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Richard Walter's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Richard Walter recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Richard Walter's favorite book recommendations of all time.

An insightful how-to guide for writing screenplays that uses Aristotle's great work as a guide.

Long considered the bible for storytellers, Aristotle's Poetics is a fixture of college courses on everything from fiction writing to dramatic theory. Now Michael Tierno shows how this great work can be an invaluable resource to screenwriters or anyone interested in studying plot structure. In carefully organized chapters, Tierno breaks down the fundamentals of screenwriting, highlighting particular aspects of Aristotle's work. Then, using examples from some of...
Recommended by Richard Walter, and 1 others.

Richard WalterI’m surprised that I’m recommending this because it has affectations that I find off-putting. It has lots of exclamation points!! Oh gosh!! Oh golly!! It’s self-conscious and he’s trying to be droll and wry. (Source)

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An invaluable tool that reads like a great Hollywood diary, Plots and Characters takes a tough-love approach to helping young screenwriters and reveals secrets only a Hollywood veteran would know. less
Recommended by Richard Walter, and 1 others.

Richard WalterKaufman is underappreciated. His book is called Plots and Characters and plots come first. Story is first. There are many dilettantes who think it’s about characters because it’s easy to come up with some zany character. Everyone has a ditsy spinster aunt, but it’s the colourful adventures that count. It is our actions that define us as characters and not the other way round. (Source)

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Hal Ackerman offers a treasure trove of information on the writing of quality, saleable screenplays by teaching the art of story structure, substance and style. less
Recommended by Richard Walter, and 1 others.

Richard WalterI’m not crazy about the title, and I expect Hal agrees at least somewhat with me about that. He was pressured by the publishers. It’s a real dime store title. It’s a brilliant book and he’s a brilliant educator. Hal’s been here at UCLA… I don’t know. Whenever I say two or three years it turns out to be 25. So Hal’s been here a quarter of a century and has had a great presence here. He’s our... (Source)

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For decades, Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434 class at UCLA has been the premier screenwriting course, launching a generation of the industry's most frequently produced writers. Here, he shares the secrets of his course on the screenwriting process by actually writing an original script, step by step, that appears in the book. less
Recommended by Richard Walter, and 1 others.

Richard WalterI love Lew, but that shouldn’t be held against him. You know, most people can’t take his class because you have to be a matriculated UCLA student, but you don’t need to take the class! You can read the book! (Source)

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‘The plot is the source and the soul of tragedy’

In his near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to produce pity and fear in the audience, and asks why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. Taking examples from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, The Poetics introduces into literary criticism such central concepts as mimesis (‘imitation’), hamartia (‘error’), and katharsis (‘purification’). Aristotle explains how the most...
Recommended by Bill Liao, Richard Walter, and 2 others.

Bill LiaoThe Book "Made to Stick" combined with "The Poetics" by Aristotle really helped me to see the power of telling great stories with surprises in them and every time I meet a start-up I can always make a contribution to their pitch. (Source)

Richard WalterAristotle’s Poetics is the user’s guide to dramatic narrative and dramatic structure. It’s just a ragged little pamphlet really. (Source)

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