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This Year You Write Your Novel
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This Year You Write Your Novel

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  648 ratings  ·  137 reviews
No more excuses. "Let the lawn get shaggy and the paint peel from the walls," bestselling novelist Walter Mosley advises. Anyone can write a novel now, and in this essential book of tips, practical advice, and wisdom, Walter Mosley promises that the writer-in-waiting can finish it in one year. Intended as both inspiration and instruction, the book provides the tools to tur ...more
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Published January 8th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,182)
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Jason Koivu
At 12 I started writing my first novel. After a hundred pages in I realized I was writing a slight variation on The Hobbit. I went on to study "professional writing" in college and worked on newspapers before concluding I wasn't interested in writing about little league games or that I didn't have enough callousness in me to interview people who've just had their house burn down. I gave screenwriting a shot and soon realized its limiting nature didn't suit me.

So I'm back at square one, trying m
Apr 19, 2008 Karen rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone who wants to write but has no clue where to start
Listening to the "Writers on Writing" podcast (which I highly recommend), I've learned that it's far easier and generally more profitable to sell a non-fiction book proposal than a novel. Perhaps that's why so many writers of fiction come out with "how-to-write" books like this one. Or perhaps I'm being cynical since I have a shelf full of writing books.

I listed to an interview with the author on the WOW podcast and it sounded different than other writing books. But, as I'm now at the half-way
Benjamin D.
I feel like a lot of people don't understand that how precisely Mosley's worked this. Books about writing are an industry unto themselves (because everybody wants to be an author), but here is one by an author who actually knows what he's doing. Go ahead and read one of his novels first, so that you can see him in action and trust he knows what he's talking about (I recommend Futureland or Fortunate Son). The book is brief...because you should be writing. And because there's not actually that mu ...more
Jason Pettus
This is one of four newish books I recently read mostly so I could finally get them off my queue list, all of which were actually pretty good but are mere wisps of manuscripts, none of them over 150 pages or so in length. This one is the nonfiction This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley, an author I don't necessarily like that much personally but certainly respect a whole lot, among other things for being one of the only black authors in history to break through the lily-white publishin ...more
Mosley gives straightforward, unpretentious advice to beginning writers, staying realistic at all times. There's no sugarcoating here. To paraphrase some of his advice: write every day, no excuses; the bulk of the work is in the endless drafts; a story is never done, but stop when you can't make forward progress; you'll be better the next story. The somewhat cheesy title is misleading. There is great advice in here that applies to all fiction writing. Can be read in one or two sittings. Definite ...more
Dec 20, 2013 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers who want the facts on writing
I'm going to disagree with much of the middling and negative reviews about this title.

If you're serious about writing, why would you dismiss something that would and could be of great help to you? Especially from someone who is as esteemed as Walter Mosley? Doesn't that seem ridiculous?

Like most writers, I collect, read, thumb, and tag writing reference titles to keep on hand and to get guidance. Mosley's title was recommend to me from an artist friend who thought its straight to the point adv
Trixie Fontaine
Once when I was wasting time in Barnes & Noble I found myself standing in the aisle reading this book, not having a clue who Walter Mosley was. I saw it in the library and checked it out.

I don't know whether or not it "works" - I vaguely recall reading a review of it (in between "discovering" it for myself in barnes & noble and checking it out) and the person saying it was a good plan, or maybe it was somebody who was doing it and it was working for him (if I had to guess where that came
Apr 12, 2008 Rob rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiring prose pushers (e.g., John)
Shelves: writing, 2008
Somewhere out there is a handbook for writing and the writer's lifestyle; this is more like the "Quick Start Guide" falls out of the box. But if This Year You Write Your Novel is the Quick Start Guide of the writer's lifestyle then Writing Down The Bones is the in-depth, O'Reilly-published "Missing Manual".

I did not like Walter Mosley's book as much as Natalie Goldberg's. This one went into some mechanics but didn't seem to speak from the soul, didn't seem to speak to what motivates a writer
Aug 13, 2007 Kecia rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to write and has NO CLUE where to start
Shelves: books-on-writing
I blew through this little book in a little under an hour while hanging out at the Des Moines Public Library waiting for my friend to finish his volunteer duty at the Iowa State Fair.

I've never used the "You would recommend this book to" field before in a review but I feel it's useful here because with this book Mosley is addressing a very specific type of reader: the person who has never ever picked up, read, or possibly even heard of any kind of how-to about writing. For that reader, this is a
Leslie Reese
What's great about this book is that it isn't high-falutin' and uptight---just about 103 pages of conversational prose. Sometimes as an aspiring writer I get caught-up in the "magic" and the little rituals and support-group-moaning about "facing the blank page" waaaa-waaaa-waaaaa and blah blah blah. Walter Mosley's little book says "Listen: let me relieve you of all this mystique and nonsense. If you can commit to these very basic directives, you can write a novel. It may not be a literary smash ...more
This brief book has a very direct, no-nonsense style with plenty of examples to help the fledgling novelist get started on his or her first effort. Like every book about writing, it emphasizes that writing is a practice, not an impulsive creative act. Yet it also allows that there are several approaches to the same end.

Those who have been studying writing for a while may find the level of description too elementary, but I believe there are always fundamentals that even the cleverest of us have s
Friend the Girl
Mar 11, 2009 Friend the Girl rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a novel writer who needs baby steps
I'm actually very disappointed in Mosley for writing such a bland and uninspiring call to take up pens and write. For being such a talented and prolific author himself, you'd think he would have a little more enthusiasm for the art itself, and more wisdom to impart on the aspiring novelist. If you need some help, advice, or motivation in getting your own writing started, I'd recommend The Modern Library Writer's Workshop. Now that book will light a fire under your arse.
Caroline Frechette
A very good first book to read if you're just starting out learning about writing. Still a good read if you're somewhat experienced. It presents all the concepts you must know about writing in a very succinct way (sometimes too succinct, I must say). It does one of the best jobs I've seen so far of explaining the art and function of dialogue.
It could have been a little longer, but otherwise the book basically says write every day for 3 months. After that read the whole Draft through and decide if you want to spend another 9 months of your life revising. Then tips after that. After revising, read the whole manuscript aloud and tape it. Then play back the tape to fine tune the words. Nice distinction between intuitive (aka write without an outline) and structured (outline first) writers and how a person doesn't have to be one or the o ...more
Holger Haase
Whenever it comes to any kind of creative project I seem to have an inate ability to do bits and pieces but never ever to bring a larger project to fruition.

Rather than actually advancing any of these projects a step further I decided to procrastinate and read two books by novelists who for just this one publication turned Creativity Agony Aunt.

Steven Pressfield: The War of Art

Initially aimed at writers but this has allegedly also become a Must Read for all different kinds of artists.

The first h
Tony Quick
At 103 pages, Walter Mosley's This Year You Write Your Novel is a fast read that packs a good deal of practical advice for first time readers or seasoned writers that need a review of basic skills. For those who read craft novels or have attended an MFA program, some of the information will seem familiar but all well worth review. Mosley's book breaks down into five sections:

I. General Disciplines THat Every Writer Needs
II. The Elements of Fiction
III. Where to Begin
IV. Rewriting, or Editing
V. Mi
The people who wrote negative reviews are right that there is nothing new in this book (if you have read other things on writing). What is nice about it is that Mosley packs in all the really essential bits into 100 easy pages, thereby saving you from reading a shit ton of other boring how-to writing books. So you can actually get to writing.
Jessica Rosner
For what this book is, a basic instruction book to write your first novel, I found it to be simple and perfect. There is no coddling, no sympathy for laziness, no straying into sentimentality and irrelevant topics. It is also entertaining. Having read it, I actually believed I could write a novel. Not necessarily a good novel, but a novel.
If you write novels, or want to write a novel, buy this book. Buy it for the advice. But most of all, buy it for the title. Then leave it where you will see it every day!

Read for Fun (Library)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Helpful Rating: 4.00
Tips Rating: 4.00

First Thought when Finished: I read This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley in one sitting!

Overall Thoughts: This book was beginning to end chalk full of helpful tips for the first time writer. It wasn't really anything I have not heard before but the layout was simple, clean, and easy to follow. There were plenty of "note" worthy things to jot down and most of all it served the purpose of getting me excited t
An important book given to me by a close friend.
Lisa Louie
Mosely's writing book is the first of its kind that I had ever read (except for How Not to Write a Novel which was written by two publishers), and it was outstanding. In a concise and cogent manner, Mosely makes the case that writing a novel is a matter of getting in touch with one's unconscious which is the part that tells the kinds of truths that make for good fiction, and then getting out of the way long enough to let the unconscious dream out the story onto paper. Mosely recommends regarding ...more
Jessica Ferguson
I picked up This Year You Write your Novel by Walter Mosley the other day because I've been wanting to read it and because it's very short--less than 25,000 words, with lots of punch. I'm reading with hi-liter in hand, marking those passages that make me want to toss the book aside and get back to writing. Those are the good ones. Good, GREAT passages inspire me, motivate me, make me wiggle with anticipation for my own writing accomplishments.

Walter Mosley is the author of 38+ books, including
Jowel Uddin

This Year You Write Your Novel Review
At first, one is skeptical, a book about how to write a novel within a year? One immediately dismisses all expectations of actually learning anything from such a book yet after reading the captivating pages, page after page, that same writer beings to admire this fine work of Walter Mosley. As Michael Cunningham once said, “A writer always feels like he's in over his head”, and this beautiful rendition of how to craft the purposeful prose of the novel by W
Catherine Grant
Walter Mosley is a very successful and prolific author and has the credibility to write a book about his craft. However, this book feels like he wrote it at gunpoint. Books about writing, written by successful authors who put a little love into their "How To," are ON WRITING by Stephen King, ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING by Ray Bradbury or BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. Mosley should have titled it "How to Be A Writer: A Beginners Guide." This book is extremely spartan and gives the kind of general ad ...more
He comentado muchas veces que uno de los aspectos que tiene que cultivar todo escritor si quiere mejorar su escritura es estudiar técnica. Mejorar la construcción de personajes, definir un tema concreto y que todos los elementos de la trama se ajusten a él o escribir buenos diálogos son solo unos cuantos aspectos que está bien estudiar para poder mejorar. Quizás seas un Stephen King (siempre se pone de ejemplo a King) y no lo necesites, pero a los demás puede sernos de utilidad. Como en todo, ha ...more
As a novice writer, I eagerly search out books that might help me produce quality work. "This Year You Write Your Novel" was definitely a title that caught my attention. Walter Mosley presents in 110 or so pages how a new writer should structure their time. He talks about first and third person narratives and the lesser known omniscient narrator and the pros and cons about each.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is when the author would show examples by writing a short piece and
Of all the many, many, many, many "rah-rah you can and will do it" books on getting started writing your novel - never mind that we're simply procrastinating by reading yet another - this book is wonderful. It's nothing we haven't heard, and nothing we don't already know. But it's a splendid little read. The only other author who inspired like this was King's "On Writing". It's quick and easy but potent.
The book is a pragmatic guide to getting your novel out of your head and onto the page or screen. I appreciated the simple instructions and specifically the discussion of character development, dialogue and structure vs. intuitive approach.

It serves as an essay in some sections, sharing more about Mosley's own practices than a how-to guide for every author. He recommends that writers spend *at least* 1.5 hours every day, and says that he spends 3 hours every day no matter where he is. He dismiss
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  • Description
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
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  • Description & Setting
Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numero ...more
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“The process of writing a novel is like taking a journey by boat. You have to continually set yourself on course. If you get distracted or allow yourself to drift, you will never make it to the destination. It's not like highly defined train tracks or a highway; this is a path that you are creating discovering. The journey is your narrative. Keep to it and there will be a tale told.” 11 likes
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