Screenwriting : My List of Best Books on Fiction Writing by Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell

My List of Best Books on Fiction Writing

I often recommend books about fiction writing to my clients and readers. Very briefly, the three fiction writing books I recommend most are:

1) The Art of Fiction by Ayn Rand. Rand’s book is the best because it so well shows you HOW TO create a story from the writer’s point of view. I believe that her chapter on Plot-Theme (central conflict) is the single most helpful piece of advice about writing fiction.

2) Screenplay by Syd Field. Covers many of the key basics of screenplay writing: Form, plot points, sequences, turning points, and scenes.

3) Making a Good Script Great by Linda Seger. Helpful discussions about screenplay structure, motivation, character spine, and conflict.

Also consider reading The Art of Dramatic Writing (esp. the chapter on Premise) by Lajos Egri and Save the Cat (esp. about loglines) by Blake Snyder.


I am a script consultant/developer.

Joanna AY Joseph

Thank you for that Scott McConnell ! I can certainly recommend the last two too (Egri's & Snyder's). I still go back to Egri whenever I'm stuck ;-) I'll check out the others. I would also recommend Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories that Resonate, by Brian Mcdonald - an accessible fun read :-)

Ewan Dunbar

For a great book about storytelling in general, I'd always recommend Joseph Campbell's The Hero of a Thousand Faces.

Joanna AY Joseph

Ewan Dunbar That is indeed THE book :-)

Christian Nommay

Writing Drama by Yves Lavandier is also a must-have. It's a treatise that explores the mechanisms of dramatic storytelling, and it can apply to anything from comics, to theatre, TV, and movies.

Joanna AY Joseph

Thank you Christian Nommay! Adding to my list.

Dan MaxXx

in film school, we were assigned to read Watchmen, the comic novel. Our geeky Instructor believed that is the greatest novel of the 20th century, and the comic was a great template on learning how to write for the screen.

Elisabeth Meier

Thanks for this although I think reading, reading and reading the genre you want to write is a great school too.

Doug Nelson

One of the best books on the topic is Fiction Writing Demystified by Tom Sawyer. Tom was the Writer/Producer & Showrunner of the tv series Murder, She Wrote along with The Law & Harry McGraw series. It's written in a direct easy to read style. If you learn half of what's in there, your writing will be twice as good.

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