The Complete Guide To Standard Script Formats: The Screenplay

by Cole/Haag, CMC Publishing

Cole and Haag set the standard for script formatting decades ago and their legacy lives on. The Thinking Writer thinks the forward to this book alone is worth the price. Understanding the basic ideology of script formatting has significant impact on narrative, from understanding how pages translate into screen time to learning how to write down the page instead of across. Cole and Haag also save the committed writer from the falacy of word-processor formatted scripts. Automatic formatting is a great time saver, but understanding formatting is critical to taking intelligent control of your narrative. What formatting options are available that your computer does not automatically throw out? Many, and they are carefully covered in this essential reference work.


Writing Dialogue
by Tom Chiarella, Story Press

The book is perfect for both novice writers and more experienced writers who have simply never specifically studied dialogue. It is a wonderfully clear treatise that will provide the committed screenwriter with many new tools for crafting effective, engaging dialogue. Tom Chiarella breaks down dialogue into a number of basic concepts essential to crafting effective speech. These elemental concepts are well explained, with clear examples throughout. Although the work is written for fiction writers generally, and not speciifcally attuned to screenwriters, it is worth studying and keeping on your shelf.

Writing Dialogue for Scripts
by Rib Davis

Although not as clear as Tom Chiarella’s book, this book is also worth reading and keeping on the shelf. Davis surveys many of the pitfalls of bad dialogue (including what Davis calls “Ping-Pong” dialogue, which is one of the most common dialogue killers) and also discusses the driving forces behind dialogue. The reader will quickly see how the form of dialogue can and must be coupled with the deeper purpose of the dialogue and the underlying “agenda” of each character . Through clear examples, the reader can easily grasp the basic concepts that elevate dialogue from purely expositional to dramatic.