Author: Terry Burns

Writing again

  In the month since I retired as a literary agent I have been able to find time to write again. In the past week when I was blocked on facebook for some infraction (they never told me what) I was able to write 10-12 hours a day. If I didn’t need facebook for some book promotion I think I’d just stay off. Why 10-12 hour days? It’s like my characters have been on hold waiting for me to return and they had so much to tell me that I’d type until my hands were tired just trying to keep up. I put a number of books online which have never been in ebook format before and that had me revisiting those titles and reformatting them. I enjoyed it. Imagine that, I enjoyed reading my own books again. In the process of doing that I became intimately acquainted with my characters again and that’s when they started talking. I have the sequel to “The Badge and the Bible” done and expect it to publish in print and ebook shortly. I have also wrapped up the fourth book in the Mysterious Ways series. David C Cook ended that series at three books but now I can take it forward myself through Lone Mesa Publishing. I had the book ready for Cook but when they didn’t take it, little was required...

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The sequel

  I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, always have been. So when I sit down to write the sequel to The Badge and the Bible I took the characters from the first book, assembled them in a virtual room and presented them with a problem. They have taken it from there. I believe in writing a discovery draft. It’s a small version of the manuscript, much fewer words, but will contain the entire story line. When I get through I will set it up on it’s side, like the stalk of an artificial Christmas tree, and flesh it out with the branches. The branches will be things like fleshing out the setting, adding sub-plots, giving the participants more depth and character. Building in the five senses. You know the drill. I don’t worry about those things on the first draft, I just worry about the main flow of the story. The first draft is what is fun, editing will be work. But I well know that good books are not written, they are edited. My thought, however, is you can’t edit something that does not exist. Saundra loves it when I am in this phase because I sit over her and chuckle or get mad or tear up or show some other emotion and when she asks what is going on I say “You won’t believe what these people are doing...

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It’s just a proposal

Giving a workshop on making submissions a number of the writers there admitted to just “throwing stuff into proposal” to flesh out what it called for. I mean, it’s just a proposal, right? The main thing is for the writing to be really good. Actually no, better than 80% of all submissions are rejected without a word of the writing being read. WHAT? That can’t be, you say? You see whether they admit it to themselves or not, most agents and editors know that any submission they are looking at will not work for them. They aren’t being negative,...

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Agents are crooks?

The man was giving a program to a writer’s conference. He was making the case that literary agents were a bunch of crooks who seize ownership of a manuscript and do nothing of value with it that the author couldn’t do themselves. Each to their own opinion, but had I been there I would have felt obliged to clear up a couple of points. First, at no time does an agent EVER have ownership of an author’s project. We negotiate a deal on the client’s behalf but the final decision as to whether they sign a contract with a...

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Memorial Day

Memorial Day is coming up. I wore my veterans hat the last day of the conference in Colorado in recognition of it being Armed Forces Day. Some however said “I thought that was next weekend.” I responded, “No, that weekend is Memorial Day.” Armed Forces Day is to recognize active serving Military personnel. Veterans Day, which comes in November is to recognize those who have served in the past, and Memorial Day recognizes those who gave all in service of their country. There can be a little confusion about the meaning of the three special days. The Memorial Day...

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