5 Books for screenwriting, which you probably haven't read
Updated: Jul 31
Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, Story by Robert McKee and Screenplay by Syd Field, are the first titles every screenwriter would tell you to read, but below are 5 books that can help your storytelling, which you probably haven't read.
1. CONSIDER THIS: MOMENTS IN MY WRITING LIFE AFTER WHICH EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT - CHUCK PALAHNIUK
You know Chuck Palahniuk from Fight Club fame, the author of the iconic David Fincher 1999 film adaptation.
Consider This, is a combination of memoir and writing techniques. Palahniuk details his writing process, writing style and research.
Very much aimed at prose, the book offers techniques that screenwriters can use, especially, Palahniuk's process of research and development for his novels.
2. THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE - WILLIAM STRUNK JR. AND E.B. WHITE
Published in the early 1900s, The Elements of Style has become a staple in most writer's toolbox.
Nearly every writer will tell you, the worst part of writing is proofreading. Even after reading and rereading, a punctuation or grammatical error will always sneak in.
Elements of Style covers a variety of different grammatical and punctuation rules. The book provides explanations and examples to give you a greater understanding of each rule.
It should be considered, writing and language has evolved since 1918, and some of the concepts can feel dated.
3. POETICS - ARISTOTLE
Prolific screenwriter Aaron Sorkin refers to Poetics as the only book a screenwriter needs.
A treatise on story and drama, Aristotle explores plot, character, comedy, drama and diction.
The language in the book is not for everyone, which is why I recommend reading Aristotle's Poetics For Screenwriters: Storytelling Secrets from the Greatest Mind in Western Civilization by Michael Tierno.
In Tierno's book, he explains Aristole's techniques in modern terms and specifically for screenwriting.
4. THE BESTSELLER CODE - JODIE ARCHER & MATTHEW L. JOCKERS
What if a computer algorithm determined if a manuscript would become a bestseller?
This is the premise of The Bestseller Code. Archer and Jockers, former literary agents, developed an algorithm to analyse bestsellers and non-bestsellers.
The results indicate what readers consider before selecting a book to read.
Does this sound too good to be true? To an extent, but it is valuable to look beyond the writer and to the reader.
5. THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING - WILLIAM C. MARTELL
William C. Martell has written numerous screenwriting books, The Secrets of Action Screenwriting is his diamond in the rough.
The book divides each chapter into a different technique. Providing tips on interesting villains, avoiding cliches and writing action.
Most of the information you can find online, but you will discover tips that you can add to your toolbox.