I love this instruction from This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley.
I’ve finished reading This Year You Write Your Novel and I wasn’t disappointed in it. It was wonderful all the way through, from beginning to end. I might be quoting from it for a long time. Near the end of the book, Mosley writes: And so when you perused the previous pages, you may have been a little let down. Perhaps you were looking for an epiphany, and all you found was a joke. If you find that the previous paragraph expresses your feelings, I say, “Don’t despair.” This book is meant only to teach the rudiments of novel writing. Greatness lies in the heart of the writer, not in technique.
That comment from Mosley brought tears to my eyes. Why? Because of his honest voice. Because of his sincerity. Because I can look back on every word he wrote in this small book and know that his heart was open and sharing. When i finished This Year You Write Your Novel, I felt/feel rejuvenated and anxious to get back to my own rewriting. I have specific things I can look for, listen for as I revise. I also picked up Mosley’s novel The Man In My Basement. The first page yanked me into the story and wouldn’t let me go.
The Denver Post called Mosley one of the country’s best writers. The New York Times states: Mosley is a kind of jazz musician, a Wynton Marsalis of the printed page…”
We would do well to find our own rhythm, allow our characters to live and march to their own beat. One way we do that is to read other writers, read poetry, write, read aloud and rewrite. Do you think of your novel as a song? Do you think it makes sense to do so? Why or why not?
If you’d like to learn more about Walter Mosley, try THIS interesting article from 2010.