Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Time in Pages


I've been asked to write a few novellas to accompany the release of my YA Steampunk series next year.

They can be any character or event in the series. So...yay! Between 2500-5000 words long.  Whoa...what?! 

At first I was concerned at the time frame. I have until summer, but they want a few and thats a tight timeline for all the different ones I have in mind. 

Then I started writing...OMG this is hard!  I don't have enough time/pages to do what I want with the little vignettes and backstory.

There's so much more to the characters and the world. I know, I spent years creating and fine tuning them both. 

BUT...I can DO this...right? *sigh*

So the average novella is 20 pages which is around 5,000 words. Thats a lot, right? I handwrote out a story beginning. I thought I was being brief but I'm at page 11 already so I have to slash, slash, slash!

I guess it feels like time measured out in pages is a bit constraining. I have to cut out extraneous things like too much setting description, etc. And that's sort of difficult if your world is a steampunk post apocalyptic version of New York...like we're talking major world building needed here.

I'm hoping it works out.  I have in mind 5-8 novellas so hopefully I will get the process down pretty soon. 

Never realized how challenging this would be. Hats off to the other authors out there whose free novellas I gobbled up and loved...you guys rock!

+Raquel Byrnes 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG, Reading Changed Me

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

This month's Insecure Writers Support Group topic is:
How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

The truth is...A LOT

I was always a voracious reader. I was the kid in school reading as she walked to class, totally oblivious of people saying hello or...to my utter dismay, opening doors. I chewed through tomes in just a couple of days always on the prowl for a new series to swoon over. Often quoting characters and expecting others to understand my nerdy references. Yeah...that kid.

Now I am an adult version of that kid. I still read like its going out of style. I still tend to get lost in a book even in a crowded room.

BUT...reading took a little of an unexpected turn for me. It became a learning experience on how to write. 

As an author, I can appreciate what an author is doing in terms of technique. When I read, I notice things like dialogue, world-building, character development, story arc...and I learn a ton from each author.

Reading helps me identify what works and what doesn't. What I like and why I like it.  And hopefully, improve my own writing.

I figure the more I take in great writing...better writing...than my own...the more I learn.

Because of this, my choices in books has changed to reflect my taste for higher quality products. The YA genre in particular is pumping out some amazing series...I am truly excited as a reader and fan!

So now, happily, I have an actual professional reason for my book hoarding! Yay me!

Please take a look at some of the other insightful posts by the Insecure Writers Support Group...you never know where inspiration might strike.

+Raquel Byrnes

Saturday, November 12, 2016

With Every Beat


You are supposed to start your story when everything goes awry. Writers call it media res and it means that you begin a narrative "in the middle of things" rather than at the beginning of the event. 

You dump the reader right into the juicy bits of the events...right when things are taking a turn. Preferably for the worse.

The main character in my current project, The Dreadful Dark, lives each moment as if things are going to go awry in a bad way. That is because she can literally drop dead at any moment.  She has a heart condition, something called Long QT Syndrome that sends her heart racing with chaotic beats...and it does it randomly.

When she is sent to the desert to recuperate after an operation, strange happenings and the dangerous secrets of a mysterious family known as The Dreadful Darlings, draw her into a world of longing and fear and suspense.

Where a typical person might fear for their life, cringe at the sight of death, run from the unexplained...well, Venus is not typical.

"When death is your constant companion, it is familiar, and nothing is frightening about the familiar."  ~Venus Bell

So my story begins...not at the hospital or as she makes her way to her eccentric uncles Earthship home in the barren landscape...

No, our story begins in the chill of the desert at night. Underneath a riot of stars against the velvet black sky. In the shadows of an abandoned sanitarium nearly reclaimed by the sand, she meets a boy both dark and strange. 

Is he all that his name implies? Or is there something about Rowan Darling worth saving?

In the midst of malevolent forces gathering against them, Venus finds that her heart is far stronger than she had ever imagined.

+Raquel Byrnes