poetry and prose about place

learning curves

with 4 comments

In the last two weeks, I’ve taken a detour. Instead of working on my poetry or novels, I’ve had some fun creating a fantasy tale. The story is about a young woman who tries to escape servitude only to find herself back in a similar situation. The story takes place in the future, on a planet far from earth.




Writing the tale was fun. Creating a simple language to use in the dialogue was interesting. Finding some names for the characters and places was a challenge but very satisfying.


Making a map to describe the setting was no fun at all. I liked creating the spaces, thinking about where to put the landscape features and towns. But, I had to make a decision:

  1. draw the map by hand and risk wanting to change names or details in the future, or
  2. create the map in a layered digital format where I could make changes anytime I want


I decided to do the map in GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), a free on-line app similar to Photoshop Pro. I have never worked with GIMP before, so I have had some frustrating hours coming up the learning curve. But, I have prevailed and I now have a map to suit my story.


a map to go with the story

a map to go with the story


The story is told in poetry and is based on a world where water doesn’t behave as it does here on Earth. Instead it effervesces and tries to flow upward. Hence a water-climb rather than a water-fall. This is just a taste of the story. The main characters are fleeing, pursued by an alien species, the Gel-heads (Gel-heads have transparent skin, like green gelatin).  Windfleers are flocking birds, like large white starlings.


Terrain changes. A climb, the way rocky, tangled.

Glimpses of a water-climb.

Shouts in the valley behind them, Gel-heads

sensing the prey is near. Need for stealth and speed.


Burst from the forest to a plateau. The En’ast Water-climb

above them. Startle a flock of windfleers. Cacophony

and dithering panic. Two hundred pairs of wings swirl upward,

a tornado of feathers. The Gel-heads alerted.


Nowhere to run. The water-climb a bracket at the head of the valley.

A colossal outcrop, sheer walls of stone. Jagged cliffs where water ascends.

Shallow pool at the base, fed by artesian groundwater. The water bubbles

and leaps, each droplet climbs, then falls, net flow upward.

Rocks slick.


Copyright Jane Tims 2016


Written by jane tims

November 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I enjoyed reading your creative detour. Your detour has been very productive.

    Liked by 1 person


    November 12, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    • Hi Sheryl. That’s a good word for it ‘detour’. My mom used to say,’a change is as good as a rest’ so I guess I am resting! Jane


      jane tims

      November 14, 2016 at 8:34 am

  2. What and interesting post and what imagination. That map really is something. I am now interested in learning more about GIMP. But did you think it is better than doing a hand-drawn map? Does it save time and effort or used up more of both?

    Liked by 1 person

    Lone Grey Squirrel

    November 11, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    • I definitely saved time in the long run. I will be making changes to the setting as I edit my story so this lets me make the changes I want. For example, last evening I realized I had forgotten to draw an enclosure around two of my villages, and with GIMP I just made a new layer to add or remove as I please. With ink and paper, I would have to re-do the whole map. I am fairly impatient so I know there is more to discover within GIMP but I will never have to relearn the basics. I also found great help on the web … if I didn’t know how to do something I just asked a question like ‘how do I remove a path in GIMP?’ And I found the answer right away!


      jane tims

      November 12, 2016 at 7:05 am

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