First Draft: 14 Screenwriting Books Every Screenwriter Should Read

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In partnership with Creative Screenwriting and ScreenCraft, “First Draft” is a series on everything to do with screenwriting.


What are the best screenwriting books on the market, why are they the best, and what specific knowledge and experience can screenwriters take away from them?

Knowledge is power and the first—and ongoing—step that screenwriters should take when they embark on their writing journey is to read and study the art, craft, and business of screenwriting.

It’s not about finding tricks, shortcuts, and secret formulas. No book that we list below is the be-all, end-all way to write a screenplay. There is no one way. Reading screenwriting books is about searching for wisdom, experience, knowledge, tips, and instruction that can help you hone your own style. You take what stands out to you the most and add it to your “toolbox” that you’ll use as you go on to write your own.

The collected content of one book may showcase a full approach that best fits with your process. Another book may only have a single nugget of advice, but one that solves a common problem you’ve been struggling with.

So this list is not about finding the one way to write your next screenplay—it’s about a collection of knowledge that you should study, consider, and then possibly adapt to your own writing process, whether you’re using a lot or a little from each and every screenwriting book you read.

Read on for the best screenwriting books that all screenwriters should take a look at.

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2 Comments

  1. Robert Herrick

    November 30, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Missed one –
    The Complete Book of Scriptwriting
    by J. Michael Straczynski

  2. Candice Levine

    November 29, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I would add Secrets of theScreen Trade by Allen B Ury. My projects started getting more attention after I absorbed the knowledge contained in this book.

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