Phil Peel

Film, video, photography, sound and story

Screenwriting books – do they help?

Posted by Phil On July - 2 - 2012
screenwriting books

Some of my screenwriting books.

I used to love going into a bookshop (remember them..  before Amazon existed ) and browse screenwriting books. Each claimed to have the answers to the secrets of successful screenwriting. I would skim through several over half an hour in the bookshop, then  buy one, take it home and read it again.

I would rarely finish them though. But they are there, ready to dip into when I need guidance, crammed with fading Post-it bookmarks. I now usually cannot figure out why I put the bookmark there, but it’s an indication that something on the page resonated at the time.

Now the bookshops rarely seem to have any screenwriting books of interest. Maybe they have to stock more books on gardening or How to stop smoking. Maybe I have all the knowledge I need. Just have the problem of applying it.   I’m beginning to acquire more books online as Ebooks.  Great.. instant read… instant gratification.. Bookmarks that I can add notes to .

But deep down it doesn’t really satisfy. ..and when I need help, inspiration or guidance  I still find myself going back to my bookshelf

Incidentally for me, the most useful was the first I read 1990.  Michael Hague’s “Selling Screenplays that Sell” the yellow one at the top.

The most inspirational   … “On Writing” by Stephen King, which usually sits beside my bed.