The most recommended screenplay books

Who picked these books? Meet our 24 experts.

24 authors created a book list connected to screenplays, and here are their favorite screenplay books.
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Book cover of Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Christopher Andrews Author Of Paranormals

From my list on putting a different spin on a popular genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I absolutely love stories—books; TV shows; movies—that take a familiar topic, and either turn it on its ear or examine its full potential. For me, The Empire Strikes Back is one of the best sequels of all time because it did not just repeat what Star Wars did before it, but expanded upon it. As a reader, I seek this; as a writer, I emulate this. If a superhuman can produce kinetic shockwaves, what else might one do with this ability? If a vampire can turn into mist, what are the furthest implications of this supernatural skill? Don’t settle for a trope, explore it!

Christopher's book list on putting a different spin on a popular genre

Christopher Andrews Why did Christopher love this book?

I was floored by this fantastic thriller. Most “invisible man” stories cast the invisible character as the villain, but Memoirs flips the script, and the result is magnificent. The protagonist, Nick, is the victim of a scientific accident, and must go on the run from the corrupt government agents who want to capture him. The result demonstrates that Nick missed his true calling—he should have been a secret agent himself. Saint’s protagonist is clever and resourceful as he navigates through every attempt to trap him. And the best part of this different take on the genre: It leaves you asking yourself, “What would I do?” I’ve read it three times, and I spend the intervening years wondering how I would have survived in Nick's shoes. An absolute must-read.

By H.F. Saint,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memoirs of an Invisible Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a freak accident leaves stock analyst Nick Halloway completely invisible, he is pursued by intelligence agents, amasses a fortune, and battles against desperate loneliness


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 Billy, Me & You: A Memoir of Grief and Recovery

Danny Noble Author Of Shame Pudding: A Graphic Memoir

From my list on comics that let you sneak into someone else’s brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a funny little anxious kid, and still remember the relief of coming across friends who opened up and told their darkest thoughts and silliest moments. This is what I seek out in books and try to show in my own stories. To say...Look! We’re all deeply weird! You are not alone! Comics and graphic novels have such a unique and immediate way of whispering into your heart and it amazes me that so many people haven’t yet discovered what a wonderful art form they are. 

Danny's book list on comics that let you sneak into someone else’s brain

Danny Noble Why did Danny love this book?

When I was halfway through Billy, Me, and You, I got off the tube I was riding, cancelled my plans, and took the book to a pub to give it my full attention. That was the power it had. So submerged in its world I was unable to put it down. It's so beautifully written and big and painful, it held my hand in my own grief and somehow radiated such warmth and hope like a magic thing.

By Nicola Streeten,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Billy, Me & You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving, surprisingly funny, and inspiring graphic memoir by a woman who lost her two-year-old son after heart surgery, Billy, Me & You is a bracing and memorable account of recovery after bereavement. Nicola Streeten’s little boy, Billy, was two years old when he died following heart surgery for problems diagnosed only a few days earlier. Ten years later, Streeten revisited her diaries and notebooks made at the time: this wonderfully vibrant narrative recounts how she and her partner recovered. Gut-wrenchingly sad at times, her graphic memoir is an unforgettable portrayal of trauma and our reaction to it – and,…


Book cover of Strangers and Brothers

Robin Hawdon Author Of Number Ten

From my list on lone heroes and threats to national security.

Why am I passionate about this?

My writing is eclectic and covers many topics. However, all my books tend to have a thriller element to them. Perhaps it's my career as an actor and playwright which has instilled the need to create suspense in all my writings. I sometimes feel that distinguished authors can get so carried away with their literary descriptions and philosophical insights that they forget to keep the story going! It is the need to know what happens next that keeps the reader turning the pages. Perhaps in achieving that some subtlety has to be sacrificed, but, hey, you don't read a political thriller to study the philosophical problems of governing nations!

Robin's book list on lone heroes and threats to national security

Robin Hawdon Why did Robin love this book?

This is an almost forgotten series of books which had a huge impact back in the 1950s and 60s, depicting as they did in fictional form the inside story of politics, science, and academia in Britain at the time. Snow was himself a distinguished chemist and academic, who often acted as an advisor to the UK government. He used his experience and inside knowledge of the corridors of power (a phrase which he coined) to brilliant effect in his novels. Again, as with the previous authors I have mentioned, it is that detail that comes with direct experience of the subject matter, and the personalities involved, which renders the writing authentic and captivates the reader.

By C.P. Snow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Contains: The Masters, The New Men, Homecomings, and The Affair.


Book cover of No Other Life

B.L. Bruce Author Of The Weight of Snow: New & Selected Poems

From my list on contemporary nature poetry.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Bri Bruce, writing as B. L. Bruce, and am an award-winning poet and Pushcart prize nominee from California. Over the last decade and a half, my work has appeared in dozens of literary publications. I am the author of four books and Editor-in-Chief of nature-centric magazine Humana Obscura. I was raised with a wildlife biologist/avid gardener for a mother and a forestry major/backpacker/fisherman as a father. Both my parents instilled in me at a young age a love of nature. A lifetime spent outdoors inspires my work—so much so that I’ve been called a “poetic naturalist” and the “heiress of Mary Oliver.”

B.L.'s book list on contemporary nature poetry

B.L. Bruce Why did B.L. love this book?

No Other Life combines three of Gary Young’s books into one volume. There is such unique style and quiet beauty to Young’s work. I am truly inspired by it. He has a knack for capturing the extraordinary in the mundane in brief but deep prose poems that grip the soul. 

Young was one of my professors in college and was a driving force for why I pursued a creative writing degree and chose to continue to write after graduating. His work will always hold a special place in my nature-loving creative heart.

By Gary Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Other Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No Other Life gathers in a single volume two earlier books by Gary Young, Days and the award-winning Braver Deeds, with the final book in his trilogy, If He Had. Utilizing a radically brief prose poem that in its spare lucidity leaves after images burned into the readers imagination, Young weaves a pattern of compelling and often harrowing correspondences that Ethan Paquin described in Quarterly West as an exploration of thresholds, of levels of human endurance. Although every poem stands as an independent utterance, each book suggests a discrete poetic unit, and the entire trilogy can be read as a…


Book cover of Within These Walls of Sorrow

Jennifer L. Wright Author Of The Girl from the Papers

From Jennifer's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author History Nut Book Nerd Guinea Pig Mom Desert Dweller Story Collector

Jennifer's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jennifer L. Wright Why did Jennifer love this book?

Because of its subject matter, this book was extremely difficult to read, but the story was worth every second.

Barratt is a master at educating readers about the past while also putting human faces and emotions to events often regulated to the pages of textbooks. Transportive, moving, and skillfully written, Within These Walls of Sorrow is the most poignant account of the Holocaust—both the tragedy of collective evil and the triumph of individual good—I have ever read. 

By Amanda Barratt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Within These Walls of Sorrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Let the Old Dreams Die: Stories

Raymond Walker Author Of Moonchild and Other Tales

From my list on short stories told on a dark and stormy night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was brought up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by standing stones, crypts, and burial mounds of races turned to dust. I started sending sci-fi tales to mags like Uncanny Tales, New Worlds, Astounding Tales, Amazing Stories when I was thirteen, but none were accepted. I left the wilderness for the city, Edinburgh, the “Athens of the North” when fifteen and entered university. All I yearned to do after that was go home. I never did. A little more experience of life behind me, I was first published in Peoples Own and in the same year in New Worlds and then it worked well for me for a while. 

Raymond's book list on short stories told on a dark and stormy night

Raymond Walker Why did Raymond love this book?

Mr. Lindqvist is a Swedish author that came to worldwide notice with his novel Let the Right One In and has written many great novels since then. He is not normally a short story author, nor does he particularly enjoy reading short tales, so this is a strange choice for me but Let the Old Dreams Die is so dreadfully different from other recent horror writers that I felt I had to include it here. To date, it is the only book of short tales that Mr. Lindqvist has written. There is a zombie tale (and how many of them have appeared over the years) but should zombies have citizenship? How should the health service care for them? Is it really their fault that they wish to eat people? Can we happily live together?

There is little that has not been covered before in Mr. Lindqvist’s tales but every story…

By John Ajvide Lindqvist, Ebba Segerberg (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let the Old Dreams Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic short story collection from the writer called Sweden's Stephen King that continues the breathtaking story begun in the internationally acclaimed classic Let the Right One In

Because of the two superb films made of John Ajvide Lindqvist's vampire masterpiece Let the Right One In, millions of people around the world know the story of Oskar and Eli and of their final escape from Blackeberg at the end of the novel. Now at last, in "Let the Old Dreams Die," the title story in this absolutely stunning collection, we get a glimpse of what happened next to the pair.…


Book cover of The Runaway Jury

John L. DeBoer Author Of The Girl from Belgrade

From my list on thrillers that don’t skimp on character development.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a retired surgeon and have no expertise in espionage, law enforcement, or the legal system. But I enjoy thriller novels that feature these things, and I follow the adage, “Write what you like to read.” But I do have medical/surgical expertise and have followed another adage: “Write what you know,” so I have inserted medical situations into many of my stories and one of my published books is a medical thriller. What I like about thrillers is the ability to show each side of the conflict. The good guys against the bad guys, neither side knowing what the other is doing. But the reader knows, and this adds to the suspense.

John's book list on thrillers that don’t skimp on character development

John L. DeBoer Why did John love this book?

I’ve enjoyed most of Grisham’s novels, but I’m picking this legal thriller (as are most of his books) because of the fascinating plot. It’s a David vs. Goliath story, in which the underdogs are seeking righteous justice from a huge corporation by using the legal court system. The planning involved to make it happen and the attempts by the opposition to destroy the effort gives an inside-baseball look at how multi-million dollar lawsuits are put together. The book also made a great movie!

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ever wonder what happens in the jury room, a place where the lawyer's aren't heard and the judge is not welcome? Who controls a jury when the door is locked and the deliberations begin? John Grisham returns to the legal world and weaves another gripping tale of intrigue and power play. With a combination of taul suspense and high drama this novel will once again show John Grisham as the master storyteller of our generation.


Book cover of Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew

Mark David Gerson Author Of Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

From my list on unlikely books to help you through creative blocks.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ask successful authors how they started writing, and many will tell you that they always wanted to write. Not me! In fact, through most of my first 35 years, I resisted engaging with anything even remotely creative. I wouldn’t have called it “writer’s block” back then because, having no conscious desire to be a writer, how I could I be blocked? Yet writer’s block is what it was. That I was ultimately able to recognize it as such and get past it has given me a unique perspective on others’ writing challenges, as well as the skill and compassion to help them free up their innate creative potential.

Mark's book list on unlikely books to help you through creative blocks

Mark David Gerson Why did Mark love this book?

As with Madeleine L’Engle, everything I’ve read by Ursula K. Le Guin—fiction as well as nonfiction—has radically influenced my writing and my teaching of writing. In fact, her impact on my creative awakening was so profound that I sent her a copy of my first book as a thank you! Steering the Craft is filled with wisdom and exercises for both new and seasoned writers, but perhaps the most liberating for blocked writers is her controversial view that “story” is defined by “change” not “conflict.” That’s especially welcoming for writers who feel hemmed in (and, perhaps, blocked) by the traditional definition.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ursula K. Le Guin generously shares the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime's work.


Book cover of This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland

Laura Galloway Author Of Dalvi: Six Years in the Arctic Tundra

From my list on life changing books on life in the Arctic (and other cold climates!).

Why am I passionate about this?

Why I chose to write about cold climates: I spent nearly seven years living in the North of Norway in the Sámi reindeer herding village called Guovdageaidnu, or Kautokeino in Norwegian. I cherish my time in that part of the world. 

Laura's book list on life changing books on life in the Arctic (and other cold climates!)

Laura Galloway Why did Laura love this book?

I had never been to Greenland when I first read Gretal Erlich’s book, and I knew very little about this mysterious continent. What I loved most about Erlich’s writing is that she really takes readers on a journey, introducing us to the people she meets in her travels, which are as fascinating as her singular way of describing the landscape, which is like no other place on earth.

Many years later, I travelled to Greenland and appreciated the accuracy of her descriptions firsthand. 

By Gretel Ehrlich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For the last decade, Gretel Ehrlich has been obsessed by an island, a terrain, a culture, and the treacherous beauty of a world that is defined by ice. In This Cold Heaven she combines the story of her travels with history and cultural anthropology to reveal a Greenland that few of us could otherwise imagine.

Ehrlich unlocks the secrets of this severe land and those who live there; a hardy people who still travel by dogsled and kayak and prefer the mystical four months a year of endless darkness to the gentler summers without night. She discovers the twenty-three words…