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The Complete Book of Scriptwriting

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  176 ratings  ·  13 reviews
TV writer J. Michael Straczynski has written what many consider the bible on writing for TV and movies: The Complete Book of Scriptwriting. A keeper.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Writers Digest Books (first published 1982)
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Sammy
Oct 18, 2010 Sammy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: tv
Straczynski's book is overwhelmingly comprehensive, and looks at every angle of scriptwriting. Look, no one can teach innovation or individuality: as a teenager I remember being thoroughly disgusted with every scriptwriting book I devoured, because they all focussed on becoming a freelance "Law & Order" writer; offering advice on churning out formulaic scripts, and how to fit your thoughts into existing characters and pre-packaged situations. In retrospect, I acknowledge that a) being a scri ...more
Philip
I’ve had this book sitting around for several years (it was published in 1997) since I first moved to LA and caught the Hollywood bug.

Now, after countless hours of sitting in front of the TV and exclaiming, “I could write better dialogue than that!”, I have a better handle on the pragmatics of scriptwriting – the differences between TV and script formats, don’t submit entire unsolicited scripts (it won’t be opened for legal reasons), film pays better than television, and the importance of joinin
...more
Malcolm


From the man who brought us the glorious Babylon 5, besides his contributions to Murder She Wrote, but more recently The Changeling and Thor, and endless comic books, this is a masterful 'how to' book on writing screenplays. However, his advice is also useful for all writers and not just screenwriters as he's also written some novels, single-handedly reinvigorated comic franchises such as Spiderman, and he really knows his craft. This book is insightful, funny in places, confidence building stuf
...more
Stephanie
Okay, I got lazy and didn't finish the book. It's very dense and not entirely relevant to the type of writing that I would want to write (if I were to) in the future. BUT, what I DID read was entirely useful and thorough, acting as part writing and business book. The author at one point mentions a fellow writer who used his book as his Bible to break into the movie business, and I can definitely see why it worked out for him.
Daniel Kukwa
In my younger days, when I was still experimenting with script writing, this book became a valuable bible to different formats, and how to pitch what, and to whom. I might have some issues with JMS's Bablyon 5, and his opinion on rival SF shows...but his writing how-to advice is solid.
Jerjonji
Being a huge Babylon 5 fan, I found I could hear Straczynski's voice while I read this. Encouraging, serious, yet very real, it ruined TV viewing for me forever. It should have come with a warning on the cover. He tells you it will, but if you plan to write for TV, it's a must own!
Bethanie
Apr 03, 2012 Bethanie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Scriptwriters of any type
There honestly isn't much I can say except that this book was amazing and if you're a script writer, this is probably the best resource for you. It has everything from how to write a script, to what to do with it, and how best to navigate the industry. Highly recommended.
T
i found this book to be incredibly helpful, providing tips to get your script in front of the right eyes, as well as proper script formatting for each media. i fully intend on getting the most recent edition of this book as it's a great writer's reference.
Roger Market
Although even the latest edition is now out of date, this book is invaluable for the aspiring screen or TV writer. The chapters on TV craft and TV marketing, in particular, are incredibly helpful.
Scott
Whenever I work on any sort of dramatic work (whether it be a screenplay, radio play, etc.) I ALWAYS have this book on my desk! Invaluable!!!
Ben
highly informative, seriously if your interested at all in script writing and want to know more, this book is where its at :)
Anne
Come for the writing advice, stay for the Murder She Wrote, Babylon 5 and He-Man anecdotes.
Denise
The last book on scriptwriting you'll ever need, written by the Great Maker himself.
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Joseph Michael Straczynski (born July 17, 1954), known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an American writer and television producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is a playwright, a former journalist, and author of The Complete Book of Scriptwriting. He was the creator and showrunne ...more
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