Category: Becoming a Writer

Jun 26, 2017
By Michael Rupured

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

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 …

Jun 12, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Genre Identity Issues: Part Two

In the previous past, I shared I’d quit writing novels. Too many things compete for my attention to waste time on stories that never go anywhere. Maybe I’ll pick it up again when I retire. At first, not writing was a relief. The pressure to produce was gone. I caught up on chores around the house, spruced up the yard, and watched a ton of television. But quitting nagged at my conscience. In truth, I hadn’t quit writing novels. For some reason (or reasons), I couldn’t do it anymore. I had tried and tried until I finally just gave up. What was going on? The possible causes I could identify made no sense. They weren’t new, and for the most part, had been around …

Jun 05, 2017
By Michael Rupured

My Genre-Identity Issues

My process for crafting a novel is entirely organic. That’s a snooty way of saying I have no idea what I’m doing. I get an idea, and, with little forethought or planning, start writing. The plot, subplots, and characters evolve along the way until, with any luck, the story comes together. My first four attempts at writing a book resulted in three published novels and an unpublished memoir. I credit my pals in the Athens Writers Workshop for the novels. They held my hand through countless revisions of Until Thanksgiving, watched over my shoulder as I wrote No Good Deed, and provided invaluable feedback on early drafts and revisions of Happy Independence Day. After leaving the Athens Writers Workshop to free up more time …

Feb 06, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Back in the Saddle

Good news for anyone who has missed my blog. I’m back! Four months without having to write a post every week was good for my soul.  Time off helped me gain some perspective. Becoming a published author remains the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Five years into the gig, however, the new has worn off. Between writing and the day job, I tend to work all the time, but fame and fortune have eluded me. Poor, pitiful, me… To say nobody reads my stories is untrue and unfair. My books may not fly off the shelf, but they do sell. In fact, any of them have been read by far more people than have read all my academic and professional papers, combined. …

Jun 06, 2016
By Michael Rupured

My Next Project, Part 1

For longer than I care to admit, I haven’t had a new project. Producing unique and interesting posts for blog tours for three releases this year kept me busy. As I was writing posts for the Whippersnapper blog tour, I realized how hard my first three novels had been to write. Setting all three in a real place in a different time required lots of research. Whippersnapper takes place in a fictional Kentucky town. I still had to do a little research (about programmable sewing machines, for example), but getting the details right was a hell of a lot easier with made up places. Writing a sequel to Whippersnapper would be fun. I love little Fallisville and the people who live there. In fact, I …

Dec 14, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Writing Pet Peeves: Point of View Issues

Point of View is the perspective from which a story is told. A writer may choose to tell a story in first person (I was born) or in third person (he/she was born). I suppose second person (you were born) is possible, but is more appropriate for personal letters than works of fiction. Whatever the perspective, the narrator can only comment (or think about) things he or she can see, feel, touch, taste, or hear themselves. If Bill is the narrator, he can’t say “Mark knew what Bill meant,” unless, of course, Bill is psychic and can read Mark’s mind. Unless Bill’s looking in a mirror, he can’t say his face turned red, either. Instead, he’d probably say his face …

Nov 09, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Method Writing

Writing a novel is a process. The path from conceptualization to completion can vary. No two of the many authors who I’ve talked with about their process approach the task the same way. My process has been different for every novel. Or so I thought. Upon closer inspection, a single thread runs through the beginning of the process for all my stories. Whether I have an idea for a whole story or just a concept, it’s serious when I start writing paragraphs about the characters. These short little bios include a few essential details about the character, his or her appearance, and a bit about their past. The more I write, the more fleshed out the characters become in my head. …

Oct 26, 2015
By Michael Rupured

New Edits for an Old Story

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the arrival of first round edits for Whippersnapper foiling my plans to spend Labor Day weekend working on my next novel. Two days later, first round edits for the re-release of No Good Deed (formerly After Christmas Eve) appeared in my inbox. Two sets of edits to work on in addition to my duties for the day job freaked me out a bit. Some authors have no problem moving back and forth between several different stories. Not me. Immersing myself in a story takes time. Since I was already up to my eyeballs in Whippersnapper, I decided to ignore No Good Deed until I finished those edits. Going from my fourth novel (Whippersnapper) to my second …

Sep 28, 2015
By Michael Rupured

First Round Edits

Labor Day weekend, I took off an extra day from the day job. Four days is a nice block of time to get some writing done. I planned to make progress on my new mystery series. The first book in the series — my fifth novel — is a bit more complicated than previous projects, so the going has been slow. As always happens when I have a plan, fate intervened. The long-awaited and much dreaded first round of edits for Whippersnapper appeared in my inbox on Friday. I don’t usually dread edits, but this time, I was worried about how much work would be involved. Because they are “structural” and focus on the story, first round edits can be difficult. Changing a …

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