Read any good books recently?
Ask anyone what the best book on screenwriting is and you’ll get a multitude of different answers. Because everyone is different and writes in a different way. Hence, different writers share their approaches to writing in different ways.
Reading a book on screenwriting will not make you a successful writer. Reading 100 books on writing won’t either but, as part of your arsenal of tools, they are indispensable in the process to becoming a better writer.
The books in the image above are my books. I’ve read the usual, Field, McKee, Goldman, Vogler as well as the ubiquitous Snyder and have found them all useful. However, I don’t subscribe to any one of them as the ONLY way to write. And this is the trick with text books on writing (and any writing “rules”). Read them, by all means, but remember they are another writer’s take on the art of writing. Use them to inform your process and develop it, but use what you find works for you, rather than what someone else tells you should work.
Just don’t read one book and stop there. If you do, you may well blind yourself to the variety of ways in which you, and others, can write. There is no “one way” to write (something I am sure we will come back to as this blog develops) so don’t limit yourself!
Having said all that, if you can only ever afford to buy one book on screenwriting, one of the first I read, and one that is always close to hand (which is why it isn’t in the photo) is Dave Trottier’s Screenwriter’s Bible. It too will not give you the one, guaranteed way of writing a multi-million dollar script but it will give you some great insights when you are starting out. What I particularly like about it are the extensive sections on formatting conventions which will help get you going with your scripts.
What are your thoughts on the use of text books as a writer?
And, if you have read any books on screenwriting you would like to recommend, let us know in the comments.