Welcome to the RPLA Showcase
Each year at the Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. Our goal is to showcase the best of the best at the 2015 Royal Palm Literary Awards and provide First Place winners with a well-deserved spotlight. Not only are we recognizing extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.
2015 Unpublished Women’s Fiction
Sprinter by Bria Burton
Bria Burton won First Place in the Unpublished Women’s Fiction category. In Sprinter, Riley Sprinter’s PTSD-fueled assault against a stranger could mean a crippling lawsuit and the loss of her job. With therapy as her only alternative, will she find the courage to heal from her past and pursue her dreams of professional running?
Click the link to read a sample:
Q & A with Bria Burton
Q: Where do you get your story ideas?
A: Everywhere. Since I was very young, I’ve had story ideas flooding in from reading, personal experiences, and my very active imagination. Recently, someone described a God-given inspiration as a “God download.” I just love that! I credit the Lord with gifts of inspiration, and at times I’ve had those awesome flashes of brilliant ideas that I’m convinced did not originate with me.
Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?
A: Sprinter did not even make the RPLA finals back in 2011. Thanks to the judging feedback, a very supportive critique group, and many hours of editing, editing, editing, the writing and storytelling have improved to a level that caught the eye of a literary agent. I’m eagerly awaiting a response as she reviews the manuscript. It takes a lot of work to finish a novel, and it takes at least ten times as much work to edit that novel into something polished. I’ve learned so much along the way. As a runner, the story is very near and dear to my heart. It’s the only story that came to me in a God download in its entirety. During a run in 2008, the beginning, middle, and end of the story flashed in front of my eyes, and I knew I had been given something really special to work on. Although nothing like that has happened since, I never tire of the process of mining for story gold as I work on other projects.
Q: Who do you credit with inspiring your writing?
A: My parents have been my supporters my entire life. They taught me to follow my dreams and to work hard to achieve them. So many people inspire me in my personal life by their perseverance and ability to overcome obstacles–which inspires good characterization. My husband, my cousin Alyssa, my sisters Larisa and Aunie, my best friend Heather, my critique group, my coworkers…I could go on, but way too many to mention. The famous writers I particularly admire are Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, J.K. Rowling, Steig Larsson, and Francine Rivers.
Q: Any tips for new writers?
A: If writing is a passion for you, don’t give up! Understand that PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE are your friends. I’ve seen so many people bow out of a critique group because they couldn’t handle even constructive criticism, and then they stopped writing completely. If your goal is to have an audience, join an honest and fair critique group and grow some thick skin. Prepare yourself for the work of writing because completing a novel takes an incredible amount of labor. The skills to become a better writer can be learned. DO take the time to learn them. A great way to hone writing skills is to also write short stories. When you’re ready to submit any writing, prepare for rejection after rejection. I had 34 rejections before I received my first short story acceptance. Now I have over a dozen stories in literary magazines and anthologies. The journey is a huge part of what makes writing so great.