Monday, June 08, 2009

Bookmarks--This Year You Write Your Novel

I rarely have use for magazines that are supposed to be for writers where fairly young authors tell you, as if they have been writing and publishing for decades, some kernel of wisdom about that one thing your story or novel or poem supposedly needs to be publishable or at least so wonderful that no one would dare reject it. And books on writing are sometimes so self-indulgent and thoughtless, I wonder how these people sometimes made it out of Advanced Composition.

But Walter Mosley’s slim little book promises what it delivers. Following his clear, simple advice, one could actually compose a short novel and significantly revise the draft within a year. And this doesn’t come from a guy you haven’t heard of who just happened to get a book in print a couple years ago. This is from the mind of one of America’s best selling and most respected authors.

Mosley's main advice is to write every day. Simple? Yes, and no. A writer writes, I'm told, but so much of what Mosley talks about here is just why it is necessary to carve out that time, and not use other things (like research) as excuses to put off writing. Mosley also provides practical ideas on how to accomplish revision, an integral and oft neglected part of all writing. In addition, This Year You Write Your Novel gives some good pointers on another habitually ignored part of the writing process: reading. I particularly liked what he had to say about the value of reading poetry and the pitfalls of the writer’s group.

This Year You Write Your Novel is a book that should be on the bookshelf of every beginning novelist, but is well worth the purchase for some who have been writing a while. In fact, because it contains ideas concerning writing of all kinds, if I taught Advanced Composition, I’d probably assign the book in that class as well.

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