Category: Becoming a Writer

Mar 31, 2014
By Michael Rupured

The Swag’s the Thing

I’ve attended numerous academic conferences over the last three decades in connection with my day job. But before last year, I’d never attended any kind of Con. When I heard the 2013 Gay Romance Literature Retreat would be in nearby Atlanta, I had to go. One glance and I knew GayRomLit would be nothing like the scholarly gatherings I’m accustomed to attending. To date, those conferences have not included an abundance of male strippers and gay porn stars. Yet another reason to love being an author. Word of the April 2014 RainbowCon in Tampa reached me a few days after GayRomLit. Several of the writer pals I ran into in Atlanta had registered to attend, along with other guests on my blog I’ve …

Mar 17, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Pop Culture References

A good writer makes the reader feel like he or she is a witness to events in the story as they unfold. Keeping the reader’s attention focused on the action and dialogue is the goal. Errors and mistakes, when noticed, take the reader out of the story. Ignorance is bliss. Before getting published, as long as the story kept me interested, I could enjoy the most poorly written of novels. Not anymore. Now all kinds of things I never noticed — my personal pet peeves — take me out of the story. If this happens often enough, I quit reading and never finish the book.  I’m in the middle of a book by a favorite author who has had a …

Feb 17, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Adverbs

Adverbs top the list of my Pet Writing Peeves. These little words modify actions and usually end in -ly. They’re perfectly acceptable in lots of different situations, but should be used sparingly in novels. Paragraphs riddled with -ly words — like the one above — are fine in blog posts, status updates, conversations, tweets, news stories, and lots of other places. The occasional use in novels — especially in dialogue — isn’t a big issue with me either. But lots of adverbs in the narration are an indicator of lazy writing. A novel is supposed to show the story, not tell. Adverbs are tell words. They’re fine in conversation and in dialogue because talking is all about telling another person …

Feb 10, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Coming Soon: Happy Independence Day

Back in July of 2013, I started working on Happy Independence Day, my third novel. The idea was to place several of the characters from After Christmas Eve in New York City for the 1969 Stonewall Riots — the beginning of gay liberation and a turning point for gay and lesbian Americans. Seven months later — at 10 a.m. on January 20, 2014 to be exact — I finished writing the story. Writing Until Thanksgiving — at all — was a huge challenge. Creating characters, developing a plot, and writing dialogue were new to me. I had to learn about stakes and tension (a reason to keep readers turning the page), and showing instead of telling. Getting a contract and …

Jan 06, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: It

The members of my writers group will tell you that overuse of the word “it” is one of my pet peeves. Don’t get me wrong. “It” is a perfectly acceptable word. But most of the time, there are better options. Sometimes, “it” is used to refer to another word or phrase that comes later in the sentence. Let’s take a simple sentence like “It was a beautiful day.”  In this instance, “it” refers to the day. I’d say instead, “The day was beautiful.” That’s not much of an improvement, so I’d take a look at the sentences on either side of “the day was beautiful” to see about combining the two. Let’s say we have: Cathy walked along the shore. …

Oct 07, 2013
By Michael Rupured

A Writer’s Temperament

Anything I’ve done — whether writing a novel, losing fifty pounds, becoming a runner, or whatever — I tend to believe anyone can do. On the other hand, just about everyone I know does something I could never do.  I’m not smart enough, don’t think that way, or lack the talent. I’m an ordinary guy in a world of extraordinary people. Recent conversations about becoming a published author opened my eyes. I encouraged two friends who like to write to try writing a novel, insisting, since I had done it, they could too. They disagreed, and in different ways, told me I have what they referred to as “a writer’s temperament.” I wouldn’t repeat the character-building decade of my twenties …

Sep 30, 2013
By Michael Rupured

The Serious Writer

The first advice aspiring authors get is to write every day.  Jobs and other responsibilities are just excuses. The serious writer should get out of bed several hours before anyone else, or stay up after they’ve gone to bed. Whatever it takes to meet the daily requirement. Writing time, when I can find it, has always been a fun and enjoyable escape from the daily grind and the pressures of the real world. Becoming an author raised the bar, forcing me to act more like a serious writer should. The occasional hobby I’d loved became a chore. Trying to follow the daily writing edict sucked every ounce of joy, not just from writing, but from my whole life. Wah! Don’t get me wrong. I …

Sep 16, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Two at Once

For me, writing a novel is a lot like a relationship. Managing more than one at a time is just too complicated for my simple mind. Yet, despite my usual single-mindedness of purpose, I’m currently working on two novels. After writing the first two books in the holiday series, I wanted to try something different. Adventures in Trauma Car is a first-person coming-of-age story very loosely based on my life. Figuring I knew the story well enough not to need an outline or character sketches, I forged ahead. But 30,000 words in, I hit a wall. I’d changed things up so much that any resemblance to my life had disappeared. I hit this wall with every book I write. The story …

Aug 19, 2013
By Michael Rupured

What’s In A Name?

One of the first critiques of an early draft of my debut novel was that the names of the characters seemed random, like they’d been pulled from a hat. The comment surprised me. You mean there’s another way? The right name is a beautiful thing. That’s why parents spend so much time thinking about what to call their little bundle of joy. As a writer, I have a huge advantage over parents. I know how my children turn out in the end. My only rule had been to avoid picking names starting with the same letter. Telling James’s story in After Christmas Eve did lead me to add another rule. No more names ending with the letter S. The possessive is just too …

Jul 22, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Keep Getting Better

I hear from a lot of people, gay guys mostly, who write and hope to be published one day. When they ask for my advice, I always reply with the same question: What are you doing to improve your writing? No matter how good you are, you can always get better. A wealth of excellent resources with practical advice for aspiring writers is available online and in print. But having your work critiqued by somebody who knows more than you do about writing is the best way to improve. You’ve already had some experience with this. Remember your high school English teacher? An excellent example is the term paper you copied from the encyclopedia slaved over, returned by her with “Rewrite!” …

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