Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beauty vs. Sublime

Darling House in The Dreadful Darlings

In doing preliminary research on my next book, I was pondering the difference between beauty and the sublime. Beauty, as you may know, is concerned with symmetry and harmony...order. 

The sublime on the other hand is almost the opposite. It is beauty and wonder in the face of the awesome and terrible and usually chaotic. Much like witnessing a lightning storm while on a mountaintop. 

The Dark Alley by Kimerajam
Frightening, yes. Awe inspiring, indubitably. Able to make you ponder your own mortality....absolutely. Seductive, definitely.

I've always had a fascination with the edgier side of literature. My mother was a huge Poe fan and her favorite poem, The Highwayman, is rife with imagery that would inform a lot of my earlier, amateur writings as a teen.

Angst and dread. Sacrifice and true love. The inevitability of death. The hope of redemption. Ahhh the adolescent goth years. Boy do I have some pictures to prove my love of matte crimson lipstick.

So to find the darling in the darkness. Hope in the horrible. And epiphany in the eerie. That is my goal these next few months as I start to gather the pieces of my next tale. I've been inspired by so many things, but photos by far help me to really get into the dark and dangerous aesthetic of the genre.

More news on my progress as it comes. I'm taking my time with this series. I intend to savor the writing process. Get back in to the love of just spinning a good yarn.

What has fascinated you since your youth? Has it changed or does it still drive your choices?

+Raquel Byrnes 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How To Get Your Heart Broken

How to Get Your Heart Broken by Rose Fall 
Release Date: March 21st 2016 
Genre: YA Contemporary 

A self-proclaimed cynic, Eli is unsurprised by her boyfriend’s betrayal. Yet, its impact goes beyond what she realizes; a cruel bet, an array of secrets, and a thousand lessons not yet learned teach her how to trust again as an unlikely boy shows her a kind of love she never knew existed. After Eli finds her boyfriend cheating on her, she seeks an escape. She heads to the beach to spend the summer before college with her two best friends. When Eli is unable to move past the betrayal, the girls devise a distraction; a bet about their handsome neighbor. Yet their thoughtless competition goes too far and their friendships are tested as they began to wonder how much they really know about each other and themselves. In the chaos, they manage to learn the truth about love, self-acceptance, and the journey back from rock bottom. 

Buy Links: AmazonPaperback

 About the Author 
Rose Fall was born in New York City to Senegalese immigrant parents. She is currently studying Communication and Global Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Her debut novel "How to Get Your Heart Broken" is set to be released Spring 2016. You can find her at her blog on 

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter 

Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

5 Core Rules for World Building

I love making up new worlds. From steam powered alternate histories to dangerous realms in both time and space. It allows me to be creative and Type A at the same time because each 'universe' that you conjure up has to have a set system of rules in which the characters and phenomenon operate.

This is very important. Because it will save you a LOT of rewriting between drafts. I recently had this discussion with another author who has an awesome idea for a plot involving well known literary characters. The problem was, it was unclear whether or not in the 'book universe' she was creating if they were real...had come into existence spontaneously...only existed in their own book worlds...etc.

And because these questions are hard to define after the fact...she put the novel aside. Hopefully it is just for now, but sometimes overwhelming problems with wrapping our minds around our own creations can be intimidating. Which can kill creativity and passion for a project.

So here are 5 Core Rules for setting up a framework for how your book's universe will operate.

  • If you have a Magic System...make it well defined so that the reader understands what is possible and what is not. Brandon Sanderson, one of my favorite authors, has a post specifically about Creating Magic Systems in Fantasy.

  • Clearly illustrate the political and/or religious powers. What are their goals. What have they done to achieve them? How might that cause conflict with the citizens of that world?

  • What is it like for the average Joe to live in the world? This helps to provide a frame of reference for your reader. Is your main character in the elite or are they the downtrodden? Are there classes at all? Is everyone expected to be the same or divided for their differences? Do other forms of intelligent life coexist? Elves and humans...aliens and mermaids?

  • What are some major defining moments in your world? What is historically relevant? Natural disaster, plague or sickness, a war that changed the way people thought or lived? What about an advancement in science that changed the world -- for better or worse. Or nothing...just time. Gradual advancement in technology or culture?

  • Which brings me to my last point. Define the problem in contrast to the status quo right away. This is crucial in both scifi and fantasy because it prevents you from simply getting lost in world building for the sake of making stuff up. It helps you focus on what part of the world is important for your reader to know about.
There are of course so many other aspects to World Building but these core 5 should help to create a solid framework for you to hang your story.  Let me know what you do to define your novel's universe. I'm always up for some writing tips. 

Photo by shaka