Tag: Athens Writers Workshop

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 My first four attempts at writing a book resulted in three published novels and an unpublished memoir.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 …

Mar 02, 2015
By Michael Rupured

The Evolution of a Writer

Some people know who they are from an early age. Not me. Despite my 57th birthday later this week, I’m still trying to figure it out. Announcing who I am or what I intend to do never sticks for long. More than half a century of wrong guesses and empty proclamations lead me to believe I’m not supposed to know. The problem isn’t a lack of self-knowledge so much as a constantly evolving self. Thanks to the twenty-twenty vision of hindsight, knowing who I was in the past is at least theoretically possible. Who I am right now, however — despite my advanced aged — is a moving target. The same is true for my identity as an author. Despite proclamations about who I am as a writer, the truth is, …

Dec 15, 2014
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on More Sadism!

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 13, 2014
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Writing: Career or Hobby?

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. …

Sep 15, 2014
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Ready for Some Strange

Ready for Some Strange

Coming up with an idea for my next novel has never been a problem. By the time I finished writing Until Thanksgiving, most of After Christmas Eve had already come together in my head. Once I started writing that story, I knew several of the characters would turn up at the Stonewall Riots for Happy Independence Day. I’ve got ideas for lots more Holiday Tales, but right now, I want to try something different. I love Philip Potter and his friends. But after writing the third novel in the series, I’m ready for some strange. My first thought was a trilogy loosely based on the memoir that prompted me in 2010 to join the Athens Writers Workshop. The memoir, in its current …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Jul 22, 2013
By Michael Rupured
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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!” …

Jun 17, 2013
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on A Slight Miscalculation

A Slight Miscalculation

Since at least September, I’ve looked forward to settling into my new normal. Living alone was supposed to mean more time to devote to my writing career. Those extra hours haven’t materialized. Apparently, I miscalculated. Knowing the transition to the bachelor lifestyle and moving would take time, I took a break from my writers group. From mid-2010 to a few months ago, all I did was write and work the day job. Just ask my ex. I never missed my biweekly Saturday night writers group meetings, critiquing thousands of words ahead of time for every meeting. A break was in order. The time went toward getting everything at the new abode the way I wanted. Other than selected yard projects, my do-it-yourself days …

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