nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘writing a novel’ Category

my eraser is my friend

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I spent a quiet morning drawing a new image for the fourth book in my science fiction series.

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Meniscus: Crossing The Churn and Meniscus: South from Sintha have been published. I am now waiting for editing and a proof of Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb (to be published in July). In the meanwhile, I have some time to continue work on the fourth book, Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill.

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The Village at Themble Hill is the most tragic of the four books to date. Odymn, sometimes reckless, breaks her leg and then falls from a tree. How did she get in that tree and will she survive?

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I am the first to admit my drawings are not perfect. I have no specific training and my hand does all the work so it takes all the blame. However, I love to draw. It is engrossing and being able to illustrate my own books has helped me tell my stories.

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I begin by reading the text of the story to choose a scene I want to illustrate. I usually have the composition of the scene securely in my head as a result of the writing. Then I pose my little wooden model, find some photos to help me with the human form, and get to work. I have decided to show you the stages for a particular drawing.

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In this scene, Odymn and the Slain have decided to explore The Fault, to make sure there are no unknown ways for the Gel-heads to gain access to the new Human settlement. The Gel-heads have invaded before, carrying off prisoners and trying to murder those they leave behind.

 

The Slain pulls his map from his pack.

Yellowed vellum. Corners worn.

Ink marks gloss the edges.

The Slain’s finger follows The Fault.

 

“We’ll go scouting,”

he says. “Make certain

there are no other stair-steps

carved in rock.”

 

“No other water-climbs,” says Odymn.

 

She hears what the Slain does not say.

He tires of life in Garth —

rules, duty rosters

and expected conversation.

 

“When do we leave?” says Odymn.

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I begin with a quick sketch to establish the position of my characters. I use a 2B pencil and eraser. I think the eraser is the most useful of my drawing tools!

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Then I start to consolidate the lines and sketch in some background.

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The next step is to establish some of the shadow in the drawing. As you can see, a Q-tip is almost as important to me as the eraser!

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Odymn is always the easiest to draw. She is a bit quirky, so her facial expressions mask her beauty. The main challenges are her hair and her nose which always tries to develop a hook.

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The last thing I draw is the Slain’s head. He is a most difficult character/subject. I always get him too young or too old, too dark or too light. Sometimes he insists on looking a bit like a caveman!

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The final drawing is almost exactly the scene I saw in my head. Odymn and the Slain look a little uncertain about what they will find on their adventure. As you can see, when you use an eraser, you also need a brush to shoo the eraser bits away without smudging the drawing.

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With a few minor edits, this drawing will accompany this part of the story in The Village at Themble Hill. The Slain and Odymn will have some dangerous adventures as they travel along The Fault.

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What do you think of my process and my final drawing?

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

 

Independent publishing – editing

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During the past two months, I have been working on the second in my sci-fi series. Meniscus: South from Sintha tells the continuing adventures of Odymn and the Slain. This is a story of redemption. Odymn wants the Slain to undo his past wrongs, but can he ever return his ‘acquisitions’ to their homes?

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To edit this book, I have used all the methods at my disposal: edits in Word, read-throughs of printed .PDF files, and reviews of the virtual book on CreateSpace. I also follow advice of an editor, Lee Thompson (Lee Thompson Editing +), and pay attention to the comments of my beta-readers.

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This time I tried one more method, a great boost. I ordered ‘proof’ copies of the book and sent a couple of these to beta-readers. And I used the ‘proof’ as my own mark-up version. I ordered a ‘proof’ for the first book as well, but only after all comments were in.

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For South from Sintha I used the proof to record all comments and edits. Having the book in hand to do this step has been so much easier. I have given myself permission to scribble and revise and add details, and I am now ready to download the file to generate another proof.

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This adds a few steps to the CreateSpace process, but I have already seen the rewards.

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Meniscus: South from Sintha will be available in paperback and Kindle by mid-May. I am so eager to hold both finished books in my hands!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

May 1, 2017 at 7:35 am

Winner … what is ‘beelwort’?

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I am happy to announce the winner of my contest ‘What is beelwort?’ Beelwort is a mysterious item mentioned in the first book of my Meniscus sci-fi series — Meniscus: Crossing The Churn. My books give only small hints about the nature of beelwort: it get slipped into pockets as a joke and, although edible, is not very palatable.

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The winner of the contest is Allan Hudson. Allan is the editor of the South Branch Scribbler, an on-line blog exploring the arts. Every week Allan posts an article, guest blog or question and answer session about an author, musician or artist.  Have a look at http://allanhudson.blogspot.ca/ The blog includes some interesting insights into the process of writing and the methods of some well-known authors.

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Allan’s answer to the contest defined beelwort as ‘… an edible, hallucinogenic fungus only found on Meniscus …’  To this, I will only add ‘rather squishy’. Beelwort will finally be defined, using Allan’s definition, in Book Five of the Meniscus series — Meniscus: Karst Topography. Also, Allan will receive a postage-paid copy of my first poetry book within easy reach, poems about eating wild edible plants (available at http://www.chapelstreeteditions.com or on Amazon).

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Meniscus: Karst Topography (I took geology as a minor in university) is in draft form at present. However, the first book in the series — Meniscus: Crossing The Churn — is now available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XPPNCGF/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Meniscus: Crossing The Churn is a science-fiction adventure/romance describing the meeting of Odymn and the Slain. Written as a long poem, it is a book about loss, freedom and relationship. The remaining books in the series will bring new characters into the mix and tell a story about building companionship, family and community on a dystrophic planet where even casual contact between humans is discouraged.  Don’t let the poetry format put you off! The tale is told in short lines, written as concisely as is possible to tell a story!

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Thank you to Allan for entering the contest! Your book within easy reach is in the mail!

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Belnar, one of the characters from Book Two is into the honey mead, but he could be eating beelwort!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

 

Writing a Series – continuity

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With the publication of the first in the Meniscus series — Meniscus: Crossing The Churn (CreateSpace, 2017), I am now working to publish the second – Meniscus: South from Sintha.

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A poor photo of the painting I did for the cover of Book Two – Meniscus: South from Sintha

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I have completed the text and all of the drawings. I have even finished the painting for the book cover! The book is now with my editor (Lee Thompson Editing +) who will give me advice on story arc, characters, poetic line and word choice.

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Back to those final edits!!!!

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The story for South from Sintha continues the tale begun in Book One — in this book, Odymn wants the Slain to fix some of the wrongs he has done in the past. South from Sintha is the story of a journey to return some of the Slain’s former captives to their homes. But can you really ‘go back’?

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The cover painting for Meniscus: South from Sintha is based on one of the drawings I created for the story … the drawing is called ‘release of the feather’ … after returning each captive to his or her home, the Slain and Odymn release a token to celebrate the ‘return’

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As I prepare the second in the series, I have to make a couple of continuity decisions. One had to do with maps. I have taken the advice of my nephew and altered the map to reflect the landscape changes revealed in Book Two, as well as the path followed by the major characters.

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The West Half of the map in the story South from Sintha … drawing the map in GIMP makes additions/changes so easy!

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Another continuity decision concerns the common language on the planet Meniscus: Gel-speak. As I write, new words are added to the Gel-speak vocabulary. I have included a Glossary with a Gel-speak Dictionary at the back of each book. But, do I keep the Book One words in the Book Two Dictionary, even though some words are not used in Book Two? Or do I include the vocabulary from both Book One and Book Two? Perhaps you would help me make a decision by responding to the poll.

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If you want to read Book One in the series, Meniscus: Crossing The Churn is now available at Amazon, in both Paperback and Kindle versions. Be sure to look under my first name Alexandra TimsOf course I want you to buy the book and read the story of how the Slain and Odymn meet! Meeting the furry, purry Argenop in the story is worth the read!!!!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

March 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Meniscus: Crossing The Churn … on Kindle soon!

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I have had a frustrating week. However, I have accomplished what I set out to do. I have pressed the publish button on the Kindle edition of my book. It should be available in a couple of days.

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Say hello to Odymn and the Slain. My big problem was to get them from postage-stamp size to fill-the-page size.

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What an effort! My main challenge was putting my 25 drawings into the various types of e-book at a proper size.

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I googled for help for almost two weeks and tried every suggestion without luck. And at last I found the answer. I purchased a book by Aaron Shepard ( Pictures on Kindle – Self-Publishing Your Kindle Book with Photos, Art, or Graphics, or Tips on Formatting Your Ebook’s Images to Make Them Look Great (Shepard Publications, Friday Harbor, Washington, 2013-2016) available as an e-book from Amazon for $4.03 … the key was to switch on and off all the right boxes in Word ! You have no idea how deep the Word rabbit-hole goes!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

A contest ! What is ‘beelwort’?

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In writing my science-fiction book Meniscus: Crossing The Churn, I had a lot of fun inventing plant and animal species to populate the planet Meniscus. I also enjoyed thinking of the various common items a traveller on the planet might encounter. I include a Glossary at the end of the book, to help the reader. However, one item is not identified, on purpose. I thought it might be fun to keep readers guessing about the identity of this item …  “beelwort” …

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What is ‘beelwort’ ???

 

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When we first meet Odymn, the book’s protagonist, she is a slave in the city of Prell. She puts in her days at a bar, waiting tables. Being a waitress in Prell is no fun. As the book says, every day has its challenges: boiling coffee thrown, the brutal behavior of the Gel-head customers, and, worst of all —

 

Slices of beelwort slipped into a pocket …

 

The “wort” in “beelwort” suggests a plant or plant product. The only other thing I know about “beelwort” is now part of my draft of Book Four — Meniscus: The Town at Themble Hill.  Odymn talks about her cooking:

 

‘When we return to Garth,” she says,

“I refuse to take another turn at cooking.

No one likes what I make.”

 

“I like what you make,” says the Slain.

 

“You’d eat beelwort on a stick,”

says Odymn.

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So what is “beelwort”?

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For example, a slice of “beelwort” in a pocket might be like having a slice of orange put into your pocket …

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I am running a contest. The winner of the contest will recieve a copy of my poetry book within easy reach, a book about edible wild plants … not a beelwort among them!

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To enter the contest, let me know what you think “beelwort” is — the answer can go in my Blog or Facebook comments. Describe it in one sentence (nothing obscene is allowed and I reserve the right to edit or not allow the comment).  I will run the answers by the members of my writing group and have them select one winner. I’ll announce the winner by March 31, 2017 and arrange to send him or her a copy of within easy reach, postage paid.

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Put on your thinking caps! What is “beelwort”?

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

 

 

 

The “proof” arrives!

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A knock on the door yesterday afternoon brought the “proof” of my new book Meniscus: Crossing The Churn”. So exciting!

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The proofing with CreateSpace takes a while if you follow their process. At the suggestion of one of my blog readers, I sent for the hard copy “proof” and I am so glad I did! I am also reviewing a virtual book and a PDF version, both provided by CreateSpace.

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I know from my read of the virtual book, there are several things I want to fix. But having the proof makes publication of the book more “real”.  Also, a read of the real pages will probably point out other edits … there always seems to be a difference between my perception of paper and screen versions!

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It will take a few hours to read the “proof”, make any changes and go through the process of downloading the new version to CreateSpace. Then, a repeat of the proofing process. Nevertheless, I am that much closer to the publication of my book on Amazon!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

March 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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