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5 Novels That Will Make You a Better Screenwriter

By August 24, 2016October 7th, 2020No Comments

You’ve probably read most/all of these already, but if you have some time now that the summer season is passing, make sure to re-read. Your writing will definitely thank you.


This story is all voice. When a producer tells you she is looking for a writer with a unique voice and you’re not quite sure what she means by that, read Slaughterhouse-Five for the best representation of UNIQUE VOICE. If you can allow your voice to shine through your writing even half as well as Vonnegut does in his classic novel, you’ll turn executive heads.

HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad

Besides the fact that this book is the foundation for APOCALYPSE NOW, this novel is a prime example of efficient writing. While the book is only 100 pages, there is more story, character, and theme than in most novels that are 400 pages. Screenwriting is all about efficiency, so check this one out.

THE DISASTER ARTIST by Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell

This one is more for the comic relief, but it gets into the details of everything that went wrong with the now-famous film, THE ROOM. By seeing behind the scenes of everything that didn’t work, you get a little perspective on what to do for your next project.

ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell

This classic is a wonderful example of a character arc that exemplifies the theme. The pigs go from victim to criminal in this story of constant manipulation. If you’re having trouble arcing your characters, read how Orwell magically does it here.


Forgetting new revelations in GO SET A WATCHMAN, Lee does a perfect job at creating one of the most iconic and likable characters of all time, Atticus Finch. If you ever get the note to ‘make your hero more likable’ put down screenwriting books and read about Atticus Finch. He’s not perfect and that’s what makes him likable.