The books below are all reference resources you should find helpful, but bear in mind that there's no such thing as a definitive work in this arena. Robert McKee's book, for instance, is pretty much accepted as the industry standard on screenplay structure, but many people find the style a little too grand for its own good, coming as it does from a man who has never in his life written a successful screenplay. Moreover, it advocates a standardised structure, a recipe for formulaic movie-writing. It's useful for grasping the terminology – most executives will have read it, or at least have had someone read it for them – so it's as well to be aware of it. It contains oodles of helpful insights, but I'm not convinced it's a terrific aid to creativity. Don't take it, or any of the other books, as gospel. They're aids. That's all.




The Seven Basic Plots

Christopher Booker


7 basic plots

This is a link to the actual Google book itself. Free. Donʼt say I never give you anything.


Robert McKee



The de facto industry standard guide to screenwriting.

The 8 Characters of Comedy

Scott Sedita


8 characters of comedy

Interesting analysis of characters from a SitCom perspective.





Syd Field



This is one of the best starter books for would-be script writers. Try and overlook the name-dropping.

Adventures in the Screen Trade

William Goldman


Adventures in the Screen Trade

Fun and often startling exposé about working in the movie Industry. A must-read for anyone thinking about becoming a professional scriptwriter

Three Uses of the Knife

David Mamet


Three Uses of the Knife

Invaluable insights from the master.




Stein on Writing

Sol Stein


Stein on Writing

Solid theory from a master editor.

Save the Cat

Blake Snyder


Save The Cat

Rather obnoxiously opinionated, crassly commercially-driven author, but some important tips on helping your characters engage your audience.