The 3 Best Screenwriting Books for Beginners You Should Own.

If you're a newbie screenwriter and want to get a head start on your peers.

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by Script Reader Pro in Best Screenwriting Books
October 16, 2014 12 comments
screenwriting books for beginners

The 3 best screenwriting books for beginners you should own.

If you’re a newbie screenwriter, the following screenwriting books for beginners will give you a serious leg up when attempting to get to grips with the craft.

We have a list of the best screenwriting books for all aspiring writers too, but these are the three books we recommend when you’ve only recently committed to the task of putting drama on the page. (This post contains affiliate links, meaning we will receive a small commission if you purchase, but at no extra cost to you.)

Screenwriting books for beginners #1:
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. Egri breaks down the process of drama with a deep view of the underpinnings of story.

Bear in mind, this isn’t a screenwriting book, though. And it won’t teach you the finer points of how to craft the next great weepy or ninja movie. But once you’ve digested the contents of this book, with examples drawn from the great playwrights, 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 and set-pieces. 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 >>

Screenwriting books #2: Screenplay by Syd Field.

This is one seriously creaky old-school screenwriting book. But the magic that lurks between the pages waiting to be shared with you is seriously amazing.

Firstly, Field 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 3-Act Hollywood movie.

Once you’ve read this scriptwriting book for beginners, you’ll 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. Great movies are still going to take you along for the ride. But with the knowledge imparted by Field, 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 >>

Scriptwriting books for beginners #3:
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.

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 would you want to read Save The Cat?

Snyder sold multi-million dollar high concept screenplays in Hollywood and in this book he shares with you everything he knows about how to craft a sellable screenplay.

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

Read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder >>


Are you a beginning screenwriter? Have the above screenwriting books for beginners rocked your world? Or what would you recommend for newbies like yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

screenwriting books for beginners

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler should be on there. It takes the concepts of The Hero’s Journey from The Hero with A Thousand Faces and Aristotle’s Poetics and puts it all into very easy and simple to understand terminology with exceptional skill and precision. It covers the basics.

    I can also recommend the book Prewriting Your Screenplay (Routledge/Taylor and Francis, the #1 textbook publishers in America/The World).

  2. Trish says:

    Hello! Having worked with the second two books, I’m really looking forward to Egri’s. The other one I have found to be valuable is Viki King’s How to Write a screenplay in 21 Days.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yup, two great books there, Trish. Especially, Egri’s 🙂

  3. Hamisu Mohammed says:

    Before, I think of “Save The Cat” as a screenwriting book for beginners, but I am wrong! I really enjoyed this post thank you.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Great, glad you enjoyed it, Hamisu!

  4. Arlette Clarke says:

    This is the right place for everyone who really wants to become a screenwriter to be. I have learned so much its unbelievable.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Fantastic – thanks, Arlette!

  5. Leonard says:

    Yes these are probably some of the best screenwriting books for beginners but the first two are dated, no?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      They may be old but are full of timeless advice 🙂

  6. houshang falah says:

    Hi Everyone!

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  7. Wallis says:

    Woԝ, this iѕ great. I am analyzing screenwriting as part of my degree and this will help a lot. Thanks.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      That’s great to hear – best of luck with the degree!

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