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Elements of Fiction

Elements of Fiction

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.

Author: Walter Mosley | Publisher: Grove Press

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Rating: 3 / 5

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.

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