Cover Image: Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer

Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer

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Member Reviews

Honestly the intro immediately threw me off and gave me a bad taste in my mouth. It felt like he was bragging about all his successes. Yes, he has accomplished a lot and should be very proud if himself but it made me not want to keep reading.  Overall the book had a lot of helpful info and some not as helpful, depending on what you plan to write.

Would I recommend this book? Maybe depending on who would ask.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written with clear, concise, and applicable information. I loved how it was organized and thought overall it was a helpful book for writers.
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Straczynski reminds writers why they became writers in the first place. You have to keep that fire for writing. He also shows you how to map out your stories and how to get an agent.
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Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer touches on several subjects that other books for writers overlook, but those subjects were not enough to make me really like this book. I am in the minority, based on other reviews, but advice books are not meant for everyone and that's okay. Writers need advice books, process books, habits, and more so that they can take away what works and create their own system and opinion. 

Thank you NetGalley and BenBella Books for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy.
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Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer is one of the most down-to-earth, relatable books on being a writer that I've ever read. It's less prescriptive advice on the technical skills of writing (assuming you already know the basics), and more reflective on the experience of being a professional writer. It definitely caught me at just the right time in my own career, and I loved a lot of what the author had to say about industry endurance and cultivating diverse writing skills in the later chapters.
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Excellent book about the ins and outs of writing from an industry veteran. If you go to writer's conferences, sometimes they give you a false bill of sale about how easy it can be to make it. In this book, Michael is candid, real, and authentic in getting inside the brain of being a writer and staying a writer. I read this book while in line for rides at Disneyland and in CA Adventure's new Marvel theme park. The author has worked on scripts for many well-known movies so it was inspiring to think about all he has accomplished to put story into the hearts of so many people. This book is an engaging, funny, down-to-earth, "real" book for writers.
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Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer by J. Michael Stracynski is just the resource I need right now to pursue writing a book I have had on the back burner for years. I feel incredibly empowered because of his genuine interest in helping writers write and his sharing of personal challenges, as well. Such gems as, "The goal is to get past the inertia of that day's first written words. Writing leads to writing." and " that twilight stage between wakefulness and sleep, load up whatever story problem has been plaguing you recently." He is wise and his strategies work for me. I hope they do for you, too. Thank you to Mr. Stracynski, BenBella Books, Inc. and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this advanced copy.
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I read a lot of How To writing books and this one was merely okay. Could have used less about how much of an antisocial dweeb he was. Merely so-so.
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Like everybody else  I am a wannabe writer 😉  This book has great tips and tricks - but most importantly the book has truths. I learned a lot about writing and my self as a wannabe writer.
I recommend this book for everyone that wants to write. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own
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Some good solid advice from a master of the craft. All writers have been at a point in their lives where they needed this kind of advice. This book might help
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A mixed bag but - wow. I suspect some people are going to feel a bit disillusioned after reading some of the chapters, especially the one about TV scripts and the business. But there are some absolute gems, especially the ones about getting your characters to do the opposite of what you expect. And the last chapter which is intended for a writer's partner is magnificent. I understand myself better after reading it - and that is a sign of good writing.
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A friendly and accessible book which avoids the overdone genre of how-to-write and instead explores actually being a writer. 

I have been writing for a long time and, like most writers, I have a collection of favorite books on writing. These days, I feel a bit more jaded about the dozens of how-to books that seem to come up every year, full of rules and regulations and attempting to box the creative art of "writing" into a set of routines as if it were a formula for creating publishable words. I was concerned that J. Michael Straczynski's new book, __Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer__ might be more of the same. However, the Ellison quote in reference to the title dragged me in: "The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer." 

The promise that the second half of the book would be useful for established writers was enough for me to give the book a chance. Straczynsky is famous as both a television and feature film screenwriter, most notably (to me) for Babylon5. This clear success as a working author with a wide range of projects (and awards) ranging from screenplays to comics to games, made me hopeful that Straczynsky would offer practical advice rather than a to-do list. I requested, and received, an advance review copy through Netgalley.

I was not disappointed. __Becoming a Writer__ feels less like a lecture in Writing 101 and more like sitting with a successful friend who was happy to chat with me about his experiences and the lessons he learned along the way. He talks with affection about the golden age of SciFi but also with excitement and approval of the modern diversity appearing in the best science fiction, appreciative of both the classics and the new authors breaking boundaries. His style is conversational and fast-paced, making it easy to skim the chapters that seem less relevant while still picking up the gems interspersed throughout the book. His advice is never is patronising but given in the context of his own writing in the hopes that it might be useful: 

"__You know, I used to think that writing science fiction was all about writing familiar characters in unfamiliar settings. It took me twenty years to realize I was wrong. It’s about familiar relationships in unfamiliar settings.__"

I have never written a screenplay and I'm unlikely to ever be tempted by such a thing, but Straczynski's advice is not about technique or Save-the-Cat style rules but much more timeless than that. Although I only expected to be interested in the second half of the book, I found plenty to occupy my mind in the first half as well. Straczynski rarely gets into the nuts and bolts of writing and is more focused on how to establish yourself as a strong writer and a person that is good to work with. His experience as a producer and as a direction gives a different angle which can be immensely useful. But more importantly, I enjoyed the silly anecdotes and interesting behind-the-scenes details that appeared alongside writing advice that was useful and interesting. When I finished, I was almost sorry: I felt for a short time as if Straczynsky was my friend and mentor. If you are looking for nuts and bolts of writing, then this is probably not the book you need. If you aren't writing yet, then I suspect the book will be of limited value. However, I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is producing written work and understands there is no magic word that will suddenly turn you into an author.
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Becoming a Writer Staying a Writer is simply written and I feel detailed. It seems more focused toward script writing, but I did learn quite a bit that I plan on using for my blog page. Right now, it's just a hobby. In 10 years when we retire to full time RV, I would like to make a supplemental income from my blog page. As I become more serious, I will skim through this book again for advice.

A year ago I started writing a book. I've made it to chapter 2 and have never picked back up. After all, who wants to read my life story? A passage that has stuck with me in this book is that you should write about something that means something to you. My book is something to me. And with the recent loss of my dad, it may mean something to my kids when I pass. I don't expect to sell it and get rich. It's just something that does mean something to me. Becoming a Writer Staying a Writer has encouraged me to continue writing.

The writer now has me curious to watch Babylon 5. I've heard of the series, but never watched it. Even though I will never write a script, I found the detail, trials and errors of the writers account intriguing. I love the personal accounts of the author. It made it for an easier and amusing read.
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Fun book to help add little tidbits to improve one's overall writing. Aspiring wrestlers starting in the field will benefit most from learning habits and a middle ground to make writing more manageable.. Longtime writers will have a reminder of the simple things that get overlooked.
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Practical Advice for New and Experienced Writers

The title ways it all. This is a book for writers at all levels. If you’re just starting he provides good advice on how to begin. If you’re already a writer who wants to get to the next level, he has advice for you too.

Straczynski has a varied career writing for films, comics, television and, of course, books. These unique experiences led him to develop a series of proven methodologies that will help you at whatever writing stage you find yourself. He always wanted to be a writer and over his thirty years of experience he’s had many challenges. One of my favorite parts of the books is the stories he tells about his career. 

His advice is helpful. There are no magic formulas. He embraces the idea that writing is hard work and takes tenacity to succeed. In some ways, this is the most useful advice. I highly recommend this book to all writers and wannabe writers. I think you’ll be glad you gave it a look. 

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
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New York Times bestselling author and British Academy Award nominee J. Michael Straczynski has spent a lifetime going through the steps from wanting to write, to being successful and how to stay there; Given his list o f writing accomplishments I knew if anyone was going to write a book like this, he'd be one to pull it off. I'm happy to report that I was correct in that assumption.

I have read many many writing books and articles and this is a breath of fresh air from the usual run of the mill instruction manual on how to write. He offers up his own experience with what works, what doesn't work, how to handle failure, how to decide your priorities etc. There is some very valuable tips in these pages. I do wish it was a little less redundant but given the wealth of knowledge Straczynski gifted his readers I can over look that. 

Highly recommended for anyone who has even thought of trying to write, whether it be novels, poetry, screenplays or blog posts, you'll find useful hints that will open your eyes and make you feel more confident. 

3.5 stars from me, rounded up to 4 in the interest of fairness to the greatness of the book.

I was provided an advance e-copy from netgalley and publishers in exchange for my unfiltered opinion. All thoughts are mine and not influenced by anything other than myself.
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I have learned from mentors along the way that when we reach a certain level of success, it's important to reach back down to help those who follow us, pursuing the same trail. And J. Michael Straczynski has done just that with this book.

"Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer" is probably one of the best books on the writing craft that I have ever read (not just how to write, but how to make a living from it too).

I loved how open and honest he was about what it takes, as well as the bits of wit and snark he peppers his commentary with along the way. 

There is only one writing book that I tell other authors must be on their bookshelf to be taken down and referred to regularly, Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style." Now, I have a second recommendation for those who are truly serious about pursuing a career as a writer. "Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer." 

While the book is written from the viewpoint of a screenwriter, the tips, ideas, suggestions and wisdom he shares apply no matter what form your writing craft takes. I highly recommend this book!
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An unusual take on providing advice for those seeking to write or needing inspiration to continue to write. The author provides a lot of personal experiences in this book. Interesting anecdotes though some might get frustrated that it is not a simple "how-to" book.
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I really enjoyed this book on writing! It is so entertaining, actually funny in many parts and has a lot of heart. Lots of practical advise from a very reputable and experienced author. It is for the beginner, as well as the accomplished writer. One of my favorite books on writing!
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An excellent guide to writing filled with humor and wit. I especially enjoyed the examples provided and the exercises offered. Those helped bring what the author was trying to convey into something tangible that I could experience with my own writing. So much of what the author talked about really hit home for me. It’s not that I didn’t logically know what he was talking about prior to reading this book, it’s that the way he said it and exemplified it finally connected the unconnected in my head so that it all finally made sense in a real not abstract way.
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