Walter Mosley is a writer I respect. I don't know what expectations I had for This Year You Write Your Novel (it is a slim hardback volume) but I was looking forward to what he had to say.
I'd describe This Year You Write Your Novel as a good book for first-time novelists. It is not complex or difficult to read or process. The advice is solid if not in-depth. If you have a friend who is struggling to finish their first manuscript, give them this book. It'll help.
One of the things I like about Mosley's novels is his ability to write realistic characters. That is the book I wish he'd written. The writing examples, provided by Mosley himself, I assume, show Mosley's skill. The rest of the text shows Mosley's sincere attempt to get across the secret of how to write a novel. I could feel the effort and imagine the difficulty of explaining the years of effort that have sublimated into instinct. This isn't intended as a criticism, it IS difficult to analyze your own process and realize that what works for you may not work for everyone.
Mosley is trying to give advice that will work for everyone, that's not easy. As a result, his advice is simple: write every day. That's pretty much it. Write every day. Every single day, dedicate at least two uninterrupted hours to writing. It's simple, workmanlike advice and every word of it is true. Writing is about momentum and writing every day is something I struggle with myself. So it's good advice as far as it goes and he repeats it at length.
His second main piece of advice is: trust your subconscious (and I'm summarizing here). This may sound like so much mysticism to a new writer, struggling with plot and characterization. So be it. Writing is an art as well as a craft. He's no wrong there, either. My subconsious is so much smarter than I am. The best moments of writing flow from my mind through my fingers onto the .doc pages. There are other brief chapters discussing plot, character and other elements of craft that are essential to a complete novel. None of the advice is fatuous or wrong, but it is brief.
Reccomended for new writers but not for aspiring authors who have a novel or two under their belt.