This list of the best screenwriting books — all of which I’ve read — are useful depending on where you are in your screenwriting journey.
If you’ve already written something, I’d go for Akers’s “Your Screenplay Sucks!,” which will highlight the mistakes you didn’t know you made, and help you correct them. Also, Croasmun’s book on marketing your script is invaluable to help you navigate, with confidence, Hollywood’s world of “no.”
If you aspire to writing action, Martell’s “Secrets of Action Screenwriting” is a masterclass in suspenseful screenplay writing.
McKee’s “Story” is all about crafting strong characters, compelling scenes, and overall story structure. If you haven’t been able to attend his highly recommend seminars — attended by many Oscar- and Emmy-winning screenwriters — it’s all covered in this text.
A nice addendum to Mckee is Seger’s “Making a Good Script Great,” which will really help you improve your scenes.
And if comedy’s your thing, then Kaplan’s “Hidden Tools of Comedy” is the comedy reference book you need.
As you’ll find on Amazon, these screenwriting books are highly rated for a reason.