Top 10 Best Screenwriting Books to Read in 2019

One cannot help but feel inspired after this year’s Golden Globes. Are you a screenwriter who is looking for good books to help develop your craft? Are you someone who is looking to get started but you don’t know how? Fear not! Here are the ten best screenwriting books according to Script Reader Pro and synopsis’ from Amazon:

 

1. Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways to Make it Great by William M. Akers

 

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A lifetime member of the Writer’s Guild of America who has had three feature films produced from his screenplays, Akers offers beginning writers the tools they need to get their screenplay noticed.

 

2. The Coffee Break Screenwriter by Pilar Alessandra

 

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The writer receives guidance and tips at every stage of the often intimidating writing process with a relaxed, “ten minutes at a time” method that focuses the writer and pushes him or her forward. At each step, writers are encouraged to “Take Ten” and tackle an element of their script using the templates and tools provided. “What You’ve Accomplished” sections help writers review their progress. And “Ten-Minute Lectures” distill and demystify old school theory, allowing the writer to unblock and get writing.

 

3. The 21st Century Screenplay by Linda Aronson

 

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The 21st Century Screenplay is the much-expanded successor to the author’s Scriptwriting Updated. Many books in one, it offers a comprehensive, highly practical manual of screenwriting from the classic to the avant-garde, from The African Queen and Tootsie, to 21 Grams, Pulp Fiction, Memento and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Whether you want to write short films, features, adaptations, genre films, ensemble films, blockbusters or art house movies, this book takes you all the way from choosing the brilliant idea to plotting, writing and rewriting. Featuring a range of insider survival tips on time-effective writing, creativity under pressure and rising to the challenge of international competition, The 21st Century Screenplay is essential reading for newcomer and veteran alike.

 

4. The Nutshell Technique by Jill Chamberlain

 

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Veteran script consultant Jill Chamberlain discovered in her work that an astounding 99 percent of first-time screenwriters don’t know how to tell a story. What the 99 percent do instead is present a situation. In order to explain the difference, Chamberlain created the Nutshell Technique, a method whereby writers identify eight dynamic, interconnected elements that are required to successfully tell a story.

Now, for the first time, Chamberlain presents her unique method in book form with The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting. Using easy-to-follow diagrams (“nutshells”), she thoroughly explains how the Nutshell Technique can make or break a film script. Chamberlain takes readers step-by-step through thirty classic and contemporary movies, showing how such dissimilar screenplays as Casablanca, Chinatown, Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Silver Linings Playbook, and Argo all have the same system working behind the scenes, and she teaches readers exactly how to apply these principles to their own screenwriting. Learn the Nutshell Technique, and you’ll discover how to turn a mere situation into a truly compelling screenplay story.

Since its publication in 2016, The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting was an instant classic. It is the go-to manual many professionals swear by, and it’s on the syllabus syllabus at colleges across the U.S. including the world renowned screenwriting program at Columbia University.

 

5. Getting it Write by Lee Jessup

 

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There are plenty of books about the craft of screenwriting, and a handful about pitching your screenplay. However, little can be found on how to go from writing to pitching in the professional space. There is no formula, no three-step plan. Getting It Write: An Insider’s Guide to a Screenwriting Career unlocks pragmatic guidance for constructing a screenwriting career, delivered by a sought-after industry authority who works with writers both novice and professional. Never pulling any punches, the book aims to decode Hollywood, prepare the writer for the road ahead, and offer tangible avenues for screenwriting success.

 

6. On Writing by Stephen King

 

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Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

 

7. Inside Story by Dara Marks

 

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What is the secret to writing a great screenplay? Whether you’re a beginning screenwriter or an A-list Academy Award winner, all writers struggle with the same thing: to get to the great script inside. Step by step, Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc guides you through an extraordinary new process that helps identify your thematic intention-what your story is really about-and teaches you how to turn that intention into the driving force behind all your creative choices. The result is a profound relationship between the movement of the plot and the internal development of character, which is the foundation for the transformational arc. The transformational arc is the deeper line of structure found inside the story. Knowing how to work with the arc enhances your ability to: ? Express your unique point of view ? Give meaning and urgency to the line of action ? Infuse your characters with richness, subtlety, and surprise ? Develop a powerful emotional undercurrent ? Make your stories stand out and get attention A strong transformational arc is the single most important element that makes the difference between a good screenplay and a great one. Inside Story delivers what the name implies: it’s the real inside scoop on how to write a great screenplay with depth, dimension, and substance. It is a must-have for any serious screenwriter, playwright, or novelist.

 

8. My Story Can Beat Up Your Story by Jeffrey Alan Schecter

 

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My Story Can Beat Up Your Story! is the same powerful, easy-to-learn system that industry insiders have used to generate millions of dollars in script sales and ?assignments. In a clear, step-by-step fashion, this book is a fun, eye-opening, ?brain-expanding, and often irreverent guide to writing stories that sell. Covering everything from Heroes to Villains, from Theme to Plot Points, from cooking up good ideas to a business plan for smart writers, this book forever eliminates that horrible feeling every writer goes through — staring at the blank page and wondering “what comes next?”

 

9. Save the Cat Strikes Back! by Blake Snyder

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Blake Snyder, author of Save the Cat!® and Save the Cat!® Goes to the Movies, is back with the book countless readers and students have clamored for. Inspired by questions from his workshops, lectures, and emails, Blake listened and provides new tips, tactics, and techniques to solve your writing problems and create stories that resonate:
The 7 warning signs you might have a great idea or not
2 sure-fire templates for can t-miss loglines
The difference between structure and formula
The Transformation Machine that allows you to track your hero s growth step-by-step
The 5 questions to keep your story s spine straight
The 5-Point Finale to finish any story
The Save the Cat!® Greenlight Checklist that gets to the heart of every development issue
The right way to hear notes, deal with problematic producers, and dive into the rewrite with the right attitude
Why and when an agent will appear
How to discover the potential for greatness in any story
How to avoid panic, doubt, and self-recrimination… and what it takes to succeed and dare to achieve your dreams
Get ready to face trouble like a pro… and strike back!

 

10. Into the Woods by John Yorke

 

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The idea of Into the Woods is not to supplant works by Aristotle, Lajos Egri, Robert McKee, David Mamet, or any other writers of guides for screenwriters and playwrights, but to pick up on their cues and take the reader on a historical, philosophical, scientific, and psychological journey to the heart of all storytelling. In this exciting and wholly original book, John Yorke not only shows that there is truly a unifying shape to narrative―one that echoes the great fairytale journey into the woods, and one, like any great art, that comes from deep within―he explains why, too. With examples ranging from The Godfather to True Detective, Mad Men to Macbeth, and fairy tales to Forbrydelsen (The Killing), Yorke utilizes Shakespearean five-act structure as a key to analyzing all storytelling in all narrative forms, from film and television to theatre and novel-writing―a big step from the usual three-act approach. Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story is destined to sit alongside David Mamet’s Three Uses of the Knife, Robert McKee’s Story, Syd Field’s Screenplay, and Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing as one of the most original, useful, and inspiring books ever on dramatic writing.

 

A personal recommendation is to buy and download Final Draft 11And who knows! You might find yourself at the Oscars this year, on February 24th. Of course, not impossible but it’s nice to dream.

 

 

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