Category: Becoming a Writer

Jan 05, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Revisions: Now or Later?

Approaches to penning a novel fall somewhere along a continuum. Writers on one end — plotters — think through every detail ahead of time. Those on the other end — pantsers — make stuff up as they go along. Either approach can result in a high quality novel. I bounce back and forth as the mood strikes. The right side of my brain is a plotter. The left side sabotages any attempts to plan things out. Keeping both sides happy is a struggle. Writing a good story is about getting to know the characters. Early in the process — whether pantsing or plotting — I don’t know them very well. By “the end,” we’ve become old friends. I still might not know everything about them, …

Dec 15, 2014
By Michael Rupured

More Sadism!

A few months ago, an author friend said she thought most writers are inherently narcissistic, masochistic, and sadistic. I’m inclined to agree. You need to be at least a little self-absorbed to devote the time to writing a novel, and the source of the story is often something from the writer’s life. Self-inflicted pain and suffering is a huge part of the process — especially for writers who bother to read reviews. My writers group taught me about conflict, stakes, and tension — the reason readers keep turning the page and where the sadism comes in. Fictional characters must suffer. The author needs to beat the living shit out of the hero, drag them through hail and high-water, and kick them when they’re down. Concern for …

Oct 27, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My Writing Demon

In honor of Halloween, I’m dedicating today’s post to my demon. He’s possessed me for as long as I can remember, compelling me to write, whether anyone reads my words or not. Over the years I’ve sacrificed vast quantities of time, ink, and paper to appease him. My demon makes me write for an hour or two every day. Fortunately, he’s easy to please. As long as I’m writing something, he’s happy. Letters to friends, email messages — even making a list counts. Waiting for replies annoyed the demon, and one can only make so many lists. Eventually, I had to write something else. The personal journal I started in 1979 to appease my demon fills twenty volumes. The quantity is far more impressive than the content. …

Oct 20, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Life After Fifty

My mother is the baby of eight, and my father was one of the later arrivals among ten children. Throw in the folks they married and the children the respective couples had together, and I grew up around an awful lot of people with widely varied views about what makes for a good life. All influenced me in one way or another, but none so much as Aunt Toodles. Long before she reached the half century mark herself, my beloved Aunt Toodles insisted life begins at fifty. That’s when she married for the first time — on Valentine’s Day no less — swapping a lengthy wild-child past for a self-proclaimed role as grand matriarch of the family. I love her more than ice cream and …

Oct 13, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Writing: Career or Hobby?

Getting the contract for my first novel was like winning the lottery. Rather than the years-long, rejection-filled path traveled by most writers, I’d found success right out of the gate. Until Thanksgiving was going to make me rich! My preconceived notions about publishing a novel were a tad off. Two years, two more novels and a short story later, my vast fortune has yet to materialize. Turns out, getting published is the easy part. With hundreds of new titles coming out every week, catching the attention of book-buying readers is a much bigger challenge. Good thing I kept the day job. I’ve loved to write for as long as I remember — at first mostly letters to friends and family, and later, in my journal. …

Aug 20, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Happy Independence Day Release Party & Blog Tour

Dreamspinner Press has officially released my third novel, Happy Independence Day. The story features the relationship between Terrence Bottom and Cameron McKenzie and is set in June 1969, a few years later than the prequel, After Christmas Eve, and about 225 miles farther north. Much of the action occurs in and around the infamous Stonewall Inn on New York City’s Christopher Street. The riots play a big role in the story. Contrary to legend, the Stonewall Uprising wasn’t the first volley in the battle for homosexual rights in the United States or even the first riot involving homosexuals. In August 1966, transgender people rioted at the Compton Cafeteria in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. Homophile organizations such as Chicago’s …

Aug 11, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My New Brand

A couple of years ago, I naively believed an author’s only job was to write stories. The lucky few who hit the big time could add interviews and appearances to the job description. Turns out, I was wrong. <gasp> There’s more — a lot more. Promotion is a labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive part of the job I’ve frankly neglected. The bang for the promotional buck is directly related to the number of books I have on the market. When Until Thanksgiving came out, the payoff for any promo was one book per reader. With each release, new readers have more books to buy. For the upcoming release of my third novel, I wanted to step up my game. It’s not about the money. My …

Aug 04, 2014
By Michael Rupured

He’s Back…

Six years ago — for no good reason — I started blogging as the Crotchety Old Man. My musings revolved around things that pissed me off, like pet owners leaving dog poop on my lawn, bad drivers, and poor service. Writing to entertain was a lot of fun and a nice change from the kind of writing I did for myself or on the day job. Back then, I’d spend an hour or two cranking out new posts a few times a week. Instead of a regular schedule, I hit “publish” the second I finished, no matter the hour or day. When coming up with ideas for something to write about became difficult, I turned to my past for inspiration. After a series about my wild-assed youth, friends encouraged me to …

Jul 14, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Finding Myself as a Writer

What kind of books do you write? That’s the first question I get when someone finds out I’m an author. “Writing stories true enough for government work” is my tagline, but says little about my novels. When pressed, I’ll say I write gay fiction which is…er… close enough for government work. My first novel is a thriller. After Christmas Eve is more of a mystery. My next novel (scheduled for release by Dreamspinner Press on August 20), Happy Independence Day is — I suppose — an historical romance. The story includes two budding romances and the first glimpse of a couple who came together in After Christmas Eve. But the Stonewall uprising of 1969 is the  main attraction. As I was wrapping up the story, I …

Jun 02, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Five Steps to Becoming a Successful Author

On this date just two short years ago, with a lot of encouragement from my friends in the Athens Writers Workshop, I submitted a query for my first novel. I waited for the “not what we’re looking for at this time” message to file with the rejections I’d already received for Glass Houses — my still unpublished memoir. Instead, less than three months later, the fine folks at Dreamspinner Press sent me a contract for Until Thanksgiving. When I signed that first contract, my expectations about overnight success as a published author were a tad unrealistic. I haven’t quit my day job. You won’t find excerpts from my books in The New Yorker. Terry Gross hasn’t interviewed me for Fresh Air, nor has Oprah called. Even …

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