Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure, by Dan O’Bannon and Matt R Lohr (Michael Wiese Productions, 2012)

A guide to three act structure, and why it works for narrative cinema: including the Alien screenwriter’s own variant. Completed posthumously, this is an accessible, lightly erudite and fun guide to onscreen storytelling. One third structural analysis, one third application of O’Bannon’s version of the three act template to selected movies, one third industry observations.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Nobody Wants To Read Your Shit (And Other Tough-Love Truths To Make You A Better Writer), by Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Entertainment, 2016)

Another writing/creativity get-up-and-do-it how-to book from Pressfield, this time focused on lessons learned along the way as a novelist, screenwriter, as an advertising creative, and as a motivational writer. The most important lesson is in the book’s title: others focus on the twin imperatives of theme and story to any form of writing. Excellent as ever: the trick is to now go and do it, of course.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

If I Only Had The Time: How To Keep Writing When The World Stops Moving, by Dave Cohen (TTTTTT Publications, 2021)

Reflections on creative writing: access, opportunities, and restrictions in 2021. An excellent short overview, with comedy writer Cohen bringing his decades of experience to the table. A focus throughout on the impacts of coronavirus and the internet, and on the need to both re-evaluate goals and directions while seeing new realities as chances. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide, by John Cleese (Hutchinson, 2020)

A brisk overview of creativity as a concept and as part of writing and related practices. Straightforward and accessible (if geared to Cleese fans and to folk who know who William Goldman is) but undeniably brief, scarcely stretching to anything approaching book length. Still, some useful insights and experiences are noted.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Organised Writer: How To Stay On Top Of All Your Projects And Never Miss A Deadline, by Antony Johnston (Bloomsbury, 2020)

A seasoned pro’s guide to structuring your writing life, to managing workload, and to tackling administration. A clear and detailed approach (with accompanying downloadable forms etc) that works both as a study of professional practice and as a practical how-to book. Even if you don’t put Johnston’s system into operation, there’s plenty of tips and ideas to support focus and direction.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, by Adrian Tomine (Faber and Faber, 2020)

A socially-awkward cartoonist reflects on embarrassing incidents in their life. Lovely, touching and beautifully-presented kinda-memoir, that’ll ring true to anyone who’s tried to be creative and/or who’s struggled with being in public. Lots to appreciate, and wholly relatable even (or especially) if comix aren’t usually your thing.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Tips from a Publisher, by Scott Pack (Eye Books, 2020)

A guide to writing, editing, submitting and publishing – as the book’s subtitle says – from an industry perspective. A friendly, useful, realistic, up-to-date and detailed guide to what to expect from and with agents and publishers (as well as with non-traditional ways into publication), and how to approach them professionally. A great addition to any shelf of writery books. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

First You Write a Sentence, by Joe Moran (Penguin Books, 2018)

A book about writing, focusing on the sentence as a unit of construction. Once you settle into it, this is a very useful little book – geared towards non-fiction rather than fiction writing, so bear that in mind – that’ll offer not only some hard-won advice but sneak in a little grammar teaching and learning in too.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Hero, by Lee Child (TLS Books, 2019)

A writer‘s perspective on what the concept of the hero signifies to them. A smart, clear monograph on different aspects of what a hero might be, on the origins of the word and its meanings, and its relationships to thriller fiction. Hints of autobiography and writing philosophy, plus a love of words, meanings, and implications.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Warrior Ethos, by Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Entertainment, 2011)

An overview of Spartan military and related philosophies. A clear and straightforward introduction, intended both as a primer for soldiers and to those addressing other conflict areas (creative struggles, etc). Useful and direct, not least if you appreciate the same author’s fiction and wider writings on creativity.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.