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This Year You Write Your Novel

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  860 Ratings  ·  175 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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Jason Koivu
Aug 12, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
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
Mar 29, 2015 Didi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody ho's interested in writing a novel
I'm so glad I bought this book. Firstly it's short but too the point. Walter Mosley breaks down how to approach creative writing realistically. He shatters a lot of myths and encourages novice writers to get to work. Following the advice of Mosley one should be able to finish writing a 50,000 word novel in one year. That doesn't mean it will be perfect and publishable, but it will be something to work with and improve later. It was refreshing to read his take on POVs, rewriting, editing, and dia ...more
Apr 19, 2008 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Dec 16, 2012 Benjamin D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 20, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Aug 13, 2007 Kecia rated it liked it  ·  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
Oct 20, 2014 Leslie Reese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: about-writing
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
Falisha Smith
Jan 15, 2016 Falisha Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was short and simple. I loved it. It gave me even more fire in my belly to continue writing my book and not give up. Hopefully it also will help me make it higher quality as well:)
Bill  Kerwin

This book gives you pretty much the same advice that the other books like this one give, but it is good to hear such advice from Mosley: a writer you can respect, a writer who writes regularly and well. Besides, I was ready to hear such advice, for I've hit a roadblock in the novel I began sixteen months ago. Creative inspiration--which I've relied on since my lyric poetry days--is no longer doing the trick, and I needed a kick in the rear to start me writing again.

Mosley was just the kick I nee
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 it was ok  ·  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 write
Dec 23, 2009 Fred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
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 it was ok  ·  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.
Nov 11, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David Withun
Jun 10, 2012 David Withun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: language
Concise and to the point. Great tips for any aspiring author (like myself) and kept brief and open to variation. Mosley is one of my favorite authors -- who better to take writing advice from? This book was more like a little personal guidance from your mentor than it was one of those cook-cutter "how to write and get published" books that get churned out of the mill every year. I'll definitely be putting much of his advice in this book into practice soon.
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.
Jessica Rosner
Jun 20, 2013 Jessica Rosner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Feb 09, 2009 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!

Sep 11, 2015 Gökçe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kısa ama yazmak için gaz verdi.
Jan 21, 2009 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this
Jan 11, 2012 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important book given to me by a close friend.
Stan James
Nov 29, 2016 Stan James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This is a brief but solid overview on the basics of putting together a first novel. Mosley doesn't go into great detail, he just lays down some rules, some less-strict guidelines, offers suggestions, often gives the writer the thumbs-up to do something however best it works for him and really, really believes in the idea of rewriting.

His advice comes down to a few essentials, most of which will be familiar to anyone who has read any how-to's on writing:

* set up a daily routine:
- write every day
Dec 08, 2016 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Walter Mosley. His book is a promise, that if you can talk, write, or sign, you can write the first draft of a novel within a year - if you follow his advice. And good advice it is, and well written, of course! Short, and most encouraging to people who need it most, and whom we need the most in the field: writers of color, Indigenous writers, young and old. And better writers, too, which is why I've read it, twice.
Jan 09, 2017 Noel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: insightful
"This year you write your novel" was very insightful to new authors. Walter Mosley gives his two cents about the writing process and how to refine your work in a very informative way without going overboard on the details; he gets straight to the point. I learned more than I expected to from reading this book and I plan to use the knowledge I've gained from it while writing my current novel. one thing this book drills into you is that discipline is important and making yourself write everyday.
G. Marie
Nov 01, 2016 G. Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even if you don't want to write a novel, ever, this is an interesting book for a reader of novels. I've begun reading fiction differently — analyzing dialog and descriptions, enjoying the craft in a new way. Also, Walter Mosley is just a joy to read. It's a small book. Give it a try!
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
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
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
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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.” 13 likes
“The reader is always looking for two things in the novel: themselves and transcendence.” 1 likes
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