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 complementary 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 character 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 will intrigue and encourage writers and readers alike.
Praise for Elements of Fiction:
“In this follow-up to This Year You Write Your Novel, Mosley further demystifies fiction writing through language as taut and spare as the prose in his own novels… The author is not only an inspiring instructor; he is also a bracingly open-minded one… As with other manuals, this one doesn’t shirk from emphasizing the difficulty of writing, but Mosley’s spirited generosity helps make it less daunting. A concise work that aspiring writers will find useful.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Compact but insight-rich… Mosley has skillfully packed a large canvas into a small frame, which should equally please readers who enjoy seeing a writer at work and writers in need of assistance.”—Publishers Weekly
“Multi-award-winner Mosley (This Year You Write Your Novel), best known for his ‘Easy Rawlins’ mystery series, explores life with genre-defying mastery. With conversational bounce, this guide provides writers with methods and tips to find clarity and emotion…VERDICT: A no-nonsense guide worthy of shelf space with Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and E. M. Forster’s timeless Aspects of the Novel.”—Library Journal
Praise for Walter Mosley:
“A smart sly novel of ideas…Defying genre, Mosley’s latest novel is much like his eponymous hero: speculative, brilliant and wildly original.”—The National Book Review, on John Woman
“Mosley…seamlessly combines elements of dystopian thrillers, psychological crime, philosophical fiction, and straightforward melodrama. His rich, earthy prose burrows through complex abstract ideas and suspenseful plot twists with equal utility. And the cascade of syncopated revelations during the final sprint feel fully earned. Don’t expect certainty, though. As always, the final truth is up for grabs.”— The AV Club on John Woman
“The versatile, justly celebrated creator of Easy Rawlins, Leonid McGill, and other iconic crime solvers raises the stakes with this tightly wound combination of psychological suspense and philosophic inquiry…Here he weaves elements of both the erotic and the speculative into a taut, riveting, and artfully edgy saga…Somehow, it makes sense that when Walter Mosley puts forth a novel of ideas, it arrives with the unexpected force of a left hook and the metallic gleam of a new firearm.”—Kirkus Reviews on John Woman
“Mosley’s superpower lies in his slantwise take on the world and his characters, of whom there are dozens, and every one is memorable…this fantastic, surprising, humane and somewhat perverse book is one of Mosley’s best.” —BookPage on John Woman
“An intellectual romp of a novel by the renowned mystery writer.”—O Magazine on John Woman
“Mosley is at his commanding, comfort-zone-blasting best in this heady tale of a fugitive genius. His hero’s lectures are marvels of intellectual pyrotechnics and provocative inquiries; intense sex scenes raise questions about gender roles and intimacy; and John Woman’s increasingly drastic predicament and complex moral quandary precipitate arresting insights into race, freedom, power, and the stories we tell to try to make sense of the ceaseless torrent of human conflict and desire”—Booklist on John Woman
“Offbeat and insightful… Fast paced but still full of provocative questions about society, the story grounds the wilder aspects of its plot by providing a fascinating cast of endearing characters. Mosley’s novel is one to savor, and an unpredictable, unabashedly strange good time.” —Publishers Weekly on John Woman
“A novel by Walter Mosley always prods a reader to think beyond the mundane…He’s a keen observer and a masterful writer…His latest novel, John Woman, is a little bit crime story and also a meditation on history, identity, power and sex…Is it OK for a relatively good person to hurt a relatively bad person? Mosley takes old questions like that and makes them fresh again.”—The Seattle Times on John Woman
“When reviewing a book by Walter Mosley, it’s hard not to simply quote all the great lines. There are so many of them. You want to share the pleasures of Mosley’s jazz-inflected dialogue and the moody, descriptive passages reminiscent of Raymond Chandler at his best.”—Washington Post, on Down the River Unto the Sea
“A daring, beautifully wrought story that incorporates elements of allegory, meditative reflection and the lilt of lyric tragedy. ”—Los Angeles Times, on The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
“With Mosley, there’s always the surprise factor—a cutting image or a bracing line of dialogue.”—New York Times Book Review, on And Sometimes I Wonder About You
“Mosley’s invigorating, staccato prose and understanding of racial, moral and social subtleties are in full force.”—Seattle Times, on Known to Evil
“[Mosley has] revitalized two genres, the hard-boiled novel and the American behaviorist novel.”—Roberto Bolaño
“Mosley is the Gogol of the African-American working class—the chronicler par excellence of the tragic and the absurd.”—Vibe
“[Mosley] has a special talent for touching upon these sticky questions of evil and responsibility without getting stuck in them.”—New Yorker