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3 Books On Screenwriting For Beginners Every Newbie Should Read


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October 16, 2014 1 comment
screenwriting books for beginners

If you’re a newbie screenwriter, the following books on screenwriting for beginners will give you a serious leg up when attempting to understand what you’re doing when you’ve committed to the task of putting drama on the page. This post may contain affiliate links. 

The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri

This book will give you a great basis for understanding the nature of drama. In fact, before you write anything, you should read this book. Seriously. Egri breaks down the process of drama with a deep view of the underpinnings of story.

This isn’t a screenwriting book, though. And it won’t teach you the finer points of how to craft the next great superhero or ninja movie. But once you’ve digested the contents of this book, with examples drawn from the great playwrights such as Ibsen and Shakespeare, you’ll have a deeper view of what drama is.

And you’ll know how to move the story forward in between all those cool shots of flaming flying saucers and hard charging dudes with guns and hot girlfriends.

In fact, knowing the interrelationship of character, conflict and plot will actually help you keep your story moving forward at all times. One of the best books on screenwriting for beginners of all time.

Read The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri >>

Screenplay by Syd Field

Okay, this is one seriously creaky old school book. But the magic that lurks between the pages waiting to be shared with you is seriously amazing.

First Syd knows how to break down movies. He can show you how Jaws and Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Chinatown all operate off of the same sort of paradigm. He then breaks the paradigm down for you so you can understand what it is to write a three act Hollywood movie.

Once you’ve read this scriptwriting book for beginners, you’ll never, and I mean never, be able to watch a movie again without knowing what act you’re inside of, and anticipating how the writer will twist the story for the next act.

Does it sort of take some of the joy out of watching movies? Not really. Really great movies are still going to take you along for the ride. But with the knowledge imparted by Syd you’ll be able to understand what’s underneath the hood of your favorite movies and how to extract it to build your own cool movie.

Read Screenplay by Syd Field >>

best books on screenwriting


Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

So let’s say now you understand the underpinnings of drama thanks to Laos Egri and you understand the basic structure of Hollywood movies thanks to Syd Field, why do you want to read Save The Cat?

Because Blake has sold multi-million dollar high concept screenplays in Hollywood and he shares with you everything he knows about how to craft those awesome residual creating, hot tub buying scripts that will make you the envy of your high school reunion.

Seriously, Save The Cat will build another layer on top of what you’ve learned with the other two books on screenwriting. You’ll be able to groom your understanding to include what high concept really is and how to make it work for you.

After all, what’s a spec script, without a high concept?

Read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder >>

Want to know what’s really going on under three-act structure?

This screenwriting book moves past generic screenplay analysis of structure to discover the seven sequences underpinning the traditional three big acts.

best screenwriting books

If you’re a more advanced screenwriter, be sure to check out our recommended best screenwriting books. Are you a beginning screenwriter? Have the above books on screenwriting for beginners rocked your world? Or what would you recommend for beginners like yourself? 

1 Comment
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