nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for October 2013

the colour of October #2 (Tansy yellow)

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So many colours!  The orange of the big pumpkin on our doorstep.  The reds and yellows of the Red Maple leaves in piles under our feet.  The bright white of the moon this month.  The golden colour of the needles of the Tamarack now falling with every breath of wind.

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The colour that has inspired me this week is the yellow of Tansy  (Tansy vulgare L.) still bright along the road in Fredericton. The flowers are like brilliant yellow buttons.

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I couldn’t duplicate the colour with the yellows in my watercolour palette, but after layers of alternating yellow and white, I have realised how wonderful the yellows of nature really are!

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October 27, 2013   'Tansy'   Jane Tims

October 27, 2013 ‘Tansy’ Jane Tims

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In a month’s time, the bright yellow heads of the Tansy will be black!

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

October 30, 2013 at 7:09 am

writing a novel – still editing

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Title: unknown

Working Title: Saving the Landing Church

Setting: a writers’ retreat, including an abandoned church

Characters: main character Sadie, a writer; her husband Tom; people from the community

Plot: the story of how Sadie tries to win over a community in order to preserve an abandoned church

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Still editing.

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I am on Draft #7 of my novel.  In this draft I am going chapter by chapter through the whole novel to look for opportunities for improvement:

  • I need to make sure I am showing, not telling.  Instead of telling the reader that Sadie is afraid, I try to show the reader her fear, by writing about her accelerated heart rate, her dry throat, how her shoes seem stuck to the floor, and so on.
  •  I need to be sure I not only describe how the scene looks, but also include the smells, the sounds and the tactile experiences.
  • I am still looking for words I repeat in consecutive lines, a hard-to-break habit of mine …

One of the tools I have constructed to help me with fine edits is a chart about the characters.  I have character sketches (in both words and drawings) for each person in my novel, but it is tedious to refer to these over and over.  So, I constructed a table with the important details – how old the person is, what they look like, and so on.

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Especially helpful is a list of the words he or she uses.  For example, Sadie says ‘dinner’ for the six o’clock meal.  Her husband says ‘supper’.  Sadie uses the word ‘graveyard’, while most of the local people say ‘cemetery’.

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I have 44 characters in my book, including both major, minor and dead characters.  This is probably too many, but it is a book about a community.  Here is my table for a few of my characters:

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Character  Occupation Nickname Characteristics  Age in 2005 Words they use
Sarah Hatheway writer Sadie Plain, thin, oval face, short   brown hair 42 Bed and Breakfast; silly;   retreaters; dinner; graveyard
Tom Hatheway welder Sadie’s husband; strong, short   grey hair, pale 48 B & B; hey girl; clients;   supper; graveyard
Oliver   Johnston minister 42 graveyard; supper
Emma   Southkind homemaker Keeps a journal; solid; yellow   purse; curly grey hair, gentle 59 cemetery; supper
Mark   Southkind retired train conductor 60 cemetery
Katherine   Birch writing coach Kitty Language a bit coarse 62 graveyard; dinner
Alexandra   Connelly student  Tall; long brown hair 16  supper
Joe   Connelly accountant Alexandra’s dad; widowed; tall 45 graveyard

Written by jane tims

October 28, 2013 at 7:09 am

gates and wirescape (day 38-40)

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On Day 38 to Day 40 of my virtual bike trip along the Cornwall coast,  colourful houses and storefronts caught my eye …

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Map Day 38 to Day 40 b

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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7-38  October 8, 2013  25 minutes  3.0 km  (Penopal to south of Mylor Bridge)

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As usual, I also loved the gates I ‘saw’ along the way. The gate below, on the road to Mylor Bridge, had shaped posts.  When I painted them, however, they looked like milk bottles, so I squared them off.  I took other liberties with this one as well …

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inspiration for ‘gate on Carclew Road’ (image from Street View)

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October 12, 2013  'gate on Carclew Road'   Jane Tims

October 12, 2013 ‘gate on Carclew Road’ Jane Tims

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7-39  October 11, 2013  35 minutes  3.0 km  ( south of Mylor Bridge to Mylor)

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The houses in Mylor Bridge are quite colourful, so I stopped to paint this row.  Painting the wire overhead takes a steady hand and concentration …

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inspiration for ‘houses in Mylor Bridge’ (image from Street View)

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October 12, 2013   'houses in Mylor Brdge'   Jane Tims

October 12, 2013 ‘houses in Mylor Brdge’ Jane Tims

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7-40  October 13, 2013  30 minutes  3.0 km  (Mylor to Flushing)

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More colourful houses caught my eye as I ‘biked’ along the Penryn River near Flushing.  The purple pigment would not cooperate so the tumble of flowers ended up red in the painting!  …

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dooryard in Flushing

inspiration for ‘dooryard in Flushing’ (image from Street View)

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October 14, 2013  'dooryard in Flushing'  Jane Tims

October 14, 2013 ‘dooryard in Flushing’ Jane Tims

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The scene below is from somewhere along the streets of Falmouth, just across the Penryn River from Flushing.  I loved the colourful houses and storefronts but after I had painted the scene, I could not find the image in Street View.  I wonder what the woman in the painting would think if she knew she was the star of my Blog today! …

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October 14, 2013  'side walk'   Jane Tims

October 14, 2013 ‘side walk’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

writing a novel – plotting the change

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Title: unknown

Working Title: Saving the Landing Church

Setting: a writers’ retreat, including an abandoned church

Characters: main character Sadie, a writer; her husband Tom; people from the community

Plot: the story of how Sadie tries to win over a community in order to preserve an abandoned church

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'Rose Window'

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In writing and editing my novel, I have had to turn my attention to the plot, again and again.

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Last November, when I started to write my novel, I learned quickly –  stories usually are built on the concept of change.

  • the main character wants something (a need)
  • The character sets about trying to fill the need and is thwarted at every turn
  • In the end, they either fill the need or they don’t

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During the story, the main character must be altered in some way.

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Sadie

this is my main character, Sadie … how will she be changed during the novel? She does look like she could use a hair salon …

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As my novel has progressed, I have realised that Sadie not only wants the church, she wants the church with the blessing of the community

How does Sadie change?  Her understanding of the community and her attitude towards the community changes.  She realises that ‘community’ is a necessary component of the church she wants so badly … without the community, the church is just a hollow building  …

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To make certain my main character is changing and growing in the right direction, I’ve plotted out her understanding, her attitude and her progress with respect to the community …

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This excerpt from my writing journal will make no sense to you, but it shows that I write to make the novel and the characters progress towards an end.  If I encounter something in the plot (or the subplots) that does not fit, I look at it again and rewrite or reorder events …

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If you write short or long fiction, how do you make sure the plot is always moving in the direction you intend?

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Copyright 2013   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

October 23, 2013 at 7:00 am

fields and ferry crossings

with 4 comments

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7-35  September 30, 2013  35 minutes  3.0 km  (north of St. Just in Roseland to ferry across River Fal)

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The thirty-fifth day of my virtual bike trip left me scrambling for an image to paint.  I biked over miles of country road and although the countryside is lovely, I couldn’t seem to find an image that ‘spoke’ to me.  In this end, I chose a tree along the road to Philleigh.  Greens are so difficult for me – I couldn’t seem to achieve anywhere near the yellow hue of the greens in the photo …

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7-35 tree by road

inspiration for ‘countryside near Philleigh’ (image from Street View)

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Oct. 3, 2013 'countryside near Philleigh'   Jane Tims

Oct. 3, 2013 ‘countryside near Philleigh’ Jane Tims

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7-36  October 2, 2013  35 minutes  3.0 km  (ferry across River Fal to Feock)

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Ferry crossings are always fun.  The Ferry across the River Fal didn’t look very different from the crossings here in New Brunswick …

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7-35 ferry crossing River Fal

the blue flat-decked boat is the ferry … and look at the big ship just up river (image from Street View)

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I especially liked the house where the ferry docked on the west side of the river – lots of flowers and stone …

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ferry landing at River Fal
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September 27, 2013  'flowers near River Fal'   Jane Tims

September 27, 2013 ‘flowers near River Fal’ Jane Tims

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7-37  October 8, 2013  25 minutes  3.0 km  (Foeck to Penpol)

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If the thirty-fifth day of my travels was mostly fields, the thirty-seventh was mostly trees.  I love the circular ‘tree tunnels’ formed along the Cornwall roads when the hedgerows are pruned.  In this interpretation of one of one of those archways, I decided not to paint a single individual leaf …

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7-37 tree tunnel

inspiration for ‘road tunnel near Penpol’ (image from Street View)

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October 3, 2013 'road tunnel near Penpol'   Jane Tims

October 3, 2013 ‘road tunnel near Penpol’ Jane Tims

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Along the way, I often ‘see’ enchanting gateways.  I particularly like the gates with stone post like this one near Feock …

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Oct. 4, 2013 'gate near Feock'   Jane Tims

October 4, 2013 ‘gate near Feock’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

the colour of October #2 – Red Oak

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Our leaves have reached the ‘world on fire’ stage.  We took a drive along the St. John River to our cabin yesterday and were immersed in reds, oranges and yellows.  I particularly like the Red Oak leaves.  They lag behind the Red Maple –  some are still green.  But a few younger trees show vermillion and orange and purple to rival the maple.

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October 12, 2013  'Oak leaves'  Jane Tims

October 12, 2013 ‘Oak leaves’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

October 18, 2013 at 7:06 am

Posted in growing and gathering

Tagged with , , ,

mudflats and hedgerows

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For eight months now, I have been encouraging myself to exercise by pretending to cycle far from home.  I use Street View in Google Earth to explore the countryside in parts of the world where I have never been except in imagination.  From January 30, 2013 to June 28, 2013, I cycled virtually in Central France, from Lusignan to Ile de Ré.  Since July 1, 2013, I have been following the coast in Cornwall, beginning in Rame.  In each post, I have presented Street View images I have ‘seen’ along the road.  I have also shown you the drawings and watercolours inspired by the images.

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Change is always refreshing to me, so I am going to alter the way I report my bike trips.  In part I am doing this in order to be able to do more posts in my ‘colour of the month’ series and about writing my novel.  I might also return to posting some of my poems.

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In each post, I’ll report on one or more of my days of exercise, and I will show you the drawing or watercolour and the Street View image that inspired the art.  I hope you enjoy comparing the ‘real’ image with my artistic interpretation.

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map day 32 to day 34

map showing distance travelled for day 32 to day 34 (map from Google Earth)

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7-32  Sept. 24, 2013  40 minutes  3.0 km  (Portscatho to Bohantha)

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South of Portscatho, fields are separated by hedges and rows of mature trees.  I loved this view of trees against the blue water of the Atlantic …

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tree line south of Portscatho

inspiration for ‘row of trees south of Portscatho’ (Image from Street View)

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September 21, 2013  'row of trees south of Portscatho'   Jane Tims

September 21, 2013 ‘row of trees south of Portscatho’ Jane Tims

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7-33  Sept. 28, 2013  35 minutes  3.0 km  (Bohantha to St. Mawes)

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My virtual bike trip on September 28 took me along the Froe River at low tide.  The brown mud dominated the scene and reminded me of some of the areas around Moncton, New Brunswick where we have huge differences between high and low tide and spectacular carved mudflats …

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Froe Creek

inspiration for ‘Froe Creek’ (image from Street View)

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September 19, 2013  'Froe Creek'   Jane Tims

September 19, 2013 ‘Froe Creek’ Jane Tims

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7-34  September 30, 2013  30 minutes  3.0 km  (St. Mawes to St. Just in Roseland)

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I continue to be enchanted by the way the roadside vegetation is managed in Cornwall.  There are strict rules about how and when to trim the vegetation of the verges (the area between the hedge and the road surface) and the hedge.  The Cornish roadside hedges are unique in having a ‘stone and turf’ structure.  The hedge is basically a stone-faced earth bank,  The vertical face of the hedgerow is populated by ferns and flowering plants. On top of the hedge is turf or a shrubby hedgerow.  This area is often occupied by oak and other mature tree species.

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The resulting environment provides habitat for wild life species, including the wild flowers that have been a delight along every bit of my virtual journey.  When vines occupy the face of the hedge, it means the hedge has been cut back too severely.

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For a fascinating read, have a look at the leaflet ‘Cornish Hedge Management For hedges adjacent to highways’ at http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=13777

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road tunnel

inspiration for ‘road near St. Just in Roseland’ Image from Street View)

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September 26, 2013  'road near St. Just in Roseland'   Jane Tims

September 26, 2013 ‘road near St. Just in Roseland’ Jane Tims

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I hope you have enjoyed this part of my virtual journey.  Please let me know what you think when you compare my watercolours with the images that inspired them.

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Copyright 2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

October 16, 2013 at 6:48 am

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