A year ago, I wrote a staff pick for a book about the movie production designer William Cameron Menzies, recommending it partly just for diverging from the normal pattern of Hollywood biographies only being about actors or directors. Alison Macor’s Rewrite Man, out next month from University of Texas Press, deserves a spotlight for the same reason: giving a careful, thoughtful account of the career of somebody essential to the creation of films many watch and enjoy, but not accorded the same adulation by fans or journalists as brand-name celebrities. For this book, the subject is writer Warren Skaaren, who had risen to the top of his profession by the time of his early death from bone cancer in 1990 at age 44. Skaaren specialized in a particular subset of screenwriting, highly prized in his industry but often invisible to the rest of the world, as a script doctor, someone called in to fix problematic screenplays. The handful of screenwriters famous in their own right tend to have well-defined styles and subjects, but Skaaren’s function was refining and developing other people’s ideas. Macor lays out his contributions to the hits Top Gun, Beetlejuice, and Batman, creating an admiring portrait of a writer who didn’t fit our preferred model for a creative artist—that of a single, autonomous author—but brought dedication and ingenuity to his work all the same.