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Book Review: This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley

This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley is a book on fiction novel writing. It’s aimed at inspiring writers looking to complete their novel within a span of a year.

In my last article I reviewed Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley. It is the second book in Walter Mosley’s two writing novels. As I am currently on own my writing journey. I have decided to share with you which books are helping me develop my creative writing abilities.

Book Cover This Year You Write Your Novel
Book Cover This Year You Write Your Novel – Image from Amazon


This Year You Write Your Novel is for aspiring fiction writers. The author does not make any promises he can’t keep – such as:

  • You’ll write a bestseller
  • You’ll become rich
  • You’ll be a famous author

Instead, he gives it to you straight. You’ll have all the tools you need to know in order to write a book. If you work hard and consistently and stick to the project, you may even write a good book. As an aspiring fiction writer myself, this is the perfect start. In the next section I’ll mention all the elements of fiction that you’ll learn in the book.

What You’ll Learn

Here are the elements of fiction outline in This Year You Write Your Novel:

  • Narrative Voice
    • First person
    • Third Person
    • Omniscient Narrator
  • Showing and Telling
    • Active and metaphorical
    • Events, active characters, vivid images, real dialogue
  • Crafting a pedestrian style of writing
  • Metaphor and Simile
  • Character and Character development
  • Central event/ plot
  • On character
    • Character transitions
    • traits, attributes
    • conflict
  • Poetry – “the fount of all writing,” as Mosley refers to it.
  • How to begin
  • How to overcome the midlands of the novel
  • Research
  • Dialogue
  • Music, Genre, Advice for Writers

What I loved

The format and length of this book. If you want to get started on writing your novel as soon as possible this book is great. It gives you all the resources you’ll need to get started as soon as possible. In other words, you’ll gain an understanding of each element that composes a novel.

The length of this novel is incredible short. You can probably complete this book in one sitting even if you’re a busy person. On audible you can find the audiobook. It’s less than 3 hours at 1X speed listening. Walter Mosley’s two books on writing combined make up less than six hours of listening time.

My next favorite component of this book is how Mosley weaves his fiction writing with the nonfiction instruction. When discussing an element of fiction writing such as character or dialogue the other weaves his own fiction writing examples so that the reader gets a taste of how good creative writing should sound.

What I didn’t enjoy

Mosley is a very talented writer. He weaves his narrative fiction into the text to demonstrated how he crafts his stories. Yet, the subject matters he writes about in these examples are not G rated. I must note here that I have never read any of his fiction novels.  I have only read his two nonfiction books on the topic of writing fiction.

I can imagine that the subjects he writes about in his novels are not family-friendly. That’s completely fine. It’s just not my taste of fiction – that’s all.

I have an issue with recommending this book to friends and relatives interested in writing a novel. In order for me to give this book as a recommendation to someone I have to include an asterisk statement.

This book has help me understand what is fiction made of and it’s helped me to structure my fiction writing. This book has been a source of invaluable insight. Since reading it, I feel more capable of beginning my fiction writing journey.


The authors views are not my own. This book is not for anyone unwilling to read touchy subjects or anything above G rated content. I could not tell someone to skip the parts where the author shows his fiction. The examples assist the reader in understanding how fiction is crafted.

The author’s sample fiction writing throughout the book deals with heavy subjects. Still, I can say that this book has been foundational and formative for my work going forward. I recommend it for anyone wanting to get into fiction writing.

If you enjoyed this summary of be sure to check out Elements of Fiction by the same author. It’s the second installment in this short series.



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Book Review: Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley

This is a review on the book: Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley. This is book is aimed at aspiring fiction writers. As I am on this journey myself, I will be including articles on books for writers on my blog.

The book, Elements of Fiction is a follow up to Walter Mosley’s first writing nonfiction work, This Year You Write Your Novel. If you haven’t read that’s fine.

Quick Recap of This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley

I didn’t read the book until after I completed this book. In the introduction of Elements of Fiction, Mosley notes what was covered in his first book and gives a quick recap. “Some years ago I published a monograph entitled This Year You Write Your Novel. It was meant to show the layman what the structure of a novel might be in its simplest form and also where content comes from and where it belongs,” Introduction to Elements of Fiction.

Book Cover This Year You Write Your Novel
Book Cover This Year You Write Your Novel – Image from Amazon

Lessons from the book, This Year:

  • Write Every Day
  • Decide on Point of View
  • Understand Metaphor and Simile
  • Plot and Story
  • Character and Character Development
  • Importance of Language
  • Poetry
  • Writing and rewriting

Although, I would encourage you read This Year You Write Your Novel, it is not necessary for understanding the contents in Mosley’s second book. After I completed this book, I went back and read This Year. It was fine.

So What Are The Elements of Fiction?

In the words of Walter Mosley, they are:

“These elements are, among other things: character and character development, plot and story, Voice and narrative, context and description, content and the blank page and, of course, intentional structure versus vast troves of unconscious material.”

The Elements:

  • Character & Character Development
  • Plot and Story
  • Voice and narrative
  • Context and description
  • Content and the blank page
  • Intentional structure

The Structure of This Book:

This book is very compact. It is rich with instructional guide and fiction narrative sample weave through the each of the lessons. Mosley’s writing talent are on full display as he shows you how to create your own narrative work.

The book is a very short read. The audiobook is less than 3 hours long. However, don’t let the length of the book fool you. It is rich in best writing advice you’ll find anywhere.

The book structure is straight forward. Each chapter builds on the previous chapter as well as defining the character of each writing element that makes up a work of fiction.

What I Didn’t Enjoy About This Book:

Let me preface this section of my review with two points. I am not familiar with Walter Mosley’s works of fiction. Secondly, I am aware that Mosley is a very talented writer.

Ok, now my negative critique. Mosley, in my opinion, will touch on the subjects of sex, politics, and violence when conveying samples of how fiction should be written.

I could see this upsetting readers. Mosley, does mention that he does this because it’s the motivation behind writing the story, for driving character motivation, and for telling a story with common ground between the writer and the readers.

Although, I did feel unsettled or off-put reading some of these sections, I want to reiterate that Mosley is a brilliant writer and I enjoyed getting a sample of his craft.

How Elements of Fiction differs from This Year You Write Your Novel:

This Year, covers the structure of what makes a novel. It also provides practical advice for novice or aspiring fiction writers.

Elements of Fiction, takes a closer look at each specific element of writing that goes into crafting a work of fiction.

For the most part I focus on reviewing and summarizing classic novels. This year I decided to broaden my blog niche and discuss books on writing as well. This is because I am currently on a writing journey. I’m hoping to write a fiction book. I will soon be reviewing This Year You Write Your Novel by the same author.

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