Best Screenwriting Books


The way people read and write has changed dramatically in the past few years and no industry is changing more than publishing. Loaded with expert advice, these books focus on how to succeed as a writer.

Back in the day (three years ago), authors would create manuscripts and then shop them around until they were picked up by a publisher or agent. The process of getting published was arduous and fraught with rejection. But now, technology has enabled the average Joe to bypass those steps and publish his or her work online.

That being said, there’s still something to be said for the experience and knowledge of publishing veterans. The following books are a mix of old-school and new-school wisdom, and they’ll teach you everything you need to know about screenwriting, from crafting a great story to polishing your final draft.


1. “How to Write a Damn Good Thriller” by James N. Frey 


If you’re looking for a book on constructing thrillers, look no further than this bestseller. Frey’s guide is filled with hard-hitting advice and comprehensive examples of how great thriller screenplays are written. The author has done his homework, and he knows what he’s talking about.


2. “The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script” by David Trottier


This book is a comprehensive guide to writing a screenplay that will make it past the first round of Hollywood screenings. Trottier’s advice is concise and easy to grasp, and there’s plenty of room for you to write in the margins.


3. “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screen Writing” by Syd Field


This book is a must-have for any novice screenwriter, because it covers everything from formatting to creating a compelling story. Though most people consider Field’s approach to be a little dated, his techniques are still relevant and worth learning from.


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


This book is one of the most popular screenwriting guides on the market, and for good reason—Snyder’s advice is easy to understand and practical. If you’re looking to write a tight, well-constructed screenplay, then you need to read this book.


5. “The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives” by Lajos Egri


This book is a classic, and for good reason. Egri’s approach to screenwriting is all about creating believable characters and building tension into your scenes. If you’re looking to create complex, three-dimensional people, then this is the book for you.


6. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler


This book is all about using the power of mythology to create compelling stories. Vogler’s insights are invaluable for screenwriters who want to create stories that resonate with audiences on a deep level.


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


William Goldman is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, but he gained that fame not because of his directing or producing credits. He’s a screenwriter through and through, and this book offers readers an inside look at how he came to write some of the most iconic films in history.


8. “The Screenwriter’s Workbook: A Creative Approach to Writing Screenplays” by Syd Field


This book is a companion to the one mentioned above. It’s designed to help you apply the concepts from Field’s seminal work to your own writing. If you’re serious about becoming a screenwriter, then you need to have this book in your arsenal.

9. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby

This book teaches readers how to create a page-turning story that will grab their reader’s attention and never let go. Truby’s advice is invaluable, and his techniques are designed to help writers create characters audiences will care about.


10. “Story Engineering: Mastering the Art of Storytelling” by Larry Brooks


This book is all about structure, and how to use it to create a powerful and compelling story. Brooks’ advice is based on his years of experience in the film industry, and it’s designed to help screenwriters write stories that will stand the test of time.

The 10 best books on screenwriting offer a variety of approaches to this complex art form. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been writing for years, there’s something here for you. So pick up a few of these books and get to work!