The Top 6 Screenwriting Books to Read Before You Write

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There are countless books that claim to have all the knowledge to turn you into the next Aaron Sorkin, but which ones are the best? Here’s your go-to guide on screenwriting books to pick up before you break out Final Draft.

 

1. The Hero Succeeds by Kam Miller

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One of the best screenwriting books on how to write a TV pilot that I’ve ever read. Kam Miller uses her extensive experience as a sought-after pilot writer and transforms it into a how-to guide to hit your TV pilot out of the park. Read it, sleep with it under your pillow—this book is your new best friend.

 

2. Screenplay by Syd Field

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A tried and true classic, decades of screenwriters have used Syd Field’s guide to hone their craft. From storyline to character to grabbing the reader from page one, this is la crème de la crème of screenwriting books to help you succeed in Hollywood.

 

3. The Coffee Break Screenwriter by Pilar Alessandra

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The name Pilar Alessandra may look familiar (see The Top 7 Podcasts for Screenwriters), and it’s because she has some of the best advice for aspiring screenwriters today. Take advantage of it! Pick up her book filled with tips and tricks on how to chip away at your screenplay (despite your busy schedule) ten minutes at a time.

 

4. Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder

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There is a good chance you’ve heard of this one, and for good reason. Blake Snyder jam-packs this book with the secrets on how to sell your script, and of course, save the cat. Not sure what that means? Not to worry: pick up this book and you’ll be talking and writing like a pro in no time. 

 

5. How to Write a Movie in 21 Days by Viki King

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Impossible? Not at all! Easy? Not so much. Let Viki King help you through a step-by-step process on how to get your floating ideas to a complete script as quickly as possible. A well-worth purchase if you’re a notorious procrastinator who’s stuck getting ready and needs a little push to start. 

 

6. Story by Robert McKee

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While masses of industry insiders have paid hundreds of dollars to attend his seminars, it is safe to say getting that knowledge for the cost of a few coffees is a total steal. From inspiring newcomers to sharpening major screenwriting careers, McKee has helped provide a comprehensive explanation of how to successfully write for the screen.

 

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About Carole
Director of WGA's Showrunner Training Program, creator & Director of the CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program, international speaker and a leading expert on entertainment career strategies, Carole Kirschner teaches creative professionals how to navigate the often mystifying landscape of show business. Her book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV and Digital Entertainment is a primer on how to break in and move up in the entertainment industry. Through her popular workshops, Carole teaches writers, producers, directors and executives the real world strategies that will help them not just succeed, but thrive.


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