14 Best Screenwriting Books That'll Help Kickstart Your Career in 2024.

A list of the most underrated and overlooked books every screenwriter should own.

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by Script Reader Pro in Best Screenwriting Books
January 4, 2024 120 comments
best screenwriting books to read

14 best screenwriting books that’ll help kickstart your career in 2024.

We’ve all read the so-called “best” screenwriting books like Story by Bob McKee and Screenplay by Syd Field. But what about the hidden gems? The ones that get overlooked by professionals and amateurs alike?

This list is a comprehensive guide to those lesser-known books that every screenwriter should read. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, these screenwriting books offer fresh perspectives and valuable insights to unlock your inner screenwriter.

The books on this list:

Explain the craft of screenwriting in a clear, practical, no BS manner (much like our own style)

Might be underrated or not well-known

Will transform your understanding of any given area of screenwriting

So, let’s get into the best screenwriting books to add to your reading list. (Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you buy a book we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

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#1: Your Screenplay Sucks! by William M. Akers.

best screenwriting books
Akers is a Lifetime Member of the Writers’ Guild of America and writer of several produced screenplays. In other words, he knows what he’s talking about. This book is great for helping writers get a handle on the essentials of the craft.

Akers provides a checklist of 100 “fatal errors” commonly made by beginners, along with concrete steps to fix them. The chapters on editing sentences are particularly helpful, especially if you’re one of the many writers who suffer from overwriting-itis.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? Its no-nonsense approach that will make you see your writing style in a whole new light.

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books to read

best screenwriting books

#2. The Coffee Break Screenwriter by Pilar Alessandra.

best screenwriting books
Pilar Alessandra, host of the top-rated screenwriting podcast “On The Page,” understands the struggle of a busy schedule. Her book, “The Coffee Break Screenwriter,” is designed specifically for people with 9-to-5 jobs and families who find it hard to carve out time for writing.

Alessandra’s approach is friendly and practical, making screenwriting feel accessible to everyone, no matter how busy they are. The book is packed with bite-sized, ten-minute exercises and tools that can be incorporated into even the busiest day. As the subtitle says, it’s all about “writing ten minutes at a time.”

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? The book is full of practical tools and exercises that will get you thinking about your story in a whole new light.

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books to read

best screenwriting books

#3. The 21st Century Screenplay by Linda Aronson.

best screenwriting books
The 21st Century Screenplay is your one-stop shop for mastering the craft of screenwriting. Linda Aronson provides a comprehensive guide, covering everything from structure and character development to writing natural-sounding dialogue.

She even gets into the business side of the industry, offering insight into how to get your script produced. And for those who struggle to write under pressure, Aronson’s tips are a goldmine of practical advice. Whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran, this is one of the best screenwriting books available and is an essential read for anyone who really wants to learn how to write.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? The book features a range of insider survival tips on time-effective writing, creativity under pressure and rising to the challenge of international competition.

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books to read

best screenwriting books

#4. The Idea by Erik Bork.

best screenwriting books“The #1 mistake aspiring screenwriters make is digging into writing the script before they’ve had someone review the initial idea.” The Idea tackles this problem head-on. Bork gives us a full arsenal of tools to road-test any initial concept and turn it into a bulletproof screenplay.

Yes, many screenwriting books cover how to come up with an idea that’s good enough to turn into a TV series or feature film, but this one devotes 200 pages to it. And for good reason.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year?  Your script is dead in the water without a solid idea behind it. Read this book first to avoid that fate for your script. 

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books

best screenwriting books

#5. The Nutshell Technique by Jill Chamberlain.

best screenwriting books
While many aspiring screenwriters can write snappy dialogue or create interesting characters, many fail to craft a compelling story. In The Nutshell Technique, sought-after script doctor Jill Chamberlain is determined to change this.

Her “nutshell technique” shows you how to take an interesting situation and turn it into an actual story. It’s very hands-on (which we love) and uses a ton of examples from well-known, up-to-date movies. Her step-by-step approach and use of helpful diagrams make this one of the most practical guides to narrative storytelling. It’s one of those books on screenwriting you don’t want to miss out on.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? It’ll give you so many “a-ha!” moments. Such as how your protagonist’s “want” expressed at the beginning of Act 1 should be granted at the end of Act 1, but not in the way they expected…

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books to read

best screenwriting books

#6Getting It Write by Lee Jessup.

best screenwriting books
Out of all the screenwriting books on the market, very few address the problem many writers face once they’ve completed a great script: What the heck do I do with it now? That’s what Jessup tackles in this fantastic book for screenwriters: how to market your screenplay (and yourself) in the industry.

While there’s no sure-fire formula to success, follow the pragmatic advice laid out in this book and you’ll be far ahead of the majority of other aspiring writers when it comes to starting a screenwriting career.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? Jessup is a highly sought-after authority in the industry who knows exactly how it works and what the best approaches are to break in and achieve your goals.

A typical review: 

best scriptwriting books

best screenwriting book

best screenwriting book

#7. On Writing by Stephen King.

best scriptwriting books
Don’t let the fact that Stephen King writes novels rather than screenplays put you off. This book is universally recognized as a classic text on the art of writing, regardless of medium.

The first half is a memoir detailing King’s journey from unknown writer to best-selling author. The second lays out his tips on how to write—95 percent of which are just as applicable to screenplays as they are to novels.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? King is a master of the craft of writing and packs this book with his very best advice on crafting characters, stories, dialogue, pacing, editing and much more.

A typical review: 

best scriptwriting books to read

Best screenwriting books

#8Inside Story by Dara Marks.

best screenwriting books

Theme is such an important (but overlooked) element of writing a successful screenplay. Dana Marks wants us to stop overlooking it. If you’re struggling to track your protagonist’s arc, Inside Story is definitely the book for you.

In it, Marks reveals how the internal development of the protagonist informs the overall story and theme. Essential reading if you want to learn how to make your theme resonate via the hero’s journey.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? While other screenwriting books often include a chapter or section on theme, Inside Story is an entire book on the topic. It’s detailed, easy to read, and full of helpful advice. One hundred percent worth purchasing.

A typical review: 

best script writing books to read

best screenwriting books

#9The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

best screenwriting books“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.” So begins The War of Art—a modern classic on how to overcome that inner voice within all writers that says we’re not good enough and are probably wasting our time.

If you know you need a kick up the ass to get writing, this is the book for you. It’s the best screenwriting book out there that’s not actually a screenwriting book.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? We love this book because it speaks directly to our own philosophy here at Script Reader Pro about fulfilling your destiny as a writer. Not because of money or fame, but because you’re a creative.

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books to read

best screenwriting books

#10My Story Can Beat Up Your Story by Jeffrey Alan Schecter.

best scriptwriting books

A hidden gem and one of the best screenwriting books about how to set up the core conflict in your script. In My Story Can Beat Up Your Story, Schechter reveals powerful story-telling techniques that Hollywood screenwriters have been using for decades.

Many screenwriting books rehash the same information on how to write in slightly different ways. This one, however, contains information you won’t find anywhere else.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? the tone is irreverent (as you can probably tell by the title) and it’s just fun to read. You’ll keep on coming back to it again and again.

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books

best screenwriting books

#11Save the Cat Strikes Back! by Blake Snyder.

best screenwriting books

Much like the original Save the Cat book, this one is pretty inspiring and will show you how to find the greatness in any story. Even though it’s the second in a series, Save The Cat Strikes Back! is just as good, if not better than the first one. It’s by far the best screenwriting book to read if you’re having trouble understanding concepts and loglines.

The section on how to come up with a rocking logline is exceptionally helpful. The rest of the book also includes gems such as “the difference between structure and formula” and “the 5-Point Finale.” Snyder’s content is exactly what you need to get your screenplay off the ground.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? Much like the original Save the Cat book, this one is pretty inspiring and will show you how to find the greatness in any story.

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books to read

best screenplay books

#12. The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr.

best screenwriting books

This isn’t a straightforward how-to screenwriting book, but one that focuses on the neuroscience behind why we respond to some stories and characters and not to others. While this may sound a little boring, the book is far from it. In fact, it’s quite simply one of the best screenwriting books you could buy.

The book includes many great examples of how to significantly elevate your story by tapping into what psychologically resonates with an audience. Especially via the role of the protagonist’s development.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? From how to write a sentence: “Jane gave her dad a kitten” rather than “Jane gave a kitten to her dad,” to the exact steps you need to take to create a flaw for your protagonist, this book is packed full of advice that will make you a better writer, practically overnight.

A typical review: 

best books on screenwriting

best screenwriting books

#13. The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.

best screenwriting books

Perhaps most famous for penning one of the more traditional best screenwriting books of all time, The Anatomy of Story, Truby knocks it out of the park once again with this follow-up, The Anatomy of Genre.

Each chapter focuses on a different genre—Horror, Action, Myth, Coming of Age, Sci-Fi, Crime, Comedy, Western, Gangster, Fantasy, Thriller, Love Story—and goes into a deep-dive on how the work, relate to the world we live in, and how to transcend them too, in order to write truly original screenplays.

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? While the book’s not exactly the lightest read on our list, and comes in at 700 pages long, you don’t even need to read the whole thing. Just pick the genre(s) related to your script and absorb Truby’s wisdom on how to elevate it above the rest by adhering to its genre conventions.

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books

best screenwriting books

#14. Into the Woods by John Yorke.

best scriptwriting books

This book is by a British screenwriter so there are quite a few references to UK movies and TV shows you may not have heard of. Nevertheless, it is definitely one of the best screenwriting books to have come out in recent years.

Its focus is on story structure and storytelling as an art form and will send you back to your script with a newfound sense of enthusiasm. If you want to feel inspired, this is the book to buy!

Why is it one of the best screenwriting books to read this year? As opposed to being a purely craft-based screenwriting book, this one takes the reader on a philosophical and psychological journey deep into the heart of storytelling.

A typical review: 

best screenwriting books to read

best screenwriting books

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Other helpful books for screenwriters.

These are just a few of the books every screenwriter should have on their shelf. If you really want to make it in this industry, you should be immersed in the world of cinema 24/7.

Learn as much as you can through reading, not just the best scriptwriting books, but books about directing, editing, and producing as well. It all helps. Check out these titles for even more insight into the industry we all love.

Best screenwriting books: The classics.

And for the record, here’s a quick list of those classics and “best screenwriting books for beginners” lists, which are also worth checking out if you haven’t already:

The Art Of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri

 Screenplay by Syd Field

 Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hague

The Sequence Approach by Paul Joseph Gulino

 Story by Robert McKee

 Making A Good Script Great by Linda Seger

 Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

 The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Best screenwriting books on filmmaking.

We would also highly recommend reading more general books on the film industry and theory such as:

Down and Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind

 Independent Ed by Edward Burns

 Like Brothers by Jay & Mark Duplass

 Breakfast With Sharks by Michael Lent

 Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman

 Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez

 Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut

 Cinematic Storytelling by Jennifer Van Stijll

In other words, you need to pretty much immerse yourself in the world of cinema, 24/7. Learn as much as you can through reading, not just the best scriptwriting books, but books about directing, editing and producing as well. It all helps.

Free screenwriting books. 

On a budget? Here are some links to free screenwriting books that you can download right now without paying a dime.

• 12 free screenwriting eBooks from Go Into the Story. While they’re not exactly screenwriting books, they are free. And they are pretty informative. Download here >>

• Creative Genius 101. This website has links to 18 downloadable free screenwriting books. We haven’t read them all and can’t vouch for the quality of all of them, but they’re worth checking out. Download here >>

And you should also be reading screenplays…

Just as important as reading the best screenwriting books on this list is reading actual screenplays—both professional and amateur ones.

Here’s a list of the best screenplays in various genres to get you started:

50 Best Screenplays to Read and Download in Every Genre

50 Best TV Scripts to Read and Download in Every Genre

Read Screenplays Online for Free Using These 5 Websites

Frequently asked questions on the best screenwriting books. 

Q1. Should screenwriters read books?
A. There’s a lot of debate about this, naturally. Some professional and aspiring writers alike say it’s a waste of time and money: “All you need to do is write, write, write.” Others say the best screenwriting books on the market contain some valuable information that’s worth absorbing. We’re obviously in the latter camp as we don’t see the point of avoiding information that could help you achieve your goals. Some writers break in without ever having read a single screenwriting book and so call them all trash. Others have read all the best screenwriting books and say they wouldn’t have broken in without them. Ultimately, it’s your call.

Q2. What is the best book for writing a script?
A. There is no one screenwriting book that’s actually “the best.” They all offer different perspectives and helpful knowledge about writing that you can learn from. You should read a ton of them, starting with the lists above. And even then, what’s the “best” for one writer, might not be the “best” for another. Like everything in this game, it’s all subjective. Take the info that helps you the most and leave the rest behind.

Q3. Is it better to write a book or a screenplay?
A. It depends on the story you want to tell. Some stories are naturally suited to the internal and psychological dynamics of the novel, while others work better visually on the screen. On the other hand, a story can often work perfectly well in both mediums. Many novelists adapt their novels into screenplays. If you have a novel you’d like to adapt, you can read how to do it here: How to Adapt a Novel Into a Screenplay in 10 Steps.

Q4. Who is the greatest script writer of all time?
A. Again, like a night at the Oscars, this is purely subjective, but some of the most acclaimed script writers of all time include Woody Allen, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Robert Towne, William Goldman and Billy Wilder. Some more recent additions might be Quentin Tarantino, Nora Ephron, Greta Gerwig, Charlie Kaufman, Sofia Coppola, and the Coen brothers. But you should take a look at their scripts and judge for yourself.

What are the best screenwriting books you’ve ever read? Let us know in the comments section below. And also if you think we’ve made any glaring omissions.

best screenwriting books

Enjoyed this post? Check out more of the best screenwriting books to read…

The 3 Best Screenwriting Books for Beginners You Should Own

Screenwriting Books That’ll Revolutionize Your Writing

50 Best Screenplays to Read and Download in Every Genre

[© Photo credits: Unsplash]

  1. Michael Zeer says:

    How do I get my new theory of film drama (a book) to be reviewed?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Congrats on the book! Do you mean reviewed by us? Unfortunately we don’t offer that service but there are plenty of other companies out that you can check out. Best of luck!

  2. Paul says:

    I’ve read several of your book recommendations and I just wanted to share the most liberating book on screenwriting by an actual working screenwriter, not just a “guru,” is Paul Guyot’s, “Kill the Dog.” After reading it, any book on screenwriting (not creative writing in general) is not necessary.


    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Anyone else read “Kill the Dog: The First Book on Screenwriting to Tell You the Truth”? First book to tell the truth about screenwriting, really? Maybe that title writer should have read William Goldman’s legendary “Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting”

  3. Edward says:

    Great list. I’ve read 7 of the 12 on your list but I think you’re missing one book that should be on the list: Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade
    by William Goldman.
    Just spending a penny for my thoughts, but great list!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes that’s another great one – thanks, Edward!

  4. Victoria Odu says:

    Great books listed out there

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks Victoria!

  5. Paula says:

    I think one of the best screenwriting books is Vogler’s “the writer’s journey”. I read it 3 times by now and I still learn more every time I read it.

  6. Elena says:

    Hey guys, great post. What are the best screenwriting books for someone who’s already quite advanced? Cheers!

  7. Jason Kolinsky says:

    Thanks so much for the Save the Cat! Strikes Back mention! Looking forward to your thoughts on Save the Cat! Writes For TV. Speak soon!

  8. Victor Fubara says:

    Wow I have written two movie scripts already and on the third one which will be series. But reading these recommendations makes me to revisit them and add more concept and suspense to them. I think I have a career to develop. Thanks.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Victor and good luck with the scripts!

  9. Josh Lee says:

    I recently read Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure and loved it. Not necessarily for advanced folks but he does do a “Case Study” where he applies his theories etc. to scripts/movies we all know that I thought was remarkable. Very easy read too.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yep, that’s a good one too. Thanks for sharing,Josh!

  10. Joseph says:

    Hey, Thanks for taking the time to compose a list of screenwriting books to check out. In regards to many of the books listed on your website, can these books also be used for the similar field of TV Writing, specifically animated cartoons?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Joseph 🙂 Yes, TV is covered but animation is kind of a different beast format and marketing-wise.

  11. Chris says:

    So Save the Cat just came out with their Writes for TV version. One to check out and see if it makes the list one day.

  12. Adam Wallace says:

    Great article, and thank you! Not sure if anyone else has mentioned it but Writing Movies for Fun and Profit is the best screenwriting book I have ever read! Definitely worth a look!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the recommendation, Adam!

  13. Samuel says:

    Hi, could anyone recommend a couple of great book specifically on dialogue in the context of screenwriting? Much appreciated!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Hey, Samuel – have you checked out our book – Master Screenplay Dialogue? 🙂

  14. oscar julian lopez rincon says:

    great-job, guys!!!

  15. Diane Joy Schmidt says:

    Each chapter is written by a different screenwriter. It is written in a language I could understand. “Writing Movies: The Practical guide To Creating Stellar Screenplays”
    Gotham Writers Workshop Edited by Alexander Steele

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the heads-up, Diane!

  16. William Dalmas says:

    I love reading Screen writing books and Getting It Write by Lee Jessup is my all time favorite. Read my blog about Writing Books That Can Transform People.

    Thanks for sharing.

  17. Castro mm says:

    Great recommendations… but I’m still struggling to understand why Coen brothers, Tarantino, Tony Gilroy, David Mamet and tenth of other top Hollywood screenwriters don’t write or teach how to write a screenplay. Most books written about writing screenplay are by none screenplay writers …. Just read great scripts and watch great films from real masters .

  18. Len Burns says:

    What an informative list, accompanied with strong recommendations in the comments section.
    Even a one-eyed cyclops should be able to make it to the top of the screen writing pile after reading just half of these.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Good point 🙂

  19. Robin Chappell says:

    Linda Segers “Make a Good Script Great.” Read that back in the 90’s, and have finished a dozen scripts — feature and shorts — since. Even more in “various stages.”

    Now. Do the Best How To Sell Your Screenplay books. That I’m interested in.

  20. Joe Augustyn says:

    Max Adams’ book is well worth the price.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, will check it out.

  21. Jim says:

    The Craft of Scene Writing is first to focus solely on scenes.

  22. John says:

    Thank you v. interesting screenwriting books ideas .

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, John!

  23. Karen Levine says:


  24. Brian says:

    Check out ‘THE SCREENWRITER’S WAY’. Perfect to build the elements of your story and writer’s process as a set up to writing the script.

  25. Gigi Taylor says:

    Which one is the one to read for TV script writing? Thanks!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Learning how to write is pretty much the same for screenplays and TV but you’ll find a couple of examples of specific books for TV in this post.

  26. Naomi Vincenzo says:

    I just read My story can Beat up your story thank you for the reccomendation Script Reader its really helped!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes, it’s a great book, thanks for the comment, Naomi!

  27. Writer Ella says:

    Have you NOT read “Screenplay” by Sid Field?!? How can it not be on this list??

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      As we say at the beginning of the post, this list focuses on the best screenwriting books many writers haven’t heard of, not the tried and trusted “classics.”

  28. Gabriella Bedsworth says:

    Just read “The Idea” by Erik Bork. If you haven’t read it you need to read it and it will probably make your top 10 list.

  29. Ian Brumpton says:

    Good choices, to which I’d add the The Complete Screenwriting Course by Charles Harris (who set up the London Screenwriters Workshop back in the day), it’s great on structure & lays out a comprehensive A-Z process for new writers to build their film scripts with. Very practical.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Ian – we’ll check it out!

  30. Lincoln says:

    Guess Robert McKee’s Story isn’t good enough for this list…

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Please read our answer to “Writer Ella” 🙂

  31. ade olusesi says:

    This is a great list. A wonderful aid for an aspiring writer like me. Kudos SRP!!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks a lot, Ade!

  32. Trent Silvers says:

    Great list, thanks for sharing!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Trent!

  33. Francine E says:

    Good list but I don’t know how you can leave Richard Walters book of it.

  34. Craig says:

    I find Building a Great Screenplay vastly superior to any book on your list. Howard was chairman of USC’S Screenwriting Department for years.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:


  35. Oscar says:

    Thanks for these screenwriting books. Have a great day. Bye

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, Oscar!

  36. Francine says:

    This list is fantastic! Thanks guys.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the shoutout, Francine!

  37. Jude StClair says:

    Now I’m confused. Whats the NUMBER one must have for someone who doesn’t know squat?

  38. Tom Richardson says:

    You’re forgetting THE ASPIRING SCREENWRITER’S DIRTY LOWDOWN GUIDE TO FAME AND FORTUNE. One of the best new books around, a fun read, and deals with the market of today.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the heads-up, Tom.

  39. houshang falah says:

    Hi Everyone!

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    Skillshare and today it’s officially live!
    If you’re not familiar, Skillshare is an online learning community
    with thousands of classes on everything from business to graphic
    design to fashion – it’s the Netflix of learning.
    Where you’ll learn SCREENPLAY IDEA. I’m proud of what I’ve created,
    and I’d really appreciate if you’d help me out by watching my class

    Not only is this an awesome deal, but your enrollment will help my
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    to discover it.
    If you know of anyone else that’d be interested to learn Screenplay
    SKILLS, I’d appreciate if you’d share it with them too.

    Thanks so much!
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  40. Alfredo says:

    I don’t know if it’s just me or are “best screenwriting books to read” lists a waist of time?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Screenwriting books help a great many aspiring screenwriters, Alfredo, but you’re right: it’s all subjective in the end.

  41. Terence Patrick Murphy says:

    I’d like to put in a plug for my two books, the first is called The Fairytale and Plot Structure; the second is called From Fairy Tale to Film Screenplay: Working with Plot Genotypes. What I do, particularly in the second book, is marry the three-act structure of Syd Field to the work of Vladimir Propp in order to come up with the concept of the plot genotype. The plot genotype is the narrative DNA of the Hollywood screenplay. What I offer is a more detailed understanding of what transpires from the beginning of the movie until the first Plot Point, as that is understood by Field, and then from the first to the second Plot Point, and then to the end of the film. It’s a structure that shows both a kind of uniformity and a nice flexibility. I promise you that you will be given new insights into the structure of all stories by a careful reading of my two books.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, good luck with the books, Terrance.

  42. David Ward says:

    I see there is no Story on here by Robert Mckee. How can you miss that one off a supposed best screenwriting books list?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      We mention it at the top of the post as a book most people have heard of. (It’s also not the clearest or easiest of reads.) This is more a list of the best screenwriting books to read that aspiring writers might not be aware of.

  43. Khalid S says:

    I do agree with most of the books you have presented here but could you please include more? 10 is not enough.

  44. Davy White says:

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Davy!

  45. Tawnya Harris says:

    Where can I find the script to If Beals street could talk?

  46. Kerri Stillman says:

    I especially love the Nutshell Technique by Jill Chamberlin. Typical of Script Reader Pro to include it, you guys are on the ball!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the shoutout, Kerri – really appreciate it!

  47. Paul Jacobs says:

    Tһis informatіon iѕ priceless. How can I find more screenwriting books like these?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      We regularly feature the best new screenwriting books in our newsletter.

  48. charles mario ruiz says:

    there’s a helluva lo MORE that you left out than those listed…do not have the time to list them all…sorry.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Okay… A blog post can’t go on forever, though.

  49. Mike Laman says:

    I love this list and I could add a few titles from my own library. The problem I have with all these books is: it takes lots of time to read and incorporate their ideas into
    your writing process. Some of these books work against each other. If you’re aren’t careful, you end up reading more about the writing process than doing it. Did or would the great screenwriters of the past read all these books? I doubt it. Read scripts, do outlines, then write, and rewrite. Create new pages daily or you will never produce anything.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes, you definitely don’t want to get caught up just reading and not writing.

  50. Tess says:

    Screenwriting is Rewriting by Jack Epps? I’m reading it now….it’s great.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the heads up, Tess.

  51. Donovan Walker says:

    Many great creative geniuses adhered to existing forms. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Ravel each re-invented music itself with their content, but stuck strictly to classical forms like the Sonata form for a symphony. True, Debussy broke every rule of form just as Picasso did, but unless you are that one in a billion, you’ll succeed far better adhering to established forms. Just re-invent with your content.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Good point 🙂

  52. Donovan Walker says:

    I flat-out love the “Save The Cat” series, even though Blake forced a complete restructuring and subsequent rewrite of my first project. I now wear a “WWBSD?” bracelet when writing.

    Someone mentioned “The Hollywood Standard” – fantastic book; everyone should own it. However, it is a format guide, not a screenwriting book. It won’t help you with characters, dialog, theme or story, but only help you put those elements down on paper in a way that’ll pass any reader’s sniff test.

    Several of these others sound very interesting. I’m looking forward to getting to know them.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Donovan. We love STC too.

  53. Paul says:

    Pablo Picasso learned to paint first in a Naturalist style before he broke the mould.
    Books are not the place for instruction on anti-narrative or post-structure. That’s more the realm of craft practise, journals and academic analysis.
    Multi-protagonists require brilliant writing talent and craft. Plus we normally only see the resulting film so there is a bias towards Writer-Directors.
    Alternative structure is probably best handled as a chapter in a broader book, but really again it’s an advanced topic for professional writers or the artiste.

  54. Peter says:

    I’m surprised that Donna Michelle Anderson’s book “Write It, Pitch It, Sell Your Screenplay” is not on your list. I found DMA’s book to be a clear, rational, no-nonsense, unified guide to all aspects of structure, character development and marketing/selling a screenplay.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, we’ll check it out.

  55. Richard says:

    You left out The Screenwriting Quick Start.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Richard. I think that’s a great book!

  56. Molly says:

    I second Richard Walter’s book. But I would definitely add Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting by Brian Price to the list. It’s both philosophical (why we tell stories) and practical (how to tell a good story well).

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks Molly – great suggestions!

  57. DIANE WILLIAMS says:

    The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. It helped me pick out the best elements of a true story to tell.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes that’s another good one – too many to list 🙂

      1. Lee Allen Eide says:

        I loved “Anatomy of Story” by John Truby.. I attended a seminar of his in NYC back in 2011 or 2012 which expanded on the book’s principles.

        1. Script Reader Pro says:

          Yep, that’s a good one 🙂

  58. Jonathan says:

    The Hollywood Standard by Christopher Riley is my bible!

  59. Mario says:

    I highly recommend the power of film by Howard Suber

  60. Sam Kesler says:

    Thank You! Great list.
    Other favorites of mine:
    The Secrets Of Story – Matt Bird
    Screenwriting For Neurotics – Scott Winfield Sublett
    Extreme Screenwriting – Barb Doyon

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Interesting additions – I’ll look into those. Thanks a lot!

  61. Gary says:

    How Not to Write a Screenplay by Denny Martin Flinn is a good one too.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      It is – thanks Gary!

  62. Pauline says:

    I have never seen such a variety of Screenwriting books that deal with the problems I am having with my scripts. You can be assured I get everyone on the list.

  63. Jack says:

    I’m not sure about Save the cat – he complains about more complex screenplays.

  64. Sandra says:

    You can be assured I get everyone on the list. Great list of screenwriting books. I also like the book screenwriting for dummies.

  65. Alex says:

    I am surprised Screenplay: Writing The picture
    By Robin U. Russian and William Missouri Downs is not here… I highly recommend it… it makes things easy to understand and flows seemingly throughout…. Student at A University studying Film and Television and that book really is great

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Great idea – thanks Alex.

  66. Shiv says:

    I second reading the Nutshell Technique by Jill Chamberlain. It’s one of the few books that links character arcs to plot points in a simple and easy way to understand and implement.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks Shiv, not read this one so I’ll check it out.

  67. Jacob says:

    I love your list! Thanks for putting this together. I’ve read most of these books and I have to agree they’re great to nail the screenwriting basics. My favorite one is Inside Story – it was super helpful!

  68. Thomas says:

    No books here on alternative structure, anti-narrative, post-structure or multi-protagonists.

  69. Tully Archer says:

    “Writing Movies For [Fun And] Profit” was great, in my opinion. Hilarious as well as informative.

  70. Lance Thompson says:

    Good list. I would add “The Elements of Screenwriting” by Irwin Blacker. It’s been around forever, concise, useful.

  71. John Carey says:

    “The Screenwriter’s Bible” “Your Screenplay Sucks” “Screenwriter’s Compass” all very much worth reading, studying, and then going over your script again, and again.

    1. SRP says:

      Agreed, John 🙂

  72. Victoria says:

    Read The Nutshell Technique be Jill Chamberlain. It will be on this list after you read it.

    1. SRP says:

      Thanks for the heads up, Victoria.

  73. Michael Williamson says:

    I am bit disappointed that Richard Walter’s (UCLA) Essentials: The Art, Craft and Business of Television and Film Screenwriting is not included in this list; I put him above Robert McKee, easily.

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