Category: Writing Woes

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 …

Apr 03, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Surprising Results

A paper-based system is my go-to method for record-keeping. The transition to digital files and folders has been slow. My system works. If it ain’t broke…. The complicated, time consuming, and essentially useless paper-based system I created for tracking royalties is broken. Excel would be better, but I’m spreadsheet challenged. Minions handle such things for me at the day job. At home, I’m on my own. Having used it since WordStar dominated the market, I know my way around word processing software. An online app converted a table I created in Word to an Excel file. My ex (he’s doing great!) helped me set up the formulas. Entering five years’ worth of royalty statements took about thirty minutes. Wow! Why did I wait …

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. …

Aug 15, 2016
By Michael Rupured

Stop the Pirates

Once upon a time, books were only available as hard copies. Digital formats didn’t yet exist. The  pricey hardback edition came out first, and if it did well, a paperback edition followed. Readers could buy the book, borrow a copy from the library or a friend, or shoplift a copy from a retailer. Stealing from bookstores is a bigger problem than I would have thought. I just expected readers as a group to have more integrity. Talk about naive… All readers aren’t criminals, of course, but stealing is against the law. Anyone who shoplifts knows it’s a crime. I’m not sure readers understand that sending ebooks to friends or downloading from a pirate site is stealing too. What happens after a …

Jun 13, 2016
By Michael Rupured

My Next Project, Part 2

Last week’s post was about lessons learned from my first four novels. Genre matters, and try as I might, romance is not my forte. That’s why DSP Publications is a better fit for the stories I write than its parent, Dreamspinner Press. All my ideas for sequels to Whippersnapper are essentially romances. However, I know from experience they won’t turnout that way. So on to something else. Posting something new on my blog every week consumes a lot of my writing time. To free up a big block of time, I set a goal to write all the posts needed for the next three months. Finishing a post makes me feel better about my unfinished projects, too. With blog posts written …

May 09, 2016
By Michael Rupured

Release Day Jitters

Release Day Jitters begin early in the first draft of a new novel and continue for three-to-six months after the big release. Anxiety builds with each completed step, from finishing the novel, signing a contract, and working with editors to arranging cover reveals and release tours. By release day, I’m an optimistic wreck. Could this be my breakout novel? Will this be the one to make the New York Times bestseller’s list and get me interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Terri Gross? When the preorder links go up, release day jitters are ramped up. Action is required. I monitor various bestsellers lists, check my Amazon rankings every few hours, and watch Goodreads for new ratings and reviews to come up. …

Nov 30, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Best Laid Plans

Like most people, I’m a busy guy. No doubt, countless others — like any working mom with young children — are busier. Frankly, that’s a contest I have no desire to win. Less busy is my goal. Being an author is a full-time job. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to give my writing career the attention it deserves — a fact unlikely to change before I retire from the day job. Until then, writing takes a backseat to other priorities. This is my first year without a new release since 2012. I blame a self-induced identity crisis. Getting all up in my head about who I am as a writer kept me from writing another word. Sage advice from Mom, Charlie Cochet, and Tali Spencer got me through. …

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