Book Review

Becoming A Writer-Staying A Writer by J. Michael Straczynski

Benbella Books 2021 230 Pages

If you just read about J. Michael Straczynksi’s success writing scripts for television series, as well as feature length screenplays, and comic books, that alone would be enough to convince you to buy Becoming A Writer-Staying a Writer. And it would be a good decision.

Having worked in Hollywood for decades, Straczynski offers a wide range of advice useful for both new and experienced writers. My favourite chapter was Annnnd Here’s The Pitch. If you hear the term “pitching” the first image that comes to mind might be a movie producer’s office in Hollywood. Straczynski, however, notes that an editor who is publishing your first novel, might want know about the second book you’re planning to write as well. This is useful knowledge, since many writers conferences include pitch sessions with agents and editors.

I appreciate Straczynski’s approach, as he discusses both the challenge involved in approaching agents, and practical steps you can take to develop a reputation as a solid writer. According to the author, having short stories published and offering to write a script for an independent filmmaker’s first short film can help in that process.

Straczynski’s book discusses technical aspects of writing, as well as emotional issues like Writer’s Block and Imposter Syndrome. Becoming A Writer-Staying A Writer is a perfect balance of straightforward advice and humour; Straczynski never denies that writing is a difficult process, but he reminds us why it’s important that we keep trying.

Copyright © 2023 by J. Paul Cooper