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5.0 out of 5 starsPractical, Poetic, Insightful, and Encouraging
Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2018
Despite having an MFA in writing, I needed support in writing my novel. Mosley has put together a very practical guide for the first-time novelist (and could arguably be valuable to a second-time and third-time novelist). He writes a wonderful bit on the role of aesthetics, the importance of writing for a contemporary audience, dismissing the notion that the novel is some high-and-mighty work of art written for the erudite or the critic. He gives practical advice for how to get the words on the page and rewrite those words to create a coherent work. With depth and simplicity, brevity and astuteness, he offers a wonderful road map for aspiring novelists.
5.0 out of 5 starsSolid beginner’s guide to writing a novel...
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2020
I bought this book for my cousin who is hip deep in a long story that looks as if it may becoming a novella. As he has never had any writing workshop experience, I thought he might it useful and in fact he has so.
Though I’m not thrilled by Mosley’s explanation of the show-tell conundrum, it’s okay as far as it goes and is probably a useful rule of thumb for the beginner. That said, there is much to like about this slim volume.
Not many writers of Mosley’s caliber would bother to write a guide for the beginning writer. It’s to Mosley’s credit that he did so—and did so well.
Mosley has written another book—Elements of Fiction—which I have not read but which I assume is a companion volume to this one.
5.0 out of 5 starsThis year you buy this book then write your novel :)
Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2016
I ordered this on amazon then later had the opportunity to get it signed at a Walter Mosley reading. After re-reading and committing to the 'get to work and get to work everyday' plan, I was so excited when close to a year later my writing project was finished. I love his practical advice and guidance on technique, character development, and style. If you're looking for some magical formula then this isn't the book. If you want advice from one of the best to ever do it, then you should order now and spend some time with Mr. Mosley. Then get to work so next year we can all be reviewing your story!
5.0 out of 5 starsBecause I want to write my own book
Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2019
I have always written, and when I saw this by my all time favorite author, I knew I would get some great tips and ideas. One thing I remember he said was to write daily. I did start my book last year and still am tweeking it and hope to finish it soon. I had to stop because writing about myself is exhausting...I would recommend this book because its good and its Walter Mosley(a fan for life)
My 1st thoughts on receipt of this book was, "is that all?" Yes, volume wise, it's that small. In fact, it's the smallest "How-to" book on novel writing I have (& I have 22+ of them); and probably the smallest out there (102 pages) in print. The authors wordsmithing is straight and simple. No dithering. No fluff. From the intro passages onward, you can't shake the feeling of an unseen finger, pointing a "It's you I'm speaking to" air coming out of the book. It's a fast read, yet, there's no sense of hurry about it; taking its time to hit all the basic high notes: from an admonition + encouragement, to needed tools (both physical and mental), to the elements of fiction, to the how-to opening of the very 1st sentence. Not to forget that he gives easy to follow examples as you read along. All packed in just 102 pages.
I wrap this one up by quipping that you'll end this book not wanting it to end. And after you've put it down, its words will linger, hanging over your heart, making you NOT to think that your going to write your novel this year, but KNOW that you are.
This author, Walter Mosley, is my favorite writer. His easy style and precise use of phrasing continues in his instructional book. It abounds with practical manageable suggestions for disciplining one to schedule writing time and follows through all the way to rewrite after editing.
I read a lot of books on writing craft, but this one stands out as very helpful. It changed my approach to writing and revising. This book and Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method make it possible for me to write a novel.
I chose this book over some others I might have to give me a template to work from and to understand some of the nuances of writing this kind of work because I am nuts about Walter Mosley's own writing. I have used the crap out of this book and am actually keeping it right on my nightstand.
There's no easy path to writing a 'good' novel and Mosley tells you that up front. This book prepares you for the mindset you will need and helps steer you into the starting blocks with confidence and enthusiasm. Mosley is a great writer. His guidance is simple and well illustrated. This isn't a step by step writing by numbers kind of book though. The author knows too well that 'good' literature is not made that way.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2010
An excellent book from one of my favourite authors. This describes the components of writing a novel in a very easy to understand way. It also gave a good perspective on how the other authors I read have put their books together.