Books for Screenwriters

Some recommended books for aspiring screenwriters and experienced screenwriters.

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Sid Field

This is one of the original books on screenwriting by the bestselling author, lecturer, and teacher. His bestselling book has been updated to include current films and new personal anecdotes that illustrate key concepts. He outlines how to develop concept, character, and story. He provides step-by-step comprehensive techniques for writing the screenplay.

The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script by David Trottier

An excellent, comprehensive book on screenwriting that will define most terms unfamiliar to novice screenwriters from spec script to shooting script to the difference between “O.S.” (off-screen) and “V.O.” (voiceover). It also contains a workbook with hundreds of questions to help guide your development of story and characters.

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

This is another very popular book on screenwriting. The techniques he employs uses log-lines, beat sheets, and index cards to structure the screenplay from start to finish.

The Coffee Break Screenwriter by Pilar Alessandra

A Hollywood screenwriting instructor shows you how to write and put together an outline and screenplay— ten minutes at a time. Her exercises are fun and highly doable. She also has a popular podcast which can be found at:  www.onthepage.tv.

The Film Novelist: Writing a Screenplay and Short Novel in 15 Weeks by Dennis J. Packard

Packard has devised a program starting from a one-sentence pitch to the novel itself, which includes filming a scene from your script/novel. He grounds the discussion of early film novels, like The Maltese Falcon and Of Mice and Men to provide historical and theoretical background while detailing the practical, sequential approach for completing a short novel and script.

How to Adapt Anything Into a Screenplay by Richard Krevolin

This book articulates the craft of adapting novels, short stories, newspaper articles, and poems into a screenplay. The author draws on his experience as an instructor and screenwriter. He breaks down story into its essential components and gives concrete examples of successfully adapted screenplays.