Welcome to the (un)official site for science-fiction and fantasy writer Bryan R. Durkin!

Monday, January 27, 2014


I was pretty sure this day would eventually come, but I had no idea when. And I guess I didn't really expect it to be today, but that's how life works.

I'm pleased to say I finally had an agent request to see the first part of the manuscript for Kricket's Song. It's by no means a guarantee of representation, but at least I seem to have a query letter that works in getting an agent to look at my book. The agent is one who I regard to be one of the best in the business, so it's quite a victory in my opinion. Hopefully, even if he turns down the book, he'll at least give me some ideas on why, and that advice will be worth its weight in gold.

In the meantime, I'm progressing with the military sci-fi thriller project. I had named it Darkness, but after some consideration, I've renamed it Into the Shade. I've written the first two chapters, and hope to outline and write chapters three and four shortly.

That's it for today. I've got about a million other things to attend to. When it rains, it pours. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Once More Into the Breach!

Well, I've gone and done it again. That's right, I sent another query letter for Kricket's Song. Either I'm brave, a sucker for punishment, or downright insane.

Sometimes that's how I feel, anyway. This is my fifth in the latest round of query letters. Three have met with form rejections so far. I feel really good about this one (I've felt good about most of the previous ones, too, or I wouldn't have sent them). Instead of agonizing over whether the query letter was good or not, I was able to hammer it out in 18 minutes, with another 20 or so spent on proof reading and revising. I think my latest round of research on query letters and my most recent attempts at writing new ones are finally paying off. It's still a nerve-wracking experience, but at least it's not as time-consuming as it used to be.

In other writing news, I've completed character bios and a basic plot outline for my new military sci-fi thriller Darkness. That title may end up getting changed. I hope to start writing the rough draft today after looking over the plot outline again and possibly making a few tweaks. You can keep track of the progress in the "Active Projects" box on the right side of this blog.

Thanks everyone for reading, and don't forget to check out @BryanRDurkin on Twitter. I'll follow you if you follow me! I'm positive I'm chock full of all kinds of insight at 140 characters or less...

Monday, January 13, 2014


Two things on the agenda today.

First, just sent out another query letter for Kricket's Song, the third in this most recent round of querying. The current tally is now waiting on 2, Form Reject on 1. If you're ever curious about how many rejections I've gotten and number of query letters currently still out, you can check my tall on the right side of this blog, under the "Active Projects" tab.

Second, I'd like to introduce a new project I'm working on, tentatively titled Darkness. It would probably be most accurately classified as dark military science fiction. Think of the movie Pitch Black crossed with Halo and you'll get the feel I'm aiming for. The idea has been bouncing around in my head since 2008 at least, but I'm finally starting to flesh out characters and plot for it. I'm not ready to give away all the fun details, but I'll share a rough draft of the log line or "pitch" I have for it so far:

"After murdering her commanding officer, a decorated Marine veteran is shipped to a prison planet where her violent fellow inmates aren't the only threat. The military's most covert project is based on her new home world, and the planet itself guards a terrifying, bloodthirsty secret."

The overarching themes I'll be dealing with through the plot involve why we fight, how we deal with the darkness inside us and around us, and why we cling to our ideals even when real life seems to have shown us how pointless those ideals are. These themes are inspired by some of my real life experiences, as well as my imagination just running wild.

That's it for today! Thanks for having a read.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Search for the Successful Query

I will never like writing query letters. People say, "You just wrote a whole book. Writing one query letter can't be that hard." On the face of it, you'd think they're right. But when it comes to finding a query that fits you, your book, and what an agent is looking for, it's far easier said than written.

But, I push on. There's really no choice, not if I want to ever be published. I think I have a great manuscript with interesting characters and a fascinating story. It's been polished and re-polished. It's been critiqued as much as possible via an online writer's group. The only thing I'm missing, then, is a query letter that will get an agent to take a closer look.

Every time I think I have a good query letter, I read something else that makes me think maybe I don't. It's a vicious circle. Again, the only way I'll find out for sure is to keep sending the query letters out, to keep trying. One day, somehow, I WILL make it.

In other news: Two queries are out for Kricket's Song, using a slightly new, more streamlined format. Not sure when I can expect responses. Most agents took some time off over the holidays, but I'm sure the flood of queries didn't, so there will be some catching up to do. I'm researching a third agent and hope to have another query letter out within the next few days (though after researching her, I'm reminded my current query may not be great and I might have to write yet another version).

Kricket's Key is getting edited and polished. Once I'm through editing what I have, I'll push to get the rough draft done.

And I finally broke down and signed up for Twitter. I have no idea what I'll do with it. Perhaps I can use it to network. We'll see. You can find me under @BryanRDurkin .

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I'm back. I'm like that dud round you keep tossing on the ground, and yet, I somehow end up back in your magazine. Or that really annoying writer with the uninteresting blog who keeps promising this year he will finally get published. Yeah...I went there.

Regardless, here I am, again. 2013 was not as productive a year as I had hoped it would be. The early months started out great, with Kricket's Key nearing 75% completion. I did a bunch of query letter drafts for Kricket's Song. The folks at Absolute Write put my drafts through the wringer, and while I got a lot of helpful advice, I reached the point where I felt like I wasn't improving anymore. So the only thing left was to start querying agents again.

And then, summer started early for me. I got a promotion in my summer job which led to me starting work about a month early, and there were plenty of fires, so I ended up working some pretty long weeks. Then I ended up in Israel for a couple weeks, a week-long hunting trip in Arizona after that. Then it was the holidays, and family, and one thing after another, behold--it's 2014!

Yeah I know, excuses, excuses...

I wasn't entirely unproductive, just mostly. Remember those 8 drafts of query letters I talked about in the last post? That became 14. And now, using a completely different draft, I've sent out another query letter, and I hope to hear some good news soon. Or it could just be another Form-R. We'll see. Kricket's Song also got put through another round of very light polishing, just cleaning up some overly long phrases and using stronger action verbs. After being away from the manuscript for the better part of six months, fifteen minutes of work on the first chapter left me feeling immensely more positive about it.

So now I'm going to start the push on query letters once again, and see if I can't find an agent who will work with me. I'm also hoping to get back to work on Kricket's Key and perhaps another, unrelated project, just so I don't have all my bullets in one gun...or is that all my eggs in one basket... I like my analogy better.

If you read this blog, thanks. Sincerely. I like to think I'm a decent enough fiction writer, but when it comes to the social media thing, it's obviously not my forte. But I do appreciate every read I get! Here's to lots more this year!

Happy New Year!