Archive for December 2015
… on our tree! Lots of snowflakes added. Next come the snowmen!
Through the years we have collected so many ornaments. One year I decorated seven trees! Now we only have one tree and most years I decorate with snowflakes, snowmen and snow-covered houses. A few birds and other items sneak in as well!
Copyright Jane Tims 2015
I think that I will never be as proud of a magazine publication as I am of my two poems and two drawings in a hockey magazine!
Between the Lines – A Journal of Hockey Literature is a publication of the University of Saskatchewan, now in its third volume. The editors are Dwayne Brenna and Sara-Jane Gloutnez.
So, why am I so proud of this accomplishment? Is it because I am a lover of hockey? Just the opposite. I never pay it any attention! I have been known to ask if the Blue Jays won the Stanley Cup last year! However, one of my brothers is a devoted hockey fan. His love for the sport when he was young has always impressed me … I think people need should be passionate about their interests!
Hockey is a great theme for poetry. The game itself is naturally rhythmic (the movement of the skater, the varying pace of the game). The names of players and announcers, the terms for various plays, the enthusiasm of the fans … interesting words to work with! And metaphors abound.
I like to learn new things, to discover new themes for my writing and art. I also consider the game of hockey to be quintessentially Canadian. I can’t name a single hockey player after Mickey Mantle, but I love having my poems and art in a hockey magazine.
Between the Lines is a well-presented publication that includes stories about hockey and hockey players in both poetry and prose. The writing inside captures the scratch of blades on ice, the excitement of the announcer’s voice, the clouds of breath above the outside hockey rink, and the scurry of kids to move the net from the way of subdivision traffic.
at eight, my brother
was tall for his age
as a skater bug
on the big farm pond
but compact, center
of gravity low
he learned to skate
on a strip of ice
by the driveway
practiced on the pond
a family myth
that he was pale
and our dad saw no value
in rising early
for ice time
my brother’s rink
a screen, rabbit-eared
Hockey Night in Canada
a pad of blue-lined
paper, hockey stick
a yellow pencil, skate
marks neat columns
of statistics, goals
and assists, Howe hat tricks
from the breathless
crescendo, Foster Hewitt –
‘He shoots, he scores.’
today my brother
is a fit man
an accountant, skates
on the boardroom table
on the frozen pond
a water strider
on the meniscus
at the coliseum
can still do a pivot
poem published as ‘loving hockey’ in Between the Lines, Volume 3, 2015/2016
drawing published in Between the Lines, Volume 1, 2014
Copyright 2015 Jane Tims
Remember my first novel? – ‘Saving the Landing Church’ aka ‘Open to the Skies’. The book is the story of how a woman tries to preserve an abandoned church with unexpected consequences for herself and for the community. The setting of the novel is a writers’ retreat in rural New Brunswick.
I began the book three years ago and worked on it, on and off, for a year. Since then, I have been working on two more novels in the series: ‘Crossing at a Walk’ and ‘Shore to Shore’.
In the last year, I sent ‘Open to the Skies’ to three publishers. Eventually I heard back from each one: ‘interesting but does not meet our publishing needs’. Disappointing but expected. However I intend to accomplish my goal of getting my novel published!
I decided to take another step and ask a professional editor to look at my novel and offer comments. I hired Lee Thompson of ‘Lee Thompson Editing +’ ( http://leethompsonediting.com/ ) to read my book and comment. I knew Lee from his role as Executive Director with the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation and took him up on one of the editing specials he occasionally offers. Lee read my novel and provided me with chapter-by-chapter notes about dialogue, plot pace and voice. He helped me most by pointing out areas where he felt characters were not contributing enough to the story.
The following is my commentary on Lee’s editing services:
One of the hardest aspects of writing is overcoming subjectivity. Hiring Lee to read and assess my novel helped to overcome this problem since Lee is not only a skilled editor, but is able to provide his comments in a way that encourages a writer’s objectivity. Lee provided a chapter-by-chapter analysis of my novel, including his assessment of what worked, what didn’t and suggestions for improvements. First, I knew by his synopsis that he had read the novel thoroughly and understood what I was trying to achieve. His comments on dialogue, plot pace and voice were specific and not only improved this book but helped me to look at my writing in a new way. Most important, his insightful thoughts on gaps in the story led me to discover story areas and directions that had previously eluded me but waited just below the surface to be discovered. Thanks to Lee I am now in the last stages of a final draft and almost ready to submit the novel to some of the publishers he suggested. I have realized that obtaining the services of a professional editor is one of the most important steps a writer can take – Lee’s confidence and skill made this part of the process painless and productive!
I am realising that writing a novel is a story of its own, consisting of many parts, each with its own consequences:
- First ideas about story and plot – a place to begin
- First Draft – the novel takes shape
- Second Draft – revision
- Third Draft and so on – more revision
- Beta Reader – someone to cast a reader’s eye on the draft and provide feedback
- Professional Editor – someone to cast an editor’s eye on the draft and provide feedback
- Publisher – someone to read and reject the novel
- Publisher – someone to read and accept the novel for publication
- Readers – someone to read the words and discover the story
Copyright 2015 Jane Tims