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List of best screenwriting books, in order

There are so many screenwriting books that’s easy to get lost (and not writing). Here’s a list of the books that will actually help you become a professional screenwriter.

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SCREENPLAY by Syd Field.

I find the simplicity of Syd Field’s Screenplay the best starting point. You will quickly get to understand the basics elements of a screenplay and you’ll be ready to put them in practice.

STORY by Robert Mckee.

If you’ve already read Screenplay, now you’re ready to step into Robert McKee’s Story. Probably the most comprehensive book about screenwriting.

As one of my mentors from Disney recommended it to me and said:“Read it, you’ll have your entire lifetime to understand it”.


If you’ve read the books above, you have a solid sense of how the structure works. It’s now time to focus on your character’s journey.

SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder (⚠️read at your own risk)

I added a warning sign next to the name because Save the Cat is a double-edged sword. If you read it as your first writing book, it can give you a false formulaic idea of how writers approach the craft. On the other hand, if you read it after the previous book, you’ll have a deep knowledge of the craft that allows you to benefit from its simplicity.

The Coffee Break Screenwriter by Pilar Alessandra

If you feel like you don’t have enough time to write, this book if for you. Pilar will guide you through the writing process of your entire feature film with small steps that you can take in as little as 10 minutes.

Also check out her great “On The Page” screenwriting podcast here:

ON WRITING by Stephen King.

On Writing will transport you into the head of one of the most prolific and successful writer of modern times. Regardless of if you love the horror genre or not, reading about Stephen King’s process, writing schedule and his actionable tips, will help you with your screenwriting career.

The ONE Thing

The One Thing is the non writing book that every screenwriter should read. This book changed my life, after reading it I realized how far away I was from making screenwriting my “ONE THING”. If you struggle to find time to write, or doubt you’ll ever make a living from screenwriting, this book is for you.

It also inspired our Write Every Day Challenge.