The 10 Best Screenwriting Books

Updated February 23, 2018

The Writer's Journey
Adventures in the Screen Trade
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
We spent 28 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Every cinephile dreams of writing their own screenplay, and with the help of these books, it's possible to do so. Whether you fantasize about sipping martinis by a pool in Hollywood or imagine impressing the cool indie film crowd, or simply want to try transforming a story into a script, you can choose from a range of methods to find one that's right for your learning style and skill level. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best screenwriting book on Amazon.

10. Making a Good Script Great

Now in its third edition, Making a Good Script Great emphasizes rewriting as a necessary step towards finishing a feature-length screenplay. With worksheets and checklists at the end of each chapter, this is an excellent choice if you need an extra push to get started.
  • concepts are easy to understand
  • strong character development tips
  • some may find the style too fluffy
Publisher Linda Seger
Model n/a
Weight 11.4 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Adventures in the Screen Trade

Full of interesting anecdotes and personal experience, Adventures in the Screen Trade offers a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a screenwriter working in Hollywood. Though it's not exactly a writing how-to, it can help you decide if the film industry is right for you.
  • collection of short narrative essays
  • readers can buff up on film history
  • style and advice can seem dated
Publisher Goldman, William
Model n/a
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. The Writer's Journey

Pick up The Writer's Journey to delve into the philosophy behind what makes some scripts truly enduring. Arguing that all great narratives contain mythic archetypes and are structured around a hero's journey, this book is for screenwriters who love to think deeply.
  • for more experienced writers
  • applies to writing in every genre
  • step-by-step guidance
Publisher Michael Wiese Pr
Model n/a
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. The Anatomy of Story

If you find the traditional three act dramatic structure too limiting, The Anatomy of Story can help you make your script flow more organically. John Truby's unique 22 step method of designing plot, characters, and moral conflicts accounts for higher-concept stories.
  • author is a script consultant
  • craft-oriented approach
  • method is very complex
Publisher John Truby
Model n/a
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. The Art of Dramatic Writing

Before there were movies, there were plays -- that's why Lajos Egri's classic how-to book, The Art of Dramatic Writing, is still frequently used by screenwriters today. His insights on the psychological patterns of characters will inspire you to take your craft seriously.
  • very logical approach
  • advises you to start with a premise
  • timeless dramatic writing lessons
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Model n/a
Weight 10.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Your Screenplay Sucks!

If the tough love approach is what you seek, Your Screenplay Sucks! could be just the thing to whip your writing into shape. This book delivers concise tips and practical exercises suitable for anyone who is already working on a script, but struggling with writer's block.
  • bite-sized tips and tricks
  • emphasis on rethinking and rewriting
  • information is well-organized
Publisher William M Akers
Model n/a
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting teaches dramatic structure using the "paradigm worksheet," a diagramming method that readers can apply to their own work. Its discussions of the film industry and good writing habits make it great for beginners.
  • focuses on the three-act structure
  • uses examples from popular movies
  • chapters are a bit repetitive
Publisher Syd Field
Model n/a
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. The Screenwriter's Bible

With instructions on proper script formatting and advice on selling your work, the updated, sixth edition of The Screenwriter's Bible is geared towards business-minded writers eager to see their words lifted off the page and onto the silver screen.
  • marketing and pitching strategies
  • covers tv spec scripts
  • little focus on the craft of writing
Publisher Trottier David
Model n/a
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Save the Cat

For writers who want a crash-course in story structure, Save the Cat is great. Authored by a big-budget Hollywood insider in a funny, accessible tone, this book breaks down the beats of a script into a formula that readers will either find revelatory or too simplistic.
  • concise and straight to the point
  • emphasis on overall plot outlining
  • useful as a quick reference manual
Publisher Michael Wiese Productio
Model n/a
Weight 14.9 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting

Remember that seminar scene in "Adaptation"? That was Robert McKee, author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting. His detailed book analyzes the arcs and dynamics at work within scenes, dialogue, and the overall narrative.
  • extensive and in depth
  • diagrams help illustrate concepts
  • references classic films
Publisher Robert Mckee
Model n/a
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

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Last updated on February 23, 2018 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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