Throwback Thursday (11/29/12)

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

Noting that book blogging onften focuses on new releases, here’s how Throwback Thursday works:

  1. Pick a book released more than 5 years ago.
  2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it.
  3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
  4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

A Writer’s Tale by Richard Laymon

For NaNoWriMo participants, the end is nigh. By Saturday, 50,000 words will have been written…or not.

I’m probably going to be in the “not” category, but with a messy ~45,000 word first draft of a future novel. For many writers, the question is “what’s next?” Well, next should probably be shoving that book in a drawer for a few weeks to let it ferment like good kimchi. Go drink a cup of holiday cheer and sing a few carols. Then take it out in January and edit, revise, and expand. Then think about how you want to go about publishing it. And maybe in the meantime, read Richard Laymon’s A Writer’s Tale.

Not as famous as fellow horror writer Stephen King (who also has a solid book on the subject, On Writing), Richard Laymon was more of a blue collar writer. He was  midlister who had initial success in the UK before becoming a backbone writer for Dorchester Publishing’s Leisure imprint. A Writer’s Tale is very honest about the midlist publishing industry in the 1980s and 90s, and about the amount of work it takes to be a consistently published writer. In the last ten years,  publishing has changed a great deal, but I think many of the writing lessons from Laymon still apply. My favorite is right at the beginning, in the dedication: “Persist and Prevail!” A lesson I need to be reminded of more often.

Even if you’re not a writer, why read this book today? Laymon was known for his personable nature and willingness to help new writers. That comes out in his writing about his experiences. It’s an entertaining read if you’re looking for a taste of publishing history from the nitty-gritty side. It’s also an interesting look at story development and contains a slice of horror history as well.

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