Extract from Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast episode 010 (Oct 2010) – scriptwriting recommendations

Other websites of interest include:

  • www.bookgrouponline.com – an online forum where people chat about books they’ve read etc.
  • www.online-literature.com is a website I stumbled across. It states “We offer searchable online literature for the student, educator, or enthusiast. To find the work you’re looking for start by looking through the author index. We currently have over 1,900 full books and over 3,000 short stories and poems by over 250 authors. Our quotations database has over 8,500 quotes.”
  • Writers Weekly (www.writersweekly.com) claims to be the ‘highest-circulation freelance writing ezine in the world’!

Books on writing scripts include:

  • Robert McKee’s book ‘story’ provides help on ‘substance, structure, style and principles of screenwriting’;
  • Chris Curry’s ‘Writing for Soaps’ (a ‘writing handbooks’ book) – is packed with tips and sample scripts.
  • I’ve mentioned Teach Yourself’s books before and they publish a screenwriting book.
  • ‘The Screenwriting Workbook’ by Syd Field – exercises and step-by-step instructions.
  • James Ryan’s ‘Screenwriting from the heart’ – the technique of the character-driven screenplay.
  • Don Shiach’s ‘From Page to Performance’ – a study book for drama (Cambridge University Press).
  • ‘How not to write a screenplay’ by Denny Martin Flinn – 101 common mistakes most screenwriters make.
  • Penguins ‘Comedy Sketches’ includes Alan Bennett, Noel Coward, John Cleese, Stephen Fry/Hugh Laurie.
  • Ben Thompson’s ‘Sunshine on putty’ is a behind the scenes look at modern British Comedy.
  • Screenwriting for Dummies which like all the other Dummies books is very user friendly although if you want to write for TV you’ll be disappointed as it’s 95% designed for the big screen.
  • William Froug’s ‘Zen and the art of screenwriting’ and the follow-up, ingeniously called ‘Zen and the art of screenwriting 2’ are collections of essays and interviews with some of Hollywood’s top screenwriters, producers and directors.
  • If you’re having trouble with dialogue there’s ‘Writing Dialogue’ by Tom Chiarella (published by Story Press). Just before recording this episode, I did a quick search on www.amazon.co.uk putting in the word ‘dialogue’ and came up with over 11,000 in the reference section alone. One that looked perfect for this topic is Rib Davis’ ‘Writing Dialogue for Scripts: Effective Dialogue for Film, TV, Radio and Stage’ which has a link further down the page for Rib’s ‘Developing Characters for Scriptwriting’ – both are published by AC Black.
  • Getting off-topic for a minute… In episode 7 I mentioned magazines as opportunities for submissions and another is ‘Let’s Talk’ an East Anglian (Norfolk and Suffolk) magazine aimed at readers aged 55+. Its format is very similar to Yours and their website is www.letstalk24.co.uk.
  • Another opportunity is Brand Literary Magazine which welcomes submissions short plays of performance texts, (“high quality”) short stories, micro-fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and artwork. More details on www.brandliterarymagazine.co.uk. Their website includes interviews, news and events, as well as the option to subscribe to their (quarterly) magazine (at an average of £7.50 per copy!) or buy back copies.


  • Christian publishers www.graftedbydesign.co.uk is running a new short story and poetry anthology competition. I know nothing about them other than a box advert in Writers’ News Aug 2010. I did take a look at their website for more details but there wasn’t anything evident about the comp.
  • The NAWE’s (National Association of Writers in Education) ‘Competitions and Submissions page of their website (www.nawe.co.uk/the-writers-compass/competitions-and-submissions.html) has 8 pages of UK-based  opportunities. There’s also a link (www.writingcalendar.com) to Sally Quilford’s Writing Calendar which has lists of regular and by-month deadline competitions.
  • Manuel Diotte said “Winning isn’t always finishing first. Sometimes winning is just finishing.” And this is very true for www.nanowrimo.org – the 50,000-word novel in a month project which takes place every November.

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