The Crotchety Old Man

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 24, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on A Glimpse of the Future

A Glimpse of the Future

I haven’t taken more than a few days off from the day job for years. Nobody fills in when I’m out. An overwhelming quantity of emails, phone messages, and snail mail waiting when I return offset the benefits of getting away. I use vacation days a few at a time for long weekends throughout the year. I went into work on June 26 and, after checking my calendar, decided on a whim to take off until July 10. For thirteen glorious days, I hardly left the house. I did check my work email regularly and ended up having to go to the office once. But the rest of the time, I did exactly what I wanted to do. Not long …

Jul 17, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Online Shopping: Easy, Convenient & Cheap

Online Shopping: Easy, Convenient & Cheap

The internet has changed the way we shop. Big retailers are closing stores at an unprecedented rate. Shopping malls look like ghost towns. It’s hard to compete with virtual everything. Shopping is not my cup of tea. In fact, thanks to poor or non-existent service, long checkout lines, and people getting in my damn way, I hate it. When necessity leaves me no choice, my goal is always to get in and out as fast as I can. I’ve dabbled with online shopping in the past in search of uncommon, hard-to-find items or gifts for out-of-town family and friends. Buying mundane, everyday goods online never occurred to me. #SlowLearner That has changed. My dog, Toodles, is responsible for a lot …

Jul 10, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Let the Writing Begin!

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
Comments Off on Saved by a Character Profile Template

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
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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
Comments Off on The Cure for My Genre Identity Issues

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 …

May 01, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on It’s About that Big Truck…

It’s About that Big Truck…

In gay parlance, I’m not a “car queen.” Motor vehicles do nothing for me. Even the nicest car or truck is simply a means from point A to point B. Recently, however, I’ve been very interested in one particular vehicle. A bunch of guys rent a house around the corner. A year or so ago, they expanded into a second house which is two doors down from me. All the guys have vehicles, and, from what I see, a vehicle-owning significant other who often spends the night. The street between the two houses often looks like a parking lot. Judging from the license plates, most of these young men and their women hail from a tiny little county in rural Georgia. Some of the gals drive Jeeps, …

Apr 03, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Surprising Results

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 …

Mar 06, 2017
By Michael Rupured

A History of Porn

In the eighth grade I saw my first pornography. A neighbor a year or two older than me was showing off his dirty magazine collection. I’d seen lots of Playboys and a Penthouse or two, but nothing as graphic as the photos in his collection. Where my neighbor found his dirty magazines is a mystery. I suspect his older brother played a role and perhaps a dirty bookstore. They were around in the early 1970s, weren’t they? My scoutmaster had an 8mm projector. I heard about the movies he showed some of the guys, but was never included in the viewings. Being excluded didn’t bother me a bit. In fact, I was kind of glad. A few years later, the manager …

Feb 16, 2017
By Michael Rupured
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Great Service

As your resident Crotchety Old Man, bitching and complaining is what I do. Exacting my revenge with a withering review is immensely satisfying and more than a little fun. Offering praise is rare. Fairness dictates equal treatment for businesses that go above and beyond the call of duty. My history with cars can be divided into two distinct periods: before and after finding out maintenance involves more than adding gasoline and replacing worn tires. My inability to tell a thingamajig from a watchamacallit cost me a fortune. “Whatever you say, man,” tends to double the cost of any repair. Rather than buying someone else’s problem, every ten years since 1995 I’ve bought a new vehicle and, at first, used the dealer for scheduled …

Feb 06, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Back in the Saddle

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. …

Jan 02, 2017
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Predictions for 2017

Predictions for 2017

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2017? The older I get, the faster January seems to come around. My resolutions (I prefer to think of them as priorities) haven’t changed much, so this year, I’ll take a stab at predicting what will happen in 2017. Despite Mom’s fervent prayers, Donald Trump will be President of the United States. I know this is a bitter pill for many to swallow — including yours truly. However, it is what it is. Trump haters are no better than the Obama haters of the past two elections. Get over yourself. I will finish Cold Revenge, my next novel. Life often gets in the way of my writing plans, so progress has been slow. …

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