Elements of Fiction

Elements of Fiction

Book - 2019
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"In his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley supplied aspiring writers with the basic tools and practical advice needed to write a novel in a single year. In this complementary follow up, Mosley guides the reader through the fundamental building blocks of fiction to deliver a master class on the writer's craft. In a series of conversational and instructive chapters, Mosley breaks down the art of fiction to its most essential elements: character and character development, plot and story, voice and narrative, context and description. The result is a detailed depiction of the writing process, from the blank page to the first draft to rewriting, and rewriting again. Throughout, Elements of Fiction is enriched by the author's reflection on his own methods and enlivened by engaging demonstrative examples, not drawn from other literary works but written by Mosley himself. Inspiring, accessible, and told in a voice both trustworthy and wise, Elements of Fiction is an indispensable book of tips, tools, and advice for writers and readers alike"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press : Distributed by Publishers Group West 2019
Edition: First hardcover edition
ISBN: 9780802147639
0802147631
Characteristics: xii, 115 pages ; 22 cm
Call Number: 808.3 MOS

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Chapel_Hill_MaiaJ Jul 02, 2019

Mosley's writing is like sitting down with a wise teacher to have a conversation about the literary arts. He frequently addresses us directly, 'my fellow writer,' and starts new chapters by announcing that in re-reading what he's written so far, he realized something new that needs to be addressed. It truly feels like a conversation, like I could almost hear him speaking in my mind as I read.

This is not a guidebook but a reflection and passing on of hard-learned wisdom. Although there is not much in this book that is completely new to those of us who have read many different books by writers on writing, I appreciated his original takes on common themes, straightforward language, and his illustrative examples, which helped me understand those themes more deeply than I did before. For example, he opens the book talking about the child-mind. This is something I've heard before, and I thought I knew what it meant. But he wrote this little tangential, playful description of the child-mind that took my understanding to new depths. Throughout the book, Mosley walks us through the thought process of each important skill of the novelist by literally proposing a storyline and expanding on it in a natural thought process, taking us on the writer's journey with him. I found his examples illuminating, and also reassuring that I'm not the only one who ever struggles with an idea.

The last two chapters in particular were extremely encouraging and felt like the most passionate section in the whole book. Those chapters alone make it worth picking up.

I read this book in one sitting--it's only 128 pages--and I think it's worthwhile for any writer to read and reflect on. I'd especially recommend it to writers who are just setting out, who may not have received the kind of guidance and knowledge that Mosley shares here. Of all the books on writing I've read, I think this is the most direct and easy to understand, while not being prescriptive. Mosley simply offers up his own learning to help us expand our thinking about novel writing, and I personally found it very helpful in shaping my thoughts.

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