Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Books: This Year You Write Your Novel

This Year You Write Your Novel
By Walter Mosley
Copyright 2007
115 pages

Walter Mosley is the author of nearly 40 books, most of them mysteries of some sort. He is most famous for Devil in the Blue Dress, which was made into a movie. He writes the Easy Rawlins series.

This book on writing is a slim little volume packed with information. As a primer on writing, I don't know that I have read any better. I think I will read this book at least annually if only to remind me of what I am supposed to be doing.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was Mosley's emphasis on poetry and the music of language. "Poetry is the fount of all writing. Without a deep understanding of poetry and its practices, any power the writer might have is greatly diminished," he writes (62).

The other thing Mosley advocates is rewriting. And rewriting. And rewriting again. He suggests going through your novel about 25 times (!) before you even think of it as done. The rewriting process comes across as a sacred modality to this author, and I appreciated this honesty about process. It's something you see but it is not encouraged to this degree.

To rewrite, he suggests sitting down and reading through the novel, then reading it again to rewrite it. You should also read the entire thing aloud, preferably into a recorder, and then play it all back and listen to it. This is the hard work of writing.

Definitely a keeper.

1 comment:

  1. Funny how things work. Early this morning a Facebook friend who is writing a book said she had hit a wall, and had serious doubts about whether it was worth going ahead with it. A couple of hours later I came here and read this, and shared the link to the book with her. She's very happy!


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