The best screenplay books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about screenplays and why they recommend each book.

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Deaf Sentence

By David Lodge,

Book cover of Deaf Sentence

Desmond, a retired teacher, is embarrassed by increasing deafness which he tries to hide. Hearing loss is a constant source of domestic friction with his busy wife and of social malaise, leading Desmond into mistakes and follies, and to find himself in incongruous situations. Comes Alex, a student whom Desmond has agreed to help after a misunderstanding at a party… Despite sensitive topics (deafness, confrontation with death), Deaf Sentence manages to be deeply entertaining with a lame love story and a disillusioned portrait of contemporary society. I recommend it to everyone, because we all feel overwhelmed from time to time. 

Who am I?

I am a french writer, I like to write satires and tongue-in-cheek books about society. Work, children, France, social classes... When you find the right angle almost everything can be funny. With my writing I want to entertain, but give the reader something to think about. I hope this list will make you laugh as much I did. 

I wrote...

The Conquest of the Red Man

By Corinne Maier,

Book cover of The Conquest of the Red Man

What is my book about?

It is a satirical political tale about social classes and about the French obsession with food. My leading character, Corinne Zed, a French bourgeois snob, decides one day to add piquant to her life—rich people are so boring. Nothing could be more exciting than trying to seduce Marco, a leftist who, in a previous life, planted bombs. Not easy to change political tack: Corinne loves pleasures of the palate and why starting a revolution precisely when it is time to drink champagne or eat in a new restaurant (preferably referenced in Michelin)? With the help of her best friend, a trendy and decadent gallery owner, she chases Marco in a mock-heroic adventure. 

No Other Life

By Gary Young,

Book cover of No Other Life

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.

Who am I?

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.”

I wrote...

The Weight of Snow: New & Selected Poems

By B.L. Bruce,

Book cover of The Weight of Snow: New & Selected Poems

What is my book about?

In The Weight of Snow, author B. L. Bruce explores the many plights of the human species, from the mysteries of the heart and the inescapability of death to the depths of human emotion. Told from the perspective of a poetic naturalist, Bruce shares her appreciation of the wild, illuminating the profound in the mundane while chronicling the natural world as both an observer and as an irrefutable part of it. Her poems focus strongly on image and locality, conjuring the imaginations of readers and celebrating the beauty in the follies of the human condition and its capacity to grip the soul.

Steering the Craft

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

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

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.

Who am I?

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.

I wrote...

Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

By Mark David Gerson,

Book cover of Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

What is my book about?

You don’t have to experience writer’s block. Ever. You don’t have to sweat over the blank page. You don’t have to chew your pencil (or fingernails) to the nub. You don’t have to wonder where your next word is coming from. With Writer’s Block Unblocked, you’ll never feel stuck again.

Learn how to free your words onto the page more easily than you ever imagined possible! Experience the secret to effortless creative flow that no other book talks about! Banish all stuckness and hesitation! It doesn't matter what you write or how long you've been writing: Writer's Block Unblocked will get you started and keep you going—from first word to final draft. 

Tenth of December

By George Saunders,

Book cover of Tenth of December: Stories

Tenth of December is a collection of brilliant, deeply touching, and often hilarious short stories by the greatest of modern American short story writers, George Saunders. He’s part Mark Twain, part Kurt Vonnegut, with an incredible knack for creating characters so real and pathetic that you will swear you have met them…maybe at Walmart. Don’t miss it.

Who am I?

I have been a voracious reader since I was a kid, and I am always in the process of reading several books simultaneously. Books, whether I’m writing or reading them, are a huge part of my world.

I wrote...

Chicken Big

By Keith Graves,

Book cover of Chicken Big

What is my book about?

On a teeny little farm, in an itty bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big humongous egg! So begins the hilarious story of an enormous chicken with identity issues. The clueless flock tries to guess what he is. He’s big. Is he an elephant? He eats acorns. Is he a squirrel? He protects them from the rain. Does that mean he’s an umbrella?

In the end, they find it’s what’s on the inside that makes the big guy a chicken.

Billy, Me & You

By Nicola Streeten,

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

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.

Who am I?

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. 

I wrote...

Shame Pudding: A Graphic Memoir

By Danny Noble,

Book cover of Shame Pudding: A Graphic Memoir

What is my book about?

Danny Noble grew up in an eccentric family with two weird and wonderful Jewish grandmas living right around the corner. One grandma stuffed her full of love and gefilte fish, and the other pinched her cheeks shrieking "shayn punim!" The strange words hung in the air, sounding like "shame pudding." Was this some sort of insult? It was never explained that those words meant "beautiful face" in Yiddish.

This memoir, told in graphic novel format, is a personal celebration of the author's charming and vibrant family and how they saved her from the machinations of her own brain. Full of food, picket lines, and rock and roll, Danny Noble's expressive style brings this delightful cast of characters to life.

Hold Back the Night

By Axel Blackwell,

Book cover of Hold Back the Night: A Detective McDaniel Thriller

The author’s work with Dawn Lee McKenna might be more fighting for this list (check out The Stillwaters Suspense Series) but I absolutely love this series because the main characters are fun to follow along with. They are so multi-dimensional, and the dialogue is outstanding. I could read chapter after chapter of them chatting about nothing, and still enjoy it. The action is well-written and not hokey, which I love. The twists and turns will leave you wanting more, and I cannot wait to read more from Axel in the future. You should, too! 

Who am I?

I am such a huge fan of Thrillers. Always have been, since I started reading Dean Koontz at 12. The Tropical Authors listed are some of my favorites, but they are a stepping stone to other great authors who write unique thrillers as well. I hope you’ll check them out, and let me know if you find a new favorite. I also love suggestions as well. (Of other authors, please don’t be tacky and suggest your own book!) 

I wrote...

Shake Down (First Coast Thriller Series Book 1)

By Armand Rosamilia,

Book cover of Shake Down (First Coast Thriller Series Book 1)

What is my book about?

Ex-cop Clayton Conway has made some mistakes. He's trying to work hard with a repo company, hooking cars and boats. Raise his daughter and stay friendly with his ex-wife. Make enough money to pay the rent on his tiny apartment over a bar in Jacksonville Beach. But when one of the Orenato Cartel's speedboats gets repossessed, they come looking for it. Putting Clayton, his family, and friends, in danger.

Can he protect them, or will the cartel get what they came for? And will his own weaknesses get the best of him... again?

This book is currently available for pre-order.

Yours Truly, Thomas

By Rachel Fordham,

Book cover of Yours Truly, Thomas

There’s nothing like the antics of a pet to bring a lady and a gentleman together. A beloved dog with the improbable name of Honeysuckle does just that in this charming novel. A letter that ended up at the Dead Letter Office leads Honey’s pretty owner to a small town in Iowa to find the man who writes words she can’t forget. You’ll find yourself remembering them too.

Who am I?

As the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance, I love seeking out stories that will make me smile. I’m a firm believer in happy endings, in the books I write, and the books I read. I’m also a bit obsessed with history, having driven a carriage four-in-hand, learned to fence, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research.

I wrote...

Never Doubt a Duke

By Regina Scott,

Book cover of Never Doubt a Duke

What is my book about?

When the mysterious owner of the Fortune Employment Agency and her cat arrange for the irrepressible Jane Kimball to take the governess’ position with the Duke of Wey, everyone has doubts. Alaric, Duke of Wey, may command his staff, his tenants, and the halls of Parliament, but he can’t manage his own daughters. As an old danger rears its head, he comes to rely on Jane’s practical nature to navigate the waters of fatherhood. And when necessity dictates he take a wife, thoughts turn to an unlikely governess who might make the perfect bride.

War for the Oaks

By Emma Bull, Will Shetterly,

Book cover of War for the Oaks: The Screenplay

This is an old one and to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s still in print, but if you are able to hunt a copy down, give it a read. It is one of the very first contemporary urban fantasies written featuring a YA protagonist. A precursor to more recent works by Holly Black among other writers, the novel takes the fae out of the fae world and brings them to the chipped pavements of a contemporary city to wreak havoc as they will. The story is fun and the fae mythology intriguing.

Who am I?

Many kids love fairy tales and so did I but I was always puzzled by the lack of fairies in these tales. The idea of a separate world containing these beautiful but flawed creatures enthralled me from an early age. I read everything about them so that I could get my hands on, whether the book was fiction or nonfiction. When doing my Master's in Children’s Literature, I studied fae tales that appear around the world which evoked a thirst in me to write my own…so I did. All the books on this list give a glimpse of the chaotic nature of the fae, of the world that surely exists beyond our comprehension. I hope they are as much a treat for your imagination as they were mine.

I wrote...

Road of the Lost

By Nafiza Azad,

Book cover of Road of the Lost

What is my book about?

Croi is a brownie, glamoured to be invisible to humans. Her life in the Wilde Forest is ordinary and her magic is weak—until the day that her guardian gives Croi a book about magick from the Otherworld, the world of the Higher Fae. Croi wakes the next morning with something pulling at her core, summoning her to the Otherworld. It’s a spell she cannot control or break.

Forced to leave her home, Croi begins a journey full of surprises…and dangers. For Croi is not a brownie at all but another creature entirely, enchanted to forget her true heritage. As Croi ventures beyond the forest, her brownie glamour begins to shift and change. Who is she really, who is summoning her, and what do they want? 

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

By Jessica Brody,

Book cover of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You'll Ever Need

This book teaches the secrets of storytelling and story structure from a popular screenplay perspective. When I start a new novel, this is the first book I reach for every time. It teaches how to keep your story engaging to readers and how to best structure the overall plot so your story flows beautifully throughout and ends with satisfaction.

Who am I?

I have been a published indie author since 2011, and I enjoy reading and studying the craft to make my work the best it can be. I have a passion for indie authors and indie publishing, and I love the flexibility this type of authorship gives me while I homeschool my two young boys, run a non-profit organization, and volunteer at my church.

I wrote...

Deep Blue Sea

By Valerie Howard, Alex McGilvery,

Book cover of Deep Blue Sea

What is my book about?

Jamie Walker has a secret. And she'll do anything to keep it that way. Her missing cousin's cold case has been reopened at the worst time. And by the worst person: a hotshot detective from New York striving to close his 100th case. As the detective gets closer and closer to uncovering the truth of what happened all those years ago, Jamie will go to any lengths to make sure this dusty mystery is one he'll never solve.

Plagued by her guilty conscience, Jamie searches for forgiveness, finding an unlikely ally in a pastor she interviews for her magazine's monthly cover article. Will Pastor Byron Mitchell let Jamie in on the key to lifelong peace before her dark past drags her to drown in the depths of despair?

Last One at the Party

By Bethany Clift,

Book cover of Last One at the Party

TCE here is a virus that leaves just one woman alive. I found this quite irritating at first because the law of averages would say there HAD to be at least a handful of other survivors. The story features a woman who would take to her bed for the day if she broke a fingernail. I enjoyed seeing a female character in this role although she has a tendency to be a bit wet. She spends the first few weeks post-TCE breaking into nightclubs, drug dens, and museums and getting smashed. Set in London, it’s a great travelogue for this brilliant city.  I started to warm towards her when she finally pulls herself together and we watch as she learns the skills needed to survive. 

Who am I?

I love writing historical fiction. I enjoy the research and creating long-lost worlds filled with little-known historical accuracies that intrigue my readers. It is no surprise then that I enjoy reading about the future - the other side of the coin. I always find it interesting to see how writers create a post-apocalyptic society. What was the catastrophic event? (TCE) What caused it and how do the different characters react to adversity when their old world is taken away from them? Inevitably they have to survive in the new system but will they have learned their lesson or will they return to their old ways?  

I wrote...

The Candlelit Menagerie

By Caraline Brown,

Book cover of The Candlelit Menagerie

What is my book about?

For fans of The Greatest Showman and Water for Elephants, The Candlelit Menagerie grabs hold and pulls readers into the dim halls of the exotic animal emporiums of London, over two centuries ago.  

Set in late eighteenth-century London, this haunting debut novel features Lillian, a freakishly tall woman who struggles to fit into society. Each morning, she wakes in her tiny maid's room in a too-small bed to the sound of a lion roaring nearby on the Strand. When she investigates she discovers an exotic animal emporium. At first, Lillian is repulsed by the stench and squalor, but there, in the menagerie, Lillian finds her natural home befriending wild animals brought from around the world, stolen from their habitats, misfits like her. But when her unborn baby dies in an accident, the solution is set to upend the order of even Lillian's unusual existence.

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