on this list.


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