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In his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley supplied aspiring writers with the basic tools to write a novel in one year. In this com-plementary follow up, Mosley guides the writer through the elements of not just any fiction writing, but the kind of writing that transcends convention and truly stands out. How does one approach the genius o In his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley supplied aspiring writers with the basic tools to write a novel in one year. In this com-plementary follow up, Mosley guides the writer through the elements of not just any fiction writing, but the kind of writing that transcends convention and truly stands out. How does one approach the genius of writers like Melville, Dickens, or Twain? In The Elements of Fiction, Walter Mosley contemplates the answer. In a series of instructive and conversational chapters, Mosley demonstrates how to master fiction's most essential elements: character and char-acter development, plot and story, voice and narrative, context and description, and more. The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from the blank page to the first draft to rewriting, and rewriting again. Throughout, The Elements of Fiction is enriched by brilliant demonstrative examples that Mosley himself has written here for the first time. Inspiring, accessible, and told in a voice both trustworthy and wise, The Elements of Fiction writing will intrigue and encourage writers and readers alike.


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In his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley supplied aspiring writers with the basic tools to write a novel in one year. In this com-plementary follow up, Mosley guides the writer through the elements of not just any fiction writing, but the kind of writing that transcends convention and truly stands out. How does one approach the genius o In his essential writing guide, This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley supplied aspiring writers with the basic tools to write a novel in one year. In this com-plementary follow up, Mosley guides the writer through the elements of not just any fiction writing, but the kind of writing that transcends convention and truly stands out. How does one approach the genius of writers like Melville, Dickens, or Twain? In The Elements of Fiction, Walter Mosley contemplates the answer. In a series of instructive and conversational chapters, Mosley demonstrates how to master fiction's most essential elements: character and char-acter development, plot and story, voice and narrative, context and description, and more. The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from the blank page to the first draft to rewriting, and rewriting again. Throughout, The Elements of Fiction is enriched by brilliant demonstrative examples that Mosley himself has written here for the first time. Inspiring, accessible, and told in a voice both trustworthy and wise, The Elements of Fiction writing will intrigue and encourage writers and readers alike.

30 review for Elements of Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    lark benobi

    Who is this book good for? For a writer who struggles to make her fiction conform to its original intention, or to follow the outline--only to discover that she's throttled the life out of it. It's also for those writers who are too interested in idea, and in thesis, even when writing fiction, and forget to let their stories breathe and meander. Reading this book feels something like going to a mountaintop to see a great wise holy person, and then thinking you're hearing a lot of sound-of-one-ha Who is this book good for? For a writer who struggles to make her fiction conform to its original intention, or to follow the outline--only to discover that she's throttled the life out of it. It's also for those writers who are too interested in idea, and in thesis, even when writing fiction, and forget to let their stories breathe and meander. Reading this book feels something like going to a mountaintop to see a great wise holy person, and then thinking you're hearing a lot of sound-of-one-hand-clapping nonsense...and yet, in spite of my skeptical brain having doubts, I came away in the end feeling blessed and enlightened. Opening my mind to Mosley's thinking led to interesting outcomes. The biggest revelation was how important it is to remember--and to really BELIEVE--that the story you're writing is bigger than what you can imagine for it, in your own head, and that you have nothing to lose by letting your story tell itself any damn way it wants to. You can clean it up on the second draft. As a writer who tends to skip any leaps of faith when they come around in my daily writing life, I found this book transformative.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rami Hamze

    Easy read especially with font size 16. Yet nothing new, no takeaways to mention.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ginger Bensman

    Here Mosley talks about the characteristics that make fine fiction. I would venture to say this is more a philosophy of writing than a "how to" book, although there is plenty to help a writer ponder and improve. For instance, he discusses what good fiction can have in common with jazz and poetry, and the alchemy that needs to happen between writer and reader. As both a writer and reader of fiction, I loved this book! Here Mosley talks about the characteristics that make fine fiction. I would venture to say this is more a philosophy of writing than a "how to" book, although there is plenty to help a writer ponder and improve. For instance, he discusses what good fiction can have in common with jazz and poetry, and the alchemy that needs to happen between writer and reader. As both a writer and reader of fiction, I loved this book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maia

    I'm so glad I picked up this advance reader copy from Edelweiss. 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 I'm so glad I picked up this advance reader copy from Edelweiss. 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mohamad Ismail

    Profound and perhaps the best book I've read this year. Mosley is such a beautiful wordsmith that you enjoy reading his mastery of how he explains things in words, almost irrespective of what he is explaining. On the surface, the book seems to be about writing advice, and in particular, what makes good fiction, good. It is much more than that. For me, Mosley diminishes the word ineffable slightly, because he explains things I thought were unexplainable via prose. This book can be applied to art, Profound and perhaps the best book I've read this year. Mosley is such a beautiful wordsmith that you enjoy reading his mastery of how he explains things in words, almost irrespective of what he is explaining. On the surface, the book seems to be about writing advice, and in particular, what makes good fiction, good. It is much more than that. For me, Mosley diminishes the word ineffable slightly, because he explains things I thought were unexplainable via prose. This book can be applied to art, to business, to life, and broadly speaking, to connecting to your subconscious. It's a phenomenal, short, but deep read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Having just read Walter Mosley’s op ed in The New York Times about leaving the writing room of an unnamed TV show, I was interested in his new book, “Elements of Fiction,” because I wanted to hear more about his life and experiences as a writer. But “Elements of Fiction” is not that book—if you pick it up looking for a memoir with writing advice along the lines of “Draft No. 4” by John McPhee or Robert Caro’s “Working,” you might be disappointed. If, however, you’re looking for an inventive take Having just read Walter Mosley’s op ed in The New York Times about leaving the writing room of an unnamed TV show, I was interested in his new book, “Elements of Fiction,” because I wanted to hear more about his life and experiences as a writer. But “Elements of Fiction” is not that book—if you pick it up looking for a memoir with writing advice along the lines of “Draft No. 4” by John McPhee or Robert Caro’s “Working,” you might be disappointed. If, however, you’re looking for an inventive take on a writing how-to guide, “Elements” is well worth the read. Mosley writes that “the creation of a novel is akin to a mad scramble up a mountainside layered with loose pebbles. Any handhold or solid ground you can find will be a blessing.” “Elements” is full of those handholds, as Mosley takes the reader through a series of hypothetical plots and characters and poses all the questions a writer needs to ask along the way to producing a finished book. For someone like me, who isn’t planning on writing a book any time soon (or, in fact, probably ever), Molsey’s book was a quick read and an entertaining look at how fiction is constructed. I can imagine that aspiring writers, however, will want to read “Elements” slowly and will be highlighting practically the entire book. Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Press for providing me an ARC of this book in return for my honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Flynn

    As a struggling novelist myself, I understand perfectly that there is no book of instructions, no program guide, that can tell you how to write a novel. The only way to learn to write a novel is to by writing one. And unfortunately that only works for that particular novel; it doesn't make it easier to write a second one, or so has been my experience at least. Yet knowing this can't stop me from reading books of writing advice. I guess I keep thinking even one small piece of guidance might help w As a struggling novelist myself, I understand perfectly that there is no book of instructions, no program guide, that can tell you how to write a novel. The only way to learn to write a novel is to by writing one. And unfortunately that only works for that particular novel; it doesn't make it easier to write a second one, or so has been my experience at least. Yet knowing this can't stop me from reading books of writing advice. I guess I keep thinking even one small piece of guidance might help with this voyage into the unknown. Walter Mosley's contribution to the crowded field is very interesting, because "Elements of Fiction" is written in a way that replicates the confusion, the randomness, the groping around in the dark, that is the experience of writing a novel. Despite this the book is not itself confusing but beautiful and true and even at times funny. I liked Elements of Fiction a lot, and to see why, look at my highlights.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zulfiya

    Such a wonderful quirky book. It might be an instruction manual on how to write novel, or a long lecture on the same subject matter, or a self-confessional monologue or simply a writer's diary about the nature of fiction and its creation. I do like the tone. It is as if you are indeed in the presence of Walter Mosley who finds the most beautiful but also approachable way to describe writing as a very intimate process of creation; thus, I felt initiated while I was reading it. P.S. I really love Such a wonderful quirky book. It might be an instruction manual on how to write novel, or a long lecture on the same subject matter, or a self-confessional monologue or simply a writer's diary about the nature of fiction and its creation. I do like the tone. It is as if you are indeed in the presence of Walter Mosley who finds the most beautiful but also approachable way to describe writing as a very intimate process of creation; thus, I felt initiated while I was reading it. P.S. I really love how he plays on our literary gender stereotypes and expectations, using the pronoun " she" every time an average reader would expect "he", even when he alluded to someone/no one with the capital G, aka G.O.D., he used the pronoun "she", and I found it profoundly hilarious.

  9. 4 out of 5

    T'challa

    I thoroughly enjoy the teachings of Mr. Mosley. I am a fan of his writing, so being able to see how his mind works is a gift. His improvisations weave his theories into practice right before your eyes. He takes the reader on a journey of elaborate vocabulary and vivid pictures of voice, plot device and character development. The most important key for any writer is to write every day. The only thing I disagree with is the importance of reading. I understand Mr. Mosley's point about the impact of I thoroughly enjoy the teachings of Mr. Mosley. I am a fan of his writing, so being able to see how his mind works is a gift. His improvisations weave his theories into practice right before your eyes. He takes the reader on a journey of elaborate vocabulary and vivid pictures of voice, plot device and character development. The most important key for any writer is to write every day. The only thing I disagree with is the importance of reading. I understand Mr. Mosley's point about the impact of what you read on words you have yet to put on page. I still believe reading is an education within itself. Nevertheless this book is a great resource and I believe I am a better writer because I read it. (Did you catch that?)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Clifford

    This is a motivating, high-level, and non-condescending essay on writing novels. Mosley stresses the importance of curiosity and patience when taking up the task of writing - and he reminds us why it should be a limitless experience rather than a calculated chore.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Crow

    Great examples Walter Mosley is a great storyteller and an equally great teacher. This gem of a book will help every writer find the right tools to bring your novel to life. I highly recommend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tim Beck

    Nothing extraordinary or ground breaking about this book - however, it did give my brain a needed boost.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicki Markus

    Elements of Fiction was an interesting, entertaining and quick read. Mosley's prose flows nicely and its tone is lyrical. However, I think readers need to be aware of what they are getting from this work. It does include a few tips and suggestions, but on the whole it is a reflection on the writing process, rather than a how-to manual, and anyone approaching it expecting the latter will be disappointed. For me personally, it raised a few interesting thoughts and ideas, and it was a pleasant even Elements of Fiction was an interesting, entertaining and quick read. Mosley's prose flows nicely and its tone is lyrical. However, I think readers need to be aware of what they are getting from this work. It does include a few tips and suggestions, but on the whole it is a reflection on the writing process, rather than a how-to manual, and anyone approaching it expecting the latter will be disappointed. For me personally, it raised a few interesting thoughts and ideas, and it was a pleasant evening's read, looking at another author's approach to and feelings about the writing process. As such, I am giving it four stars. I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lana Mitchell

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I think I will be returning to Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley, again and again, to reread the advice and suggestions offered in the book. He says for example on 115, the last page, "The purpose of this book has been to show by example and intention how deeply you can go into your mind, excavating a world worth the struggle, the many thousands of hours, and just the right words." "...excavating a world worth the struggle..." I like the phrase and will remember it as I write short stories, p I think I will be returning to Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley, again and again, to reread the advice and suggestions offered in the book. He says for example on 115, the last page, "The purpose of this book has been to show by example and intention how deeply you can go into your mind, excavating a world worth the struggle, the many thousands of hours, and just the right words." "...excavating a world worth the struggle..." I like the phrase and will remember it as I write short stories, poetry, etc. Mosley does say that it is a good resource, useful for those genres too. I'm in the reading mode right now. I've started two other works.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Martha Crites

    I love this book because it is clear that Mosley loves fiction.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Shaffer

    I would point readers to his first writing book, THIS YEAR YOU WRITE YOUR NOVEL. I found that one much more straightforward and user-friendly, especially for beginning writers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    What is it that makes people want to write about writing?  Part of the reason why, at least to me, is because writing is one of those crafts that has a high degree of impostor syndrome about it, where people self-identify as writers and then seek to justify their identities to themselves and others.  When one is engaged in a task where one's achievements are perhaps a bit limited (although that is not the case here) or where one's identity may be called into account, or where the legitimacy of o What is it that makes people want to write about writing?  Part of the reason why, at least to me, is because writing is one of those crafts that has a high degree of impostor syndrome about it, where people self-identify as writers and then seek to justify their identities to themselves and others.  When one is engaged in a task where one's achievements are perhaps a bit limited (although that is not the case here) or where one's identity may be called into account, or where the legitimacy of one's efforts are definitely less than obvious, the human tendency to justify oneself is immense and this book is certainly an example of that.  The author has a particular perspective and worldview and background and this book shapes that heavily, as the author tries to justify the "truths of his heart" that contradict the objective facts of existence that he finds somewhat unpleasant or even problematic.  Perhaps it is unsurprising that this is so, as it would likely be the case for anyone who is writing a book like this.  But that is why there are so many efforts like this one where people subjectively, out of their own biases and perspectives, seek to advice others as a means of helping them better justify themselves. This book is a short collection of the author's thoughts about writing that is a bit more than 100 pages.  The author begins with a preface that seeks to frame and justify this work and the author's own perspective on writing and creativity in general.  After that the author discusses an introduction where he (as is customary in this sort of effort) also plugs another book he has written.  The author then discusses the structure of revelation that appears in the author's writing (not surprising given the author's interest in mysteries) while also wrestling with structure in fiction and the blank page.  The author uses his own writings and ideas to address the questions of scope, character, and context in literature.  The author spends some time looking at narrative voice and details and spends a few short essays on description.  The author also deals with questions of rewriting and originality while also discussing the need to take a breather and the question of both improvising and putting things together.  By and large this book feels like it was constructed out of blog entries, which is not the worst thing but is certainly far less universal and far more of a personal essay than the ponderous title would indicate. That said, just because this book is an exercise in self-justification and that I do not necessarily find the author's work all that edifying does not mean that this work is therefore pointless.  Even where (perhaps even especially where) one's own perspective differs greatly from that of an author, a book is worthwhile in providing the point of view of an author, even apart from anything else that the book has to offer.  As someone who is not very acquainted with the author's works, I probably did not get as much out of this effort as someone would who was more favorable to his writings.  That said, even without a close familiarity with the author's other works, it was clear that the author was drawing upon his own writing (and presumably the body of experience and reading that his writing is informed by) as a way of making general points about writing.  As human beings we frequently seek to turn the particular matters we are most familiar with and then turn them into abstract and general truths that we seek to promote as being the case for areas where our experience is extremely partial and limited.  If this book speaks to you, use it.  If not, then know that it comes from the author's own subjective experience and perspective and seek to find one that speaks to you more.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Elements of Fiction is a guide/tutorial/master-class on elements of writing aimed at writers (or would-be writers) by well known author Walter Mosley. Released 3rd Sept. 2019 by Grove Atlantic on their Grove Press imprint, it's a concise 128 pages and available in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats. I've been a fan of Mr. Mosley's crime- and science- fiction for many years and although I don't really have any definite desires to be a writer my Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Elements of Fiction is a guide/tutorial/master-class on elements of writing aimed at writers (or would-be writers) by well known author Walter Mosley. Released 3rd Sept. 2019 by Grove Atlantic on their Grove Press imprint, it's a concise 128 pages and available in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats. I've been a fan of Mr. Mosley's crime- and science- fiction for many years and although I don't really have any definite desires to be a writer myself, it's always enlightening to get to see some of the nuts-and-bolts of the process going on behind the scenes. I was hoping for some step-by-step tutorials or hand holding 'start HERE and do this or that' type teaching. This is emphatically not that book. What it is, however, is a conversational treatise on the philosophy of the craft and scattered nuggets of real salient wisdom about what makes a good novel good and sometimes great. As an almost(?) neurotically active reader, I've often experienced having positive or negative feelings about a narrative and not easily being able to articulate precisely why. There were several gut-punch moments in this book which, for me, shone a light on some of those visceral reactions. I'm tempted to go back and re-read some of those books which confused me with an eye toward deconstructing them in terms of the information in this book. As a straight up how-to-write-a-novel tutorial, this isn't This Year You Write Your Novel . This book is much less focused on the writing process and more a long conversational essay on writing philosophy. The chapters are very loosely tied together, some of them segueing into the next chapter, some exploring a theme and then petering out. This is not a book with a logical layout and bullet point lists of information. Readers who are looking for easily found info-points, graphs, marketing or any related items will be disappointed. Those who are open to guidance from a lifetime of experience by a gifted writer will find much to assimilate in this book. Four stars. This is an information rich book, but in a philosophical manner. There are no easy opt-ins for the wisdom Mosley shares, we have to think about what he writes. I recommend it for readers who want to know the 'why' more than the 'how-to' of writing fiction. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    I found the book to be flying at warp speed most of the time, and yet I also frequently found myself having to re-read passages because my mind had wandered. Deceptively basic in format, Mosley's style of communication is at once straightforward and overdone in that he attempts to cut to the core of the things he has to say, but gets in his own way through long sentences and grandiose vocabulary choices. While I do respect that every writer's vocab and style is different, this particular experie I found the book to be flying at warp speed most of the time, and yet I also frequently found myself having to re-read passages because my mind had wandered. Deceptively basic in format, Mosley's style of communication is at once straightforward and overdone in that he attempts to cut to the core of the things he has to say, but gets in his own way through long sentences and grandiose vocabulary choices. While I do respect that every writer's vocab and style is different, this particular experience didn't really work for me. Another aspect that I found unfortunate was Mosley's insistence upon examples, as well as subsequent lengthy explorations of where those snippets of story might lead. While they're intended to serve as illustrations for his points, I found them wearisome and not as informative as if he had simply told us what he meant. As I'm someone who always welcomes examples, this rare instance in which I support telling over showing is surprising to discover. Nonetheless, I did read the entire (admittedly short) work, and found some good things to think on and employ concerning my own journey in writing. He did give me renewed courage in my decision to not attend a writing grad program in the second to last section, in which he absolutely guts the idea of paying thousands to listen to authors (who are not teachers) look at your work and tell you their subjective experiences. Unfortunately, in the same chapter, he also tells us that, "reading and writing... don't have a whole helluva lot to do with each other" (105). This goes hand-in-hand with his insistence that attending an MFA program is no guarantee of better writing, as only life experience and hard work can do that; yet I have no idea how any writer could conceive of improving themselves in either substance or technical craft without reading widely and hungrily. I've heard that his prior book on writing ('This Year You Write Your Novel') is perhaps better formed, and I am looking forward to giving that a go. But if his style remains the same, and if he again dismisses the value of reading, I'm not sure how seriously I'll be able to take his advice. While I will appreciate what things I have learned from it, 'Elements of Fiction' will not be a book I return to down the road.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vel Veeter

    I picked up this book from the new books shelf at the library while I was waiting for my oil to get changed. It’s a weirdly harmless book that annoyed in a few particular ways. I generally like Walter Mosley novels, but he’s got that thing that almost every prolific novelist has, the inability to not write a book that he’s thinking about writing. That’s why he’s published so many books in his career, and for every very good one, there’s some really really bad ones. So part of the issue is that I I picked up this book from the new books shelf at the library while I was waiting for my oil to get changed. It’s a weirdly harmless book that annoyed in a few particular ways. I generally like Walter Mosley novels, but he’s got that thing that almost every prolific novelist has, the inability to not write a book that he’s thinking about writing. That’s why he’s published so many books in his career, and for every very good one, there’s some really really bad ones. So part of the issue is that I agree that he definitely knows how to write books, but his compulsion and methodology would be hard to recreate in others. And that’s part of the problem. How do you capture a how-to guide for new writers if your system is sui generis to yourself? I think the opening sections of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair is the possible advice. Write 500 words a day and in a year you’ll have a novel. But here the advice is so obvious and on the nose, I can’t imagine anyone really needing to hear it in this way. Also this whole book is peppered with allusions to other works and I feel like if the reader of this book has read those books, they can’t possibly need the relatively elementary advice this book gives. If you’re reading Dostoyevsky, you don’t need advice like “well choose between first and third person”. Not to say you could write a book—I can’t—but I think you’d know what you needed to do at least. So this book feels like the opposite of a book like Save the Cat or The Art of Memoir which really take a teacher’s sense of how to write rather than a writer’s.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan H. LATER

    This review was inspired by my annotations. To view all my detailed annotations you are welcome to join my Patreon page (John Lawchamp). For $0.99 you can read my favorite lines and excerpts from the book with additional personal thoughts. The annotations are released once the review of that book has been posted on Goodreads. Why spend $15.00 on a book you are not invested in when you can explore the main topics for a fraction of the price? Visit Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Lawchamp John Law This review was inspired by my annotations. To view all my detailed annotations you are welcome to join my Patreon page (John Lawchamp). For $0.99 you can read my favorite lines and excerpts from the book with additional personal thoughts. The annotations are released once the review of that book has been posted on Goodreads. Why spend $15.00 on a book you are not invested in when you can explore the main topics for a fraction of the price? Visit Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Lawchamp John Lawchamp’s Review: This year I read another book on writing by Walter Mosley, and that one, I gave a 5 of 5. This one was okay, but didn't surpass his last book on the subject. However, this is not to say there is nothing to learn. Walter fixes our minds in what it means to be a writer. There is no need for college. The greatest writers never even had an opportunity to go to college yet their works are known globally. This book teaches by example. Walter goes in depth with fictional examples that he made up just to show you how you can develop a story. He goes through subjects such as character, voice, perspective, poetry, rewriting, and many others. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a short read to add to their library of Goodreads. But the money is probably not worth the amount of pages you are getting. I finished this book in 2 hours, just to give you an idea of length.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carey Calvert

    Although you may grasp its context while sitting in your easy chair, sipping your elixir of choice, cigar in one hand, perhaps a monocle affixed to your left eye, you would have to finish Walter Mosley's slim monograph, Elements of Fiction, to fully understand its purpose. ... which is "to show by example and intention how deeply you can go into your mind, excavating a world worth the struggle, the many thousands of hours, and just the right words." With such lofty aspirations for the writer, Mosl Although you may grasp its context while sitting in your easy chair, sipping your elixir of choice, cigar in one hand, perhaps a monocle affixed to your left eye, you would have to finish Walter Mosley's slim monograph, Elements of Fiction, to fully understand its purpose. ... which is "to show by example and intention how deeply you can go into your mind, excavating a world worth the struggle, the many thousands of hours, and just the right words." With such lofty aspirations for the writer, Mosley becomes a shift shaper, gently imploring the reader not with homilies but a conscientious effort of exploration of the vast cavern of the mind, one capable of accomplishing much more - if one just gets to it. It is not a manual offering step by step instruction (what fun is that?); although he is not shirking responsibility for having written such a bold treatise (see also 2007's This Year You Write Your Novel), but rather, its intent is to explore the internal makeup of the elements of fiction writing: character and character development, plot and story, voice and narrative, context and description, content and the blank page, and intentional structure versus unconscious material. Contemplative and reassuring, Elements of Fiction is a thoughtful journey through how a story is told; one which may benefit a writer but more importantly, makes one a better reader.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amit Verma

    .This is my second book about writing. first one was Writing to be understood by Anne Janzer. . I liked elements of fiction and read it in single session of reading. . . There are great authors who never went to college. And there are no set rules and secret formula about writing a book. . . This book is simple and tries to remain grounded while telling reader basic things about writing. . It depicts magnanimous nature of a story and how story is bigger than any IQ and any brain. . It shows basic things l .This is my second book about writing. first one was Writing to be understood by Anne Janzer. . I liked elements of fiction and read it in single session of reading. . . There are great authors who never went to college. And there are no set rules and secret formula about writing a book. . . This book is simple and tries to remain grounded while telling reader basic things about writing. . It depicts magnanimous nature of a story and how story is bigger than any IQ and any brain. . It shows basic things like character, plot, context, narration and author shows use of these by writing simle paragraphs within the essay. . Best part is that book is enjoyable and informative. There is no non logical stuff or hollow facts. Aurhor appreciates that story writing is an art which can only improve by writing. . I liked genuine criticism of creative writing courses by author and he emphasises that each blank page should be approached like a curious baby and secrets should be discovered. . Story is a living thing and it should be allowed to grow. We only need to groom it. . .Lovely book for any book reader who is nursing thoughts of writing himself someday. . Thanks netgalley and publisher for review copy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Too bad this is a review of an uncorrected proof I grabbed from a public bookcase because I could have pulled a bunch of quotes from this. There was a nice consolation prize though. A greater portion of the advanced copy was printed upside and had the advantage of letting me have a Luna Lovegood moment on the bus when I got to wink a kid who thought I was crazy because I was seemingly reading the book with the wrong side up. Even though the chapters read like thematically connected essays; the bo Too bad this is a review of an uncorrected proof I grabbed from a public bookcase because I could have pulled a bunch of quotes from this. There was a nice consolation prize though. A greater portion of the advanced copy was printed upside and had the advantage of letting me have a Luna Lovegood moment on the bus when I got to wink a kid who thought I was crazy because I was seemingly reading the book with the wrong side up. Even though the chapters read like thematically connected essays; the book avoids the stiff formality common to essays. It doesn't expound on the author at all, but it feels revealing. It's practically an ode to the novel and writing. It makes you want to set to writing yourself as he turns over each element over and asks you to look at it through a different angle or some other light - what would happen if you tried a different context or narrator in your own fiction? And even if you have no desire to write yourself, this has interesting discussion about the considerations that (should) go into the creation of fiction (and includes the quick observation that university/writing sessions aren’t the only place where great writing can be found and/or fostered).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Deedi Brown (DeediReads)

    All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/. Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Press for granting me an advanced reader’s edition in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on September 3rd. This book was very different from what I’d expected. It’s much less of a guide to fiction, and more like a love letter, or an ode to fiction. It’s almost a stream of consciousness in which Walter Mosley lists, a bit haphazardly, the five “elements”; talks about each one a little b All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/. Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Press for granting me an advanced reader’s edition in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on September 3rd. This book was very different from what I’d expected. It’s much less of a guide to fiction, and more like a love letter, or an ode to fiction. It’s almost a stream of consciousness in which Walter Mosley lists, a bit haphazardly, the five “elements”; talks about each one a little bit; and then gives some examples. But his examples don’t feel very instructional — they feel like book ideas that popped into his head as he was writing. So he’s more like, “you could do it like this! or like this! or like this! or you could do this!” but never really any why behind any of it. The sections are also not tied together very well, and there’s little on how to make them work in tandem, together. That being said, if you just love to read about fiction but aren’t really looking for a deeper understanding of it, this is a great choice. There’s a lot of camaraderie to be had here among fiction lovers. It’s also super short — I read it in less than three hours. And Walter Mosley’s writing is very conversational, great fun. He’s just here to talk about fiction and have a good time and bring you along with him.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    If Walter Mosley weren’t a writer, he could have been a jazz musician. In his latest treatise on writing, Elements of Fiction , his prodigious skill at improvising story and his mastery of language are on full display. He covers the basic ingredients of the novel: plot, context, characters, description, narrative voice, rewriting. But this small tome is less a textbook than a look into the master’s mind, to watch him do the thing and say what it takes. He demonstrates points by conjuring char If Walter Mosley weren’t a writer, he could have been a jazz musician. In his latest treatise on writing, Elements of Fiction , his prodigious skill at improvising story and his mastery of language are on full display. He covers the basic ingredients of the novel: plot, context, characters, description, narrative voice, rewriting. But this small tome is less a textbook than a look into the master’s mind, to watch him do the thing and say what it takes. He demonstrates points by conjuring characters and their stories on the fly, and his descriptions of writing are nothing short of poetry. While instructive, Mosley is not prescriptive, emphasizing the individual nature of novel writing and how one approaches it. A useful book to add to any writer’s shelf, seasoned writers will be reminded of the joys of writing, while newer writers will be inspired to start the journey.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charleigh

    *I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for a honest review* I have read many books on the craft of writing - some good and some bad. Elements of fiction was one I’d put right in the middle. I loved how the advice was presented - it wasn’t your bog standard ‘how to write’ book. It was told in stories and examples. Even if sometimes it was a big long winded, I still enjoyed the different format. I also loved that his advice wasn’t forced upon me. He mentioned what he does (e.g - in cha *I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for a honest review* I have read many books on the craft of writing - some good and some bad. Elements of fiction was one I’d put right in the middle. I loved how the advice was presented - it wasn’t your bog standard ‘how to write’ book. It was told in stories and examples. Even if sometimes it was a big long winded, I still enjoyed the different format. I also loved that his advice wasn’t forced upon me. He mentioned what he does (e.g - in character development he says he doesn’t use much and likes to discover along the way) however, he also acknowledged that other people use charts and such and if that’s what works for you then go for it. Overall, it was a quick, interesting read. It isn’t one I would go back to, but I would recommend it to anyone who is stuck in a rut with their writing and needs something to break the cycle.

  28. 5 out of 5

    TheStonedMason

    A guide through the process of fiction that reads like a novel or even a series of short stories also written to serve as examples to Mosley's guidance. The flow from lesson to example to real world was seamless and brought a great understanding to the world of fiction. I was immediately interested in this book, exclusively as a reader, to help me better understand the novels I read. I was pleasantly surprised to find how accessible he makes the genre and the encouragement within. It makes a rea A guide through the process of fiction that reads like a novel or even a series of short stories also written to serve as examples to Mosley's guidance. The flow from lesson to example to real world was seamless and brought a great understanding to the world of fiction. I was immediately interested in this book, exclusively as a reader, to help me better understand the novels I read. I was pleasantly surprised to find how accessible he makes the genre and the encouragement within. It makes a reader want to write and hopefully helps the authors looking to improve their work. This is definitely a book i will be reading multiple times. I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this title from Grove Atlantic through their promotion on ShelfAwareness and although they didn't mandate an honest review (in fact, they requested nothing in return) these are my thoughts and expression of gratitude to Walter Mosley, Grove Atlantic, and ShelfAwareness.com

  29. 5 out of 5

    Priya

    3.5 stars The book was different from most of the how-to fiction books in the market. Most of the other books take a "scientific" perspective informing readers that a novel should be written in such and such way. Those books are important. But not enough. This book wasn't prescriptive in the least. Mosley treats writing a novel like the craft that it is. He tells us about the elements that he believes are important like characters, narration, voice, etc. But he also asks the reader to experiment a 3.5 stars The book was different from most of the how-to fiction books in the market. Most of the other books take a "scientific" perspective informing readers that a novel should be written in such and such way. Those books are important. But not enough. This book wasn't prescriptive in the least. Mosley treats writing a novel like the craft that it is. He tells us about the elements that he believes are important like characters, narration, voice, etc. But he also asks the reader to experiment and live the process of writing the novel. I loved the reframe that characters are how the plot unfolds. It was the most important lesson that I am taking away from the book. I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Ashton

    Walter Mosley's monograph on writing fiction should be on every writer's desk. It's on mine. When I read books on writing by successful writers, I look for a minimum of one tidbit that will help me improve. The first one was on page 5 where Mosley writers about a child's words tumbling out like trying to describe rolling down a grassy hill, where images themselves tumble. I was worrying about how to show a flood of memories without resorting to cliches. Thinking about blue, green, blue sky, green Walter Mosley's monograph on writing fiction should be on every writer's desk. It's on mine. When I read books on writing by successful writers, I look for a minimum of one tidbit that will help me improve. The first one was on page 5 where Mosley writers about a child's words tumbling out like trying to describe rolling down a grassy hill, where images themselves tumble. I was worrying about how to show a flood of memories without resorting to cliches. Thinking about blue, green, blue sky, green grass, brown dirt, red ball, blue, green helped me write a powerful scene. Thank you, Walter Mosley, for taking time to write this monograph.

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