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This Year You Write Your Novel 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0316065412
ISBN-10: 0316065412
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Mosley offers motivation and instruction, wisely defining success in narrow terms: if writers-to-be follow his advice, they will be able to produce a first draft in only three months, and a competent novel in a year. At first that might seem like a tall order, but there is no mention of penning a masterpiece or best seller, just establishing a good, honest start on the long road to honing their craft. The author covers all the basics in a succinct and workmanlike fashion: narrative voice, character development, metaphor and simile, plot and story, editing, rewriting, research, and more. In addition to his many professional tips and practical advice, Mosley has one mantra: write every day—without fail, every day, no excuses. It doesn't have to be more than a few hours per day, but it does have to be every day. A guide to writing a novel may not be needed by many teens, but some will want precisely that, and this book will serve them well. Far more teens are likely to gain a precise view into the mystery of how novelists go about their work, and how they employ the many building blocks of fiction to produce a polished work of art.—Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It would be nice to report that the veteran novelist packs a lot of useful information into this slim writer's guide. Unfortunately, there is little here that isn't common sense (write every day), or tips most would-be writers will have already read in somebody else's book (the difference between merely telling the reader something and showing him). Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins mysteries and several fine stand-alones, sets out to show us how we can write a novel in a year, but instead of insight into the mind of a master storyteller, we are given facile advice ("don't stop writing for any reason") and grade-school English lessons (the difference, for example, between metaphor and simile). While the book is gracefully written, it is almost entirely lacking in any concrete, fresh advice that isn't available in countless other places. One leaves the book wondering why Mosley wrote it if he didn't have anything new to say. A real disappointment, which is not to say that the Mosley name won't generate a certain amount of demand. Buy cautiously. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316065412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316065412
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley is a practical step-by-step guide for beginning writers. The chapters and sub-chapters are broken down in a format that is easy to follow and to understand. Mr. Mosley's strongest message is that a writer must write every day at a prescribed time to be a writer. He hammers home this message very strongly. He goes so far as to say that a writer should allow the paint to peel from the wall and the grass to grow tall. All that matters is the writing. I am not sure if that would work for most writers. But his intent is understood, writers must write.

What appealed to me most was the chapter entitled, `Learning to Write Without Restraint'. He expounds upon how important it is to write what is in you, what naturally flows from your head and your heart. He indicates that the only voice in your head should be your own and your characters. Otherwise, in his opinion, if you write your novel trying to temper your muse, you will not have done your best work.

This Year You Write Your Novel covers several writing techniques. Narrative styles, showing versus telling, character development and simple writing suggestions abound in this writing guide. There is a chapter on facing rejection. He makes it clear how he, a writer who has penned twenty-seven books, still faces rejection on a regular basis. This book humanizes the writing experience. Also, appealing is the conversational tone of his instructions. This how-to-book read as smoothly as a novel.

I would recommend this non-fiction writing guide, especially to beginning writers. It is a guideline for writing your first novel in a year. However, many seasoned writers could benefit from many of the insights offered.

Angelia Menchan

APOOO BookClub
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Format: Hardcover
In THIS YEAR YOU WRITE YOUR NOVEL, Walter Mosley attempts to tell readers "everything I know about novel writing in less than 25,000 words." He succeeds brilliantly in this valuable little book that should take its place alongside THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE and ON WRITING WELL on the bookshelf of any aspiring writer and those interested in how novels are put together.

Mosley is the author of 27 books, including 10 in the acclaimed Easy Rawlins private detective series. But he also has tackled literary fiction in books like RL'S DREAM and THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT, as well as science fiction and nonfiction books about politics and current events.

Writing is first and foremost a craft. It's not an art, although great writers like Mosley can raise it to an art form. As a craft, writing has certain rules specific to each genre that must be followed and practiced over and over again by all writers. This book deals with the novel-writing process and provides a quick rundown of the essential tools that any aspiring novelist will need.

But this is more than just a guidebook. Anybody who has worked as a professional writer long enough is familiar with the conversation with a stranger that usually begins by them saying, "I have a great idea for a novel..." And the professional writer listens respectfully and nods sympathetically. But in the back of our minds we know that rarely, if ever, will that person write an actual book.

Despite popular misconceptions, writing a book is not just something you can sit down and bang out "one of these days when I get the time." The great newspaper columnist Red Smith once said, "Writing is easy. You sit down at a typewriter and cut open a vein.
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Format: Hardcover
A common complaint about this book is that it offers nothing new, that all of the topics about writing it covers have been covered elsewhere, and in more depth and detail. If one feels one learns more by reading more words, then other authors offer far higher word counts on all of the topics Mosely covers. Why then, did I find this book so useful?

For one thing, it is concise and cogent. It's a quick read, not because he has nothing to say - he does - but because he knows how to boil away the fat. He does leave things out, some of which may be considered essential, but let's face it, just about anyone buying this book will be buying several books on writing fiction. This one is worth having in the collection.

Particularly useful are his insights into how to build complex characters. Mosely directly understands how people condition each other's responses to the world and their lives, how we change each other, and how to capture this in fiction. Mosely doesn't spend pages exhorting us to build an interesting character, he teaches by showing, laying out a superb example (the story of the man in the desert). That one five page section was such a gem I would gladly have paid double the price to have it.

The greatest tools we need to write good fiction are already present: most of us have absorbed countless dramatic templates, most of us have a facility with language (we are, after all, animals whose chief talent is in language even if we're plumbers or race car drivers), and all of us have lived, loved, suffered, and rejoiced (on the odd occasion, anyway) in the complex, unknowable realm of human relationships. This cogent, concise book seems to get this, it doesn't over teach, it teaches enough to get us tapping what we already have quickly and with depth.
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