100 books like Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays

By Lucy V. Hay,

Here are 100 books that Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays fans have personally recommended if you like Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Writing for Television: Series, Serials and Soaps

Julian Friedmann Author Of Creative Strategies

From my list on for elevating your screenwriting career.

Why am I passionate about this?

Julian Friedmann is co-owner of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency and was the publisher of ScriptWriter magazine. At the agency, he has represented both book and scriptwriters for over 40 years and also acts as Executive Producer for and with clients. Julian is a TEDx speaker and is the author of the Make Money Screenwriting series, co-author of The Insider’s Guide to Writing for Television, and editor of two volumes on Writing Long-Running Television series. He has taught at universities and film schools all over the world. He designed the MA in Television Scriptwriting at De Montfort University, and PILOTS (for developing long-running television series) for the EU MEDIA Programme. 

Julian's book list on for elevating your screenwriting career

Julian Friedmann Why did Julian love this book?

There are numerous books on writing for TV but Yvonne’s book is eminently practical covering the basics and also the more complex and nuanced aspects like the relationship between writers and script editors. Given the importance of the streamers writing for TV is more important than ever.

By Yvonne Grace,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing for Television as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A no-nonsense, direct down-the-lens look at the television industry written from the point of view of a television drama producer who's been there, done it, fought some battles and won the odd award. Written in an engaging, anecdotal tone, Writing for Television provides advice on:

Getting an agent

The type of writer television's looking for The tool kit a television writer needs The writer /script editor relationship How to structure a storyline How to write good treatments and outlines

Packed full of useful insights, links and information, the book includes interviews with successful television writers working today, pointers on how…


Book cover of The Science of Writing Characters: Using Psychology to Create Compelling Fictional Characters

Julian Friedmann Author Of Creative Strategies

From my list on for elevating your screenwriting career.

Why am I passionate about this?

Julian Friedmann is co-owner of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency and was the publisher of ScriptWriter magazine. At the agency, he has represented both book and scriptwriters for over 40 years and also acts as Executive Producer for and with clients. Julian is a TEDx speaker and is the author of the Make Money Screenwriting series, co-author of The Insider’s Guide to Writing for Television, and editor of two volumes on Writing Long-Running Television series. He has taught at universities and film schools all over the world. He designed the MA in Television Scriptwriting at De Montfort University, and PILOTS (for developing long-running television series) for the EU MEDIA Programme. 

Julian's book list on for elevating your screenwriting career

Julian Friedmann Why did Julian love this book?

A wonderful book that looks at the psychological bases for the development of sophisticated characters in screenplays. Don’t be afraid of writing complex characters: they are more effective in engaging the audience and this book will help you achieve that.

By Kira-Anne Pelican,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Science of Writing Characters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Science of Writing Characters is a comprehensive handbook to help writers create compelling and psychologically-credible characters that come to life on the page. Drawing on the latest psychological theory and research, ranging from personality theory to evolutionary science, the book equips screenwriters and novelists with all the techniques they need to build complex, dimensional characters from the bottom up. Writers learn how to create rounded characters using the 'Big Five' dimensions of personality and then are shown how these personality traits shape action, relationships and dialogue.

Throughout The Science of Writing Characters, psychological theories and research are translated into…


Book cover of Writing Screenplays That Sell, The Complete Guide to Turning Story Concepts into Movie and Television Deals

Julian Friedmann Author Of Creative Strategies

From my list on for elevating your screenwriting career.

Why am I passionate about this?

Julian Friedmann is co-owner of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency and was the publisher of ScriptWriter magazine. At the agency, he has represented both book and scriptwriters for over 40 years and also acts as Executive Producer for and with clients. Julian is a TEDx speaker and is the author of the Make Money Screenwriting series, co-author of The Insider’s Guide to Writing for Television, and editor of two volumes on Writing Long-Running Television series. He has taught at universities and film schools all over the world. He designed the MA in Television Scriptwriting at De Montfort University, and PILOTS (for developing long-running television series) for the EU MEDIA Programme. 

Julian's book list on for elevating your screenwriting career

Julian Friedmann Why did Julian love this book?

No-nonsense book about what makes a good script. Writers find it particularly difficult avoiding flashbacks and voice-overs, and can’t always find ways of showing rather than telling. Michael demonstrates how to build the obstacles so your sympathetic character has increasing problems battling against the odds before they finally achieve their goal.

By Michael Hauge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing Screenplays That Sell, The Complete Guide to Turning Story Concepts into Movie and Television Deals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story.” —Will Smith

“Michael Hauge is a story master, and this book is an absolute must have for anyone serious about telling great stories for the screen.” —DeVon Franklin, Vice-President of Production, Columbia Pictures

Concise, authoritative, and comprehensive, Writing Screenplays that Sell is the most complete guide available on the art, craft, and business of screenwriting for movies and television. Renowned Hollywood story consultant Michael Hauge—considered “one of the most sought after lecturers and script consultants in the U.S.” by Scriptwriter magazine—covers…


Book cover of Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice

Müge Akkar Ercan Author Of Regeneration, Heritage and Sustainable Communities in Turkey: Challenges, Complexities and Potentials

From my list on critical urbanism and building sustainable communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a researcher and professor of Planning and Urban Design at Middle East Technical University, Ankara (Turkiye). I am interested in how we can develop sustainable communities in urban and rural areas, modern and historical areas, and create a much more just world for all living beings. This question has become increasingly important for our life as uncertainties arise. New paradigms appear daily with climate change, wars, energy crises, pandemics, migrations, safety and security, growing diversity, and socio-spatial inequalities. I chose these books because they helped me think of new ways to achieve a sustainable and just world for all living beings. 

Müge's book list on critical urbanism and building sustainable communities

Müge Akkar Ercan Why did Müge love this book?

This is another favourite book of mine because it rigorously shows communities' environmental inequalities. Agyeman identifies the critical problems of local communities regarding environmental inequalities by reviewing a series of small cases and one larger case in the US.

I like Agyeman’s reviews of these cases because they allow readers to draw valuable lessons and inspire ideas for re-interpreting environmental injustices in different localities. I also like the methodology of the book, which can be used in different localities as an approach to measuring environmental justice.

By defining performance, outcome, and accountability indicators, Agyeman helps us to measure progress toward sustainability.

By Julian Agyeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Argues that environmental justice and the sustainable communities movement are compatible
Popularized in the movies Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action, "environmental justice" refers to any local response to a threat against community health. In this book, Julian Agyeman argues that environmental justice and the sustainable communities movement are compatible in practical ways. Yet sustainability, which focuses on meeting our needs today while not compromising the ability of our successors to meet their needs, has not always partnered with the challenges of environmental justice.
Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice explores the ideological differences between these two groups…


Book cover of Screenwriting 101

Marshall Dotson Author Of Actions and Goals: The Story Structure Secret

From my list on story structure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a student of story structure for decades. As a novelist, this initially started as a means to learn as much as I could from those with more experience than myself, but quickly grew into a passion. I read everything on the subject I could get my hands on and eventually began analyzing the plots of novels and movies for myself, amalgamating what I had learned with my own theories and insights which coalesced into a wholly new structural paradigm. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented screenwriters and novelists to help them shape their stories using Six Act Structure. 

Marshall's book list on story structure

Marshall Dotson Why did Marshall love this book?

Most of the books on this list aren’t strictly about story structure but instead combine unique storytelling insights with innovative structural concepts. Topping the list in that regard is Film Crit Hulk’s Screenwriting 101. Equal parts writing guide and manifesto against overused storytelling techniques like 3-Act Structure and the Hero's Journey, his emotional approach to structuring stories is perhaps the most thought-provoking I’ve encountered. Unfortunately, the book is currently out-of-print, though I have heard that Hulk (a pseudonym, obviously) intends to release a second edition in the future. Fingers crossed.

This is currently out of print, but a new edition is expected soon.

By Film Crit Hulk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Screenwriting 101 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of My Story Can Beat Up Your Story: Ten Ways to Toughen Up Your Screenplay from Opening Hook to Knockout Punch

Marshall Dotson Author Of Actions and Goals: The Story Structure Secret

From my list on story structure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a student of story structure for decades. As a novelist, this initially started as a means to learn as much as I could from those with more experience than myself, but quickly grew into a passion. I read everything on the subject I could get my hands on and eventually began analyzing the plots of novels and movies for myself, amalgamating what I had learned with my own theories and insights which coalesced into a wholly new structural paradigm. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented screenwriters and novelists to help them shape their stories using Six Act Structure. 

Marshall's book list on story structure

Marshall Dotson Why did Marshall love this book?

Schechter divides the traditional 3-act structure into four parts; Act 1, Act 2A, Act 2B, and Act 3. While that’s not revolutionary in itself, he uses this four-part breakdown to structure multiple story elements like theme and motivation. My favorite element is his breakdown of the character’s story evolution into four archetypes: Orphan, Wanderer, Warrior, and Martyr. Seeing how these archetypes can be metaphorical such as Jason Bourne being “orphaned” from his previous life at the beginning of The Bourne Identity, or literal, such as Rose martyring herself by returning to the sinking Titanic to rescue Jack, is worth the price of admission alone.

By Jeffrey Alan Schechter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Story Can Beat Up Your Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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?”


Book cover of Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting

Graham Rawle Author Of Woman's World: A Novel

From my list on storytelling and what makes great stories great.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an artist, designer, writer. I usually work in collage. I enjoy how the constraints of collage generate more inventive thinking, forcing me to come up with unexpected solutions. I also like how the found material retains traces of its original context. I’ve always been interested in the interplay between words and images – for 15 years I did the weekly Lost Consonants series in the Weekend Guardian – and that gradually led me to writing fiction. All my books have visual or structural elements designed to bring an additional narrative dimension to the story. Over the years, I’ve become fascinated by what makes great stories great. Hence this list.

Graham's book list on storytelling and what makes great stories great

Graham Rawle Why did Graham love this book?

Syd Field is revered as the original master of screenplay story structure, and this guide continues to be the industry's gold standard for learning the foundations of screenwriting. Even if you’re not writing a screenplay, read this book.

I have learned over the years that the principles of three-act structure can be recognised in, or applied to, almost every form of storytelling, whether you are making a film; telling a joke; designing a firework display; writing a novel, a play, a song; performing a magic act or making a speech. No one explains 3-act structure more clearly than Syd Field. He doesn’t offer it as a failsafe formula, but I have found his paradigm invaluable as both a writer and a teacher, especially for identifying narrative flaws in a story that is not working. (Usually mine).

By Syd Field,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Screenplay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hollywood's script guru teaches you how to write a screenplay in "the 'bible' of screenwriting" (The New York Times)—now celebrating forty years of screenwriting success!

Syd Field's books on the essential structure of emotionally satisfying screenplays have ignited lucrative careers in film and television since 1979. In this revised edition of his premiere guide, the underpinnings of successful onscreen narratives are revealed in clear and encouraging language that will remain wise and practical as long as audiences watch stories unfold visually—from hand-held devices to IMAX to virtual reality . . . and whatever comes next.

As the first person to…


Book cover of Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

Robert Whitlow Author Of Relative Justice

From my list on for aspiring novelists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lawyer. One thing effective trial attorneys learn to do is become “pretend experts” in any area necessary for a case. It might be orthopedic medicine, commercial building design, auto accident reconstruction, or a thousand other subjects. In 1996, when I started writing my first novel, The List, I decided to become a “pretend expert” in the field of story-telling. Twenty books later, I’ve worked hard to make the transition to actual expert, someone who’s studied the craft of writing so I can create a story with professionalism and skill. These books aren’t the only ones I’ve read on this topic, but they’re some of the best.

Robert's book list on for aspiring novelists

Robert Whitlow Why did Robert love this book?

This book will keep a writer from chasing his or her own tail. The last thing a novelist wants a reader to do is start skimming. Instead of getting bogged down in muddy story development, learn how to create a clear, engaging arc for both plot and characters. Filled with practical examples gleaned from film and bookshelf, this book can save your story and make it pop.   

By Blake Snyder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here’s what started the phenomenon: the best seller, for over 15 years, that’s been used by screenwriters around the world! Blake Snyder tells all in this fast, funny and candid look inside the movie business. “Save the Cat” is just one of many ironclad rules for making your ideas more marketable and your script more satisfying, including: The four elements of every winning logline The seven immutable laws of screenplay physics The 10 genres that every movie ever made can be categorized by ― and why they’re important to your script Why your Hero must serve your Idea Mastering the…


Book cover of Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for Page, Stage, and Screen

William Noble Author Of Shut Up! He Explained: A Writer's Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue

From my list on writing provocative, dramatic dialogue.

Why am I passionate about this?

Words have been part of my life since I was ten years old when my father suggested I read a page from the dictionary each school night. “Words have lives and histories,” he said, ”make them your friends.” In my teens, I saw individual words setting the tone for how someone felt, and I promised myself one day I'd write a book about words and how they were a window to one's inner self. Little did I realize that when I wrote that book, it would morph into one about dialogue writing and achieve international kudos. The book offers this simple truth: make sure each line of dialogue moves your story forward...

William's book list on writing provocative, dramatic dialogue

William Noble Why did William love this book?

This author is a renowned Master Teacher of storytelling art whose students have won numerous writing awards across the media spectrum. He covers dialogue writing for live theater, film, and television and offers suggestions on building effective dialogue writing skills, no matter the media, even showing how a dialogue line might change depending upon the writing category. He provides easy-to-follow examples of both good and bad dialogue writing in the various media categories.

By Robert McKee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dialogue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The long-awaited follow-up to the perennially bestselling writers' guide Story, from the most sought-after expert in the art of storytelling.
Robert McKee's popular writing workshops have earned him an international reputation. The list of alumni with Oscars runs off the page. The cornerstone of his program is his singular book, Story, which has defined how we talk about the art of story creation.

Now, in Dialogue, McKee offers the same in-depth analysis for how characters speak on the screen, on the stage, and on the page in believable and engaging ways. From Macbeth to Breaking Bad, McKee deconstructs key scenes…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in screenwriting, drama, and changelings?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about screenwriting, drama, and changelings.

Screenwriting Explore 26 books about screenwriting
Drama Explore 75 books about drama
Changelings Explore 18 books about changelings