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In Wait

Job 6:11~ "What strength do I have, that I should still hope?  What prospects, that I should be patient?"

When the Lord wants to teach me patience, he makes me wait. My response reveals how patient I am, or perhaps how patient I am not.  And I have nothing like Job's excuse.

The FWA conference is over, and it was such an affirming and refreshing time, as always. This is my third year attending, and the sessions were wonderful and helpful. I was able to pitch Sprinter to two agents and a publisher. The first agent, it turns out, doesn't take Christian fiction, but I got to practice my pitch and move on. The Christian publisher was interested in my story and took some of my chapters. The Christian agent forwarded my chapters to her new agent who wasn't at the conference, and she emailed me to confirm that she would be reading soon.

I'm extremely excited that two people are considering Sprinter. In the meantime, I am waiting.

Part of me wants to send out ten mor…

Finished

On Tuesday, I technically finished my novel, Sprinter. I still have editing to do over the next eight days for my pitch at the FWA Conference, but I'm very excited to finally have the story done.

The editing will involve tightening up sentences, making sure I don't have loose ends that I left unresolved, and grammar checks. The story as it is will not likely change unless, in the future, an editor/agent/publisher who wants the book recommends it. I'd like to think I'm open to an editor's judgment.

I have had the vision of the entire novel in my head for about two and a half years now. When it first came to me, I created a broad outline detailing beginning, middle and end. With the novel complete, I am happy with how the story reads. The trick--will an agent agree?

About the book...my pitch in a nutshell:

A thirty-six year-old woman named Riley lives an angry and embittered existence fourteen years after Darlene Sprinter, her mother, is murdered at the 1986 At…

Why is my Bible at the bottom of the pile?

My husband thinks I'm a crazy person. Just at the moment, not usually. Right now, I'm inclined to agree with him.

Since the last post, I have been writing/submitting day in and day out. Another rejection came in for the fantasy short story I mentioned a few posts ago. A huge blessing, however, as the kindly assistant editor gave fantastic feedback. And she was right! I'm re-editing accordingly.

My nightstand looks shameful to me right now. The stack of reading includes a novel and two literary mags. Two writing journals sit somewhere in the stack, but my Bible is at the bottom.

At first, I thought, shame! I obviously haven't been in the Word because my current reading sits above it. Then I realized, no, I don't serve a God of shame. So I picked up the Bible and moved it to the top of the pile where it waits for me to finish posting and come read prior to bed.

It's no excuse, but I have been in high gear with no break pedal. I finally signed up for a…

MY NEW WEBSITE www.briaburton.com

The St. Petersburg branch of FWA meets at the main library once a month. Our last meeting, we had the privilege of hearing Ron Riekki, author of U.P. (website: http://rariekki.webs.com/) talk about being a writer and being successful.

His words pushed me, encouraged me, and made me cringe thinking about what I should be doing, but wasn’t doing yet. He strives to write something (poem, short story, etc), every day. He strives to submit something (poem, short story, etc) every day. When he described the person who submits their one novel, then checks their snail or email again and again, and then becomes devastated by rejection, it sounded familiar.

If a writer is submitting every day, he said, the rejections may start piling in your inbox or mailbox, but the acceptances will start coming eventually, too. Then the rejections won’t be so devastating because the writer won’t be hanging in the balance with their one novel.

Another recommendation he made for those serious about writing: get…

PUBLICATION!

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NAS)


YES.

That blessed word. After three rejections, I finally got to hear it. Reading the FWA email (“Your piece has been selected”) caused the yes to resound in my mind with the accompaniment of bells ringing and trumpets bleating. I had to leap from my seat to let out the yes, raise my hands in victory with the family members present, and we celebrated my first short story publication.

As for the three rejections, I mentioned the poetry one in the last entry. Then my fantasy short story came back with a note: “This piece didn’t grab my attention.” Thanks to some friendly advice (Hea!), I’m reworking that piece and will try submitting again. Lastly, a flash fiction piece I entered in a contest did not win.

The yes email came from the Florida Writers Association (FWA). I am an active member, and only members could submit to their latest publication. Last year, they put out a collection of sixty short stories in …

Pray and Try

My short story, "The Mute Girl," is on its way to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I am to expect a reply no sooner than eight weeks. One week has passed since I mailed the story, but I’m not sure what date it would have arrived to the editor’s desk. I am praying for them to accept the piece for publication, but it feels like a long shot. I have my dad and others praying as well. If you know my dad (you probably do), you know he is the type of prayer warrior that moves mountains.

While I enjoy writing novels and short stories the most, I have penned a few poems as well. In college, my creative writing minor required I take a poetry class. It’s not my strong point, but I took my three best poems and submitted them to Rosebud Magazine a few weeks ago with no expectations. I may or may not bother again since I don’t plan to proliferate poetry. We’ll see.

I received a pleasant email response from the poetry editor. It was encouraging to hear that he enjoyed reading m…

PUSH

In the midst of writing my novels, I am also entering short story contests and submitting short stories and poems to literary magazines. The more I PUSH, my chances will inevitably increase for publication! As of yet, I am unpublished in any writing category, and when submitting a query for my novel, I would like to be able to mention writing credits. Something else to strive for.

Someone told me a story I want to share.

A man asked God to make him strong so he could be a great warrior. God told him to PUSH a giant boulder that was blocking the entrance to a cave with a source of food and water. The nearby village was in need of food and water, so the man believed God would give him the strength to move the boulder.

Every day, the man asked God to give him the strength, and every day he pushed and pushed, but the boulder didn’t budge. The man felt foolish, but he still believed that if he kept trying, God would grant his heart’s desire.

After one year, the man decided he had enough. H…

Just Keep Writing

I’m pleased to write that I’ve been a poor blogger lately because I’ve been more diligent on my novel, Sprinter (minus a two-week period where family members were visiting).

When I hit a minor block in chapter four, it took a few months for me to realize I needed to change chapter two in regard to Riley’s (main character) attitude toward counseling. Her sessions become the major catalyst for her healing years after her mother’s death at the Athens’ Marathon in 1986.

Once I made the necessary change—removing some of her negativity toward counseling—the next few chapters started flowing and I’m up to chapter eleven! I’m eager to get back to writing more this weekend.

On a slightly different topic, does anyone else enjoy Instant Netflix as much as me? If you have a streaming device (we have a Roku box), it’s such a treat to watch instant movies on your TV straight from your computer.

I recently watched a documentary called Spirit of the Marathon. I believe it just came off the instant v…

GASPARILLA MARATHON, TAMPA

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“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,  they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV
This verse became a source of strength while my cousin, Alyssa,and I ran 26.2 miles on Sunday. It was tough, to say the least, but we reached our goal—the finish line. 
I like to think of this second marathon as research for my novel, Sprinter. Granted, I am nothing like the main character, Riley, who actually pursues winning marathons.
During the race, though I pass the walkers, I am not much faster. Alyssa and I finished in about 6 hours. She was gracious enough to slow her pace way down again to stay with me. We took off 13 minutes from my first marathon at Disney World last year.
It was somewhere between mile 22 and 23 that I hit
THE WALL. If you are a runner, you may know what I mean. The fatigue set in heavy, and I wanted to just …

Moving Forward

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

The message at my church last Sunday was in reference to repentance. Oftentimes, I don’t think to repent, even when I know I am sinning. It is much easier to pray about the areas in my life where I need help and praise the Lord for the wonderful things he does. Repentance doesn’t even occur to me.

The message reminded me of something. I so easily fall back into a routine that doesn’t include, or even attempt to include, daily writing. As a result, I am experiencing that crippling fear I mentioned a few entries ago.

Writer’s write!

I believe that to be true. How else can anyone achieve publication? I have excuses, such as family visitors and training for the Gasparilla Marathon. As I train, I even write in my head because my current novel-in-progress is about running. Yet I haven’t been writing down those thoughts when I return home. At a recent FWA meeting, a wonderful speaker talked about her mother w…