Two new screenwriting books are on the market. You may have seen them mentioned here and there. But they deserve another plug for a number of reasons, namely if you’ve forgotten to buy a copy or if you’re on the fence about whether to stump up the cash for yet another screenwriting book.
The good news is that neither fall into the ‘yet another screenwriting book’ category. One is a ‘how to get ahead’ manual and the other details ‘what the process is actually like’. They don’t tell you how to write or what to write. They simply inform you of the basic practicalities and the absolute essentials of what being a writer is all about.
First up is Adrian Mead’s Making It As A Screenwriter. A book chock-full of brilliant advice and common sense thinking on how to strategise your career from zero to hero. There’s no false hope or wishy washy sentiment, it’s just the basic nuts and bolts of applying yourself in a dedicated and professional capacity, and getting desired results through this hard work and focus rather than moaning about the system or railing against the world. ALL proceeds of the book go to Childline so you’ve no excuse not to buy.
Next is Russell T Davies’s The Writer's Tale, a devastatingly honest exposé on what it's like writing Dr Who. This is an absolute ‘must have’ book for any writer. (The website has six full scripts from series 4 of Dr Who, a neat bonus.)
In his book, Davies regales you with his writing process and all the stress, fun and anxiety that comes with showrunning the country’s most popular TV programme. For those who think they can do better, and could put up with the strain and pressure of this type of workload, read this book and think again. It reminds me of Diablo Cody’s already immortal quote about whether or not you can cut it as a professional writer, despite plenty of envious and bitter eyes on the industry. “If you were me for one day you'd crumble like fucking stilton. I am better at this than you. You're not strong enough, Film_Fan78. Trust me.”
It's time to toughen up, people. Raise your game. If these two books don't inspire you and put you on the right track, then nothing ever will. Now go write.