2023 On My Shelf Becoming a Writer

I love Babylon 5. Such an amazing television series with incredible character arcs. So you can imagine how excited I was to receive J. Michael Straczynski’s book, Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer, for Christmas. JMS created Babylon 5 and wrote some of my favorite stories for the Thor comics and co-wrote the Thor movie. Now, he shares thoughts on life as a writer.

Cover of Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer by J. Michael Straczynski

In the words of novelist Harlan Ellison, “The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.

New York Times bestselling author and British Academy Award nominee J. Michael Straczynski knew he wanted to be a writer ever since he was a child. What he didn’t know was how to actually become, or stay, a writer. 

Now, he’s giving fellow writers the comprehensive guide he wishes he had all along, personalized tips and techniques that can’t be found in any other book on writing.

Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer culls from Straczynski’s more than thirty years of experience writing for film, television, books, and comics. Designed for writers in any stage of their career, this quirky, insightful and often humorous book provides an inside look at these industries with advice and wisdom covering such topics such as:

   • What fledgling writers need to know to improve and sell their work—and avoid wasting valuable time
   • Tips for experienced writers who want to get to the next level
   • Staying disciplined when writing is your day job
   • Why writers should never wait for inspiration 
   • Story-planning strategies that don’t kill your spontaneity
   • Expert techniques for effective, memorable world-building
   • How to get an agent and survive the writer’s journey in more personal relationships
   • Revising and editing with precision
   • When and how to reinvent yourself as an artist 

Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer includes Straczynski’s unique, tried-and-true methodologies that will help storytellers sharpen their work so that it’s polished and ready for publication. Part toolbox and part survival guide, this book will be an indispensable guide throughout your entire writing career, offering fresh and practical insights every step of the way.

This is not a “how to” book on writing. This is more real life discussion, with JMS’ humor, of what it takes to be a writer. Even if you do not aspire to being a writer, this also has great insights into other creative pursuits. Also great thoughts on storytelling for tabletop rpg game masters.

Whether you just like Babylon 5 and want insights into the mind of its creator or really want to pursue life as a writer, then this book should slot into your to be read pile.

On My Shelf: Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer

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