Category: Becoming a Writer

Aug 06, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Novel Experience

Lots of people tell me they hope to write a book. Many say they’ve written the first few chapters — often for several stories. Starting a book is easy. Finishing is the hard part. Writing a novel is a HUGE challenge — especially the first time around. Getting to “the end” takes hours and hours of work over many weeks, months, or even years. Whether the finished product gets published or not, devoting that much time to something is a sure way to get better at it. Going through the publication process is also a learning experience. Three different editors go over every story with a fine-toothed comb. I always learn from their comments, questions, and suggestions. Reviews are helpful …

Apr 16, 2018
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on New Release Anxiety

New Release Anxiety

The Case of the Missing Drag Queen comes out on June 19th: exactly one year after I started working on the story. It’s my first new release since Whippersnapper came out in 2016. As always, I’m anxious to see what happens. Click Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or DSP Publications to preorder. The quick turnaround to release day is a record for me. Just writing each of my first four novels took a year or longer. Depending on the wait to get a contract, the publication process adds another nine- to twelve months to the timeline. At least, that’s what I expected. Revamping my writing process sped things up on my end. Instead of making everything up as I went along, I used …

Oct 30, 2017
By Michael Rupured
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Write What You Know

Every aspiring writer has heard “write what you know.” This age-old adage expresses a general truth that has stood the test of time. My understanding of those four words, however, has evolved with each book I’ve written. I took “write what you know” literally for my first novel. Until Thanksgiving is loosely based on a major event from my life: Moving for a job from Lexington KY, where my family has lived for generations, to Washington DC. I never had a run in with a serial killer, but main character Josh Freeman and I lived in Dupont Circle around the same time and frequented the same restaurants, bars, and other places. Memories weren’t much help for my second or third novels. No Good …

Oct 09, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Sprinting for the Finish Line

I’ve almost finished the first draft of The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. I woke up yesterday believing just one chapter stood between me and “the end.” Close. Halfway through that chapter, I realized another chapter was needed to finish the story. This time, I’m sure. One more chapter and the first draft is done. Whether today. tomorrow, or Wednesday, I’ll finish this week. That’s about ten days later than predicted, but still a good eight months faster than it took to write any of my first four novels. I’m amazed, and after abandoning several false starts, thrilled to finally finish a story. The much shorter time to finish is due largely to changes to my writing process, discussed ad …

Oct 02, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Growing as a Writer

Growing as a Writer

In a recent email exchange, a good friend and mentor said, “One nice thing about writing is the learning never stops. Ever.” Amen. Experience is a great teacher. In previous posts I’ve written about lessons learned from my first four novels. Each story, one way or another, pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow as a writer. My fifth novel, The Case of the Missing Drag Queen, is a little different. The story is smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone. The mystery is made up, but much of the rest is loosely based on my recollections* of gay life in 1982 Lexington, Kentucky. Any resemblance to real people or places is entirely coincidental. …

Jul 31, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Progress!

Each of my first four books took about a year to write. This past weekend, I hit 30,000 words — roughly the midpoint of the novel I started writing six weeks ago. At this rate, I’ll reach the end sometime in September. Finishing in three months rather than the usual twelve is amazing. That’s like trimming my time to run a mile from twelve minutes to a world-record-breaking three minutes. Why has The Case of the Missing Drag Queen come together so much faster? 1) It’s my first story centered around the transformation of the main character. My first four novels are more about gay life at particular points in time than the journey of any one character. I’m too thrilled to …

Jul 10, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Let the Writing Begin!

Let the Writing Begin!

Armed with the three act structure and a detailed character profile template, I started planning my fifth novel on May 28. According to Word, I spent more than 120 hours mapping out the story, developing the characters, and fine-tuning my outline. After incorporating character information into my outline and fixing a problem with stakes and tension, the first act was six chapters too long. Three turned out to be unnecessary and anything of importance in the rest was easy to squeeze in elsewhere. I went over my outline one last time to tweak a few things, switch stuff around, and add notes about dropping hints, revealing clues, and foreshadowing. On Saturday June 10th, I started writing what I’m tentatively calling …

Jul 03, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Saved by a Character Profile Template

Saved by a Character Profile Template

Planning my next novel with the three-act structure has been a piece of cake. Identifying the central conflict and major plot points for a Luke Tanner mystery and writing short descriptions for every scene took a couple of hours. But before I could start writing, however, the characters needed to be fleshed out. A template an editor shared with me consists of thirty or so questions about physical appearance, psychology, sociology, role in the story, and history. Developing a profile for Luke and ten supporting characters took an hour or longer for each one, but was worth the time and effort. Although still subject to tweaking, the characters are clear in my head. I also have way more information about each …

Jun 26, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Uninformed Pantsing

Uninformed Pantsing

Writing fiction was missing from my formal education. Discussions about the novels and short stories we read in school revolved around major themes, symbolism, and meaning — not how to craft a story. Or maybe I just forgot. Either way, I consider myself a self-taught author. I make my stories up as I go along. Writers call it pantsing. Based on my recent epiphany, I’d call my old process “uninformed pantsing.” Rather than the main character’s journey, my stories revolve around an event (or series of events) with a cast of characters to show how things play out. Sometimes, it worked. More often, it did not — especially lately. After my epiphany about the central role of the main character …

Jun 19, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on The Cure for My Genre Identity Issues

The Cure for My Genre Identity Issues

I recently shared about giving up on writing novels and accidentally discovering the problem with my abandoned manuscripts. Confusion about how to proceed with the trilogy I envisioned prompted me to turn to the gods of the internet for help. A few clicks later, I stumbled upon the cure for my writing woes. My problem is embarrassingly basic. My stories –finished and unfinished alike — revolve around events occurring at particular points in time rather than any particular character. For evidence, I offer my pal’s question about my latest abandoned manuscript: Who is the maim character? I’m not trying to be avant garde or make some kind of literary  statement. People have tried to tell me this for years, but I just didn’t get …

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