Category: Becoming a Writer

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

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

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

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

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. …

Page 1 of 712345...Last »