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poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

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

Authors Coffee House – a reading by poet Shari Andrews

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Hi Everyone. Our church (Holy Trinity, Nasonworth) is holding the third in our series of Authors Coffee Houses next Thursday evening (March 23, 2017) at 7:00 PM.

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Our author this month is Shari Andrews, award-winning poet and a resident of New Maryland. Shari will be reading from her books “Crucible” and “First Thin Light”.

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“Crucible” is a tribute to St. Catherine of Siena who lived in the Middle Ages, and a dramatic imagining of the people and events in her life.

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“First Thin Light” is about the ties that bind our past to our present.

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Shari’s writing is steeped in history and many of her poems are responses to works of art. Her poems ponder women’s experience —

From her poem ‘Where She Laid Her Body Down’ (After “The Walk to Work” by Jean-François Millet, 1851) in “First Thin Light”:

“She wears the withy basket,

she will fill again and again with potatoes,

upside down

like an over-sized hat,

a roof she wants to keep over her head …”

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There will be a free-will offering to benefit the Fredericton Food Bank.

Dessert, tea and coffee and good company!

Hope to see you there if you are in the Fredericton area!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

March 17, 2017 at 9:44 am

guest post in the South Branch Scribbler

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I find writers are very supportive of one-another. In New Brunswick we have an active writing community and lots of evidence that writers want to work together to improve their craft and promote the work of others!

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Many communities have writing groups who meet regularly — I belong to two groups: “Wolf Tree Writers” who have met for over 25 years and “Fictional Friends” who have been together for almost ten years. Every month, I have a chance to hear about the writing lives of the other members, to hear them read from their work, to practice reading my own work and to obtain feedback.

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I also belong to the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation (WFNB) ( https://wfnb.ca/about-3/ ). WFNB is province-wide with over 260 members. Each year, the WFNB hosts two main workshops: WordSpring and WordsFall. The Annual Writing Competition is a great opportunity for writers in various categories to get recognition for their work. The WFNB also has a writers-in-the-schools program and produces a bimonthly newsletter NBInk, packed full of information on writers, places to publish and contests.

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selling my book (within easy reach, 2016) at WFNB`s WordSpring with fellow author Edith Miller (Crow Impressions, 2016)

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Individual writers are also very supportive of one-another. A few have blogs where they celebrate the writing community. One of these is the South Branch Scribbler http://allanhudson.blogspot.ca/ .  The Scribbler is hosted by Allan Hudson and features interviews and blog posts by and about various authors, many from New Brunswick. Allan is himself a writer, the author of the Drake Alexander novels: Dark Side of a Promise (2014) and Wall of War (coming soon).

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This month I am so happy that Allan has featured my writing in his blog  http://allanhudson.blogspot.ca/2017/03/guest-author-jane-tims-of-new-brunswick.html . Have a look at his other posts including articles and interviews with New Brunswick authors Beth Powning (writer of Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life, 2014, and A Measure of Light, 2015) and Chuck Bowie (writer of the Donovan: Thief for Hire books — Steal It All, 2017; AMACAT, 2014; and Three Wrongs, 2013).

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Thank you to Allan for featuring me on his blog — I took the opportunity to write a bit about managing multiple writing projects!

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a photo of me, taken inside one of New Brunswick`s covered bridges

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

a muse takes over – structuring a project

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When I wrote the first ‘book’ for my sci-fi series about enslaved humans on the planet Meniscus, I really didn’t know where the series was headed. The characters were clear to me and my focus was the building of a relationship between the main two characters, Odymn and the Slain. However, as I neared completion of the first story, I discovered: the first book needs the guidance of the second to set the stage for a book series.

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book-cover

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By the time I completed the draft of my second ‘book’, I knew where the series was headed. This is a story of how a small group of human beings overcome all odds and challenging enemies to rebuild a social structure stolen from them.

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vicki

Vicki, Odymn’s friend in Prell-nan, plays a very minor role in the first two ‘books’ and a major role as the story progresses.

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In the end, the project will be five books, telling the story in sequence. I thought I would begin this series of posts near the middle of the creative process, when I am deciding how to frame and present my five books and the one over-arching story.

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Each book in the series will tell one part of the over-arching story, in the form of a long poem. This will be accessible poetry, written in short lines and stanzas. The less-accessible part of the story will be the vocabulary and strangeness of the planet and the characters.

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Each book will have its own story arc and these stories will build on one another. Each story will feature recurring characters and a few new characters. All of the stories occur in a particular area of the planet Meniscus, known as the Prell-nan South District (Prell-nan is the main urban area in the story). This allows me to expand on the original five books, if the muse continues to inspire me, into the North District!

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a map to go with the story

a map to go with the story

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Presently, the five stories are in different stages of completion. Book 1 (Crossing The Churn) is in final draft and with my editor for comment. Book II (South from Sintha) is in final draft. The story arcs and drafting of Book III (Winter by the Water-climb) are mostly complete. Book Four (The Town at Themble Hill) is experiencing the agony of story arc resolution. Book Five ( ?????) is in early, early draft.

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At this point, I am trying to make sure the five stories are balanced in their presentation. To do this, I keep in mind the length of each story, measured in terms of the number of words,  ‘chapters’, pages and characters.

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To present this in a table:

number in series book title number of words number of pages number of chapters number of main characters
1

 

Crossing The Churn 9,821 147 33  

4

 

2

 

South to Sintha 8,648 104 31 7
3

 

Winter by the Water-climb 12,877 147 53 13
4

 

The Town at Themble Hill 11,389 108 47 16
5

 

???? 761+ 10+ 11 so far ??

 

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As you can see, these will be short ‘books’, probably readable in about 2-3 hours, allowing for the poetry and a bit of challenging alien vocabulary.

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This post’s bit of advice:

if you are writing a series, knowing the content and story arcs of the subsequent book(s) will help inform the story and content of the previous book(s).

This worked well for me in writing the “Saving the Landing Church” series (see https://janetims.com/2015/07/03/writing-a-novel-draft-by-draft/ ).

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

 

a muse takes over – introduction

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I have been missing from regular posting for a while. The reason is — I have been totally overtaken by a project I am working on.

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Something I have wanted to do for a while is independent publication. Although I am dedicated to the publication of my poetry books through traditional publishing, I am interested in alternative means of putting words and stories out to readers. So I have been looking for a project outside the interests of local publishers.

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Originally I intended to self-publish a book of poems about the use of stone in cultural expression – poems about Mayan stelae, Viking runestones and North American petroglyphs.  I may still do this, but as I thought about publishing this book, another muse took up space in my brain. Space, literally. In November I began writing a science-fiction romance and by December I knew I had found my independent publishing project.

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a scan of the painting I will use for my book cover

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I have already said a little about the project on this blog. The story is about a dystopian society on a distant planet. It follows the love story of two strangers who meet and encounter all kinds of adventures. The plot involves the difficult search for freedom and community by a group of people who have been enslaved and denied association with other humans.

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prell-alleyway

My main character, Odymn, has lived in the alleyways of an alien city, using her dedication to the practice of ‘parkour’ as a way of keeping her body and mind fit.

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The story is written as a series of five long-poems. This is partly because, as a poet, I am drawn to the conciseness and brevity of poetry as a means of telling stories. The use of poetry to tell the tale of Odymn and the Slain is also perfect as a way to convey the oddity of life on a planet where the geography is strange, plants and animals are unfamiliar and all the rules have been broken. Even the water doesn’t behave on the planet Meniscus. It tends to flow upward rather than down!

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ascent-of-the-enast-water-climb

My main characters are running from the Gel-heads, a nasty alien species. Part of their journey means ascending the En’ast Water-climb where the water flows up instead of down.

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This post is an introduction to the project. I hope you enjoy the drawings and hints of story they contain.  In subsequent posts I will share the process steps I have used to create plot, characters and story-line. I hope you enjoy these posts and find some ideas for writing your own stories.

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odymn-and-the-slain-together-nings-drawing

My main characters, Odymn and a genetically-modified human known as the Slain, have all sorts of adventures as they get to know and trust one another.

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I also hope you will look forward to the launch of the first book in the series and to finding out what happens when people try to build a community from almost nothing.

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Copyright 2017  Jane Tims

 

in the shelter of the covered bridge – final manuscript

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In the last weeks, I have been working towards completion of the book-length manuscript for ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’. It includes poems and drawings about the plants and animals living in and around some of the covered bridges in New Brunswick.

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Earlier this summer I was lucky enough to win a mentoring package from the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick. I chose a talented, award-winning local poet to work with me on the manuscript and during the early part of the summer, with her expert guidance, I made revisions to the poems. She focused my attention on word choice, clarity and ‘showing not telling’. She also helped me with a handful of poems I thought were not salvageable and now some of these will make it into the manuscript!

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In the last few weeks, I have worked on revisions, ordering of the poems, and, hardest of all, my footnotes. Since the poems are about the remaining covered bridges in the St. John River watershed, I want to include some basic information in the footnotes as well as notes I made during my visits to each bridge. I have also worked on the drawings I will include in the manuscript.

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pickerel weed - Canal Bridge

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The process of preparing a manuscript is long and certainly goes beyond the fist few lines written on the page way back when this manuscript was just an idea. But if the way is about the journey, this has been such a memorable experience.  Best of all, I have been lucky to make the acquaintance of many of New Brunswick’s covered bridges. Last Thursday, as we returned home from a visit, we saw a double rainbow in the sky and I was able to snap a shot as we waited to take our turn crossing the covered bridge across the Rusagonis River (the Patrick Owens Bridge):

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double rainbow over the Rusagonis #2 Covered Bridge in Rusagonis August 19, 2016

double rainbow over the Rusagonis #2 Covered Bridge in Rusagonis, New Brunswick – August 19, 2016

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

August 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

playing alleys

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Kids in the school yard have played marbles since the late 1800s, when glass marbles were first produced for the mass market.

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When my mom talked about marbles, she always referred to them as alleys, no matter what material was used in their construction. According to Wikipedia, alleys were a specific type of marble. Almost every kind of marble has a specific name. When my son played and collected marbles in the 1980s, some of these terms were regularly heard in our home.

aggie – made of agate

alley – a marble made of alabaster

bumblebee – a yellow and black glass marble

cat’s eye – a marble with a eye-like inclusion

crystal – a clear glass marble of various colours

galaxy – opaque marble with coloured dots

oily – an opaque marble with a sheen or oily finish

onionskin – a marble with surface streaks of colour

ox blood – a marble with a streak of dark red

pearl – opaque marble of single colour and a mother of pearl finish

plainsie – a clear glass marble with inclusion of two or more swirled ribbons of colour

swirly – glass marble with a ribbon inclusion of a single colour

tiger – a clear marble with orange and yellow stripes

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There are lots of other marble types and names.

 

June 21 2016 'playing marbles' Jane Tims

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The language of marbles extends to the various moves in the game:

knuckle down – put hand in position to shoot

keepsies – to play for keeps

quitsies – stop playing without consequences

firing – to shoot a marble

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Such interesting possibilities for the language of a poem!

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Writing about a game of marbles will include all the senses (I think my poem will be from the point of view of a boy playing marbles):

sound – clinking of dishes in the sink; grinding of marbles together in the marble bag

taste – grit of sand stirred by wind across the playground; grit of raspberry seeds

feel – the cold smooth feel of a marble; a chunk of icicle from the roof in December

smell – stirred dust; girls watching the games, smelling of Ivory soap and well water

sight – bubble rising through the glass of the marble; bubbles with rainbows sliding; dew drops on Lady’s Mantle in the garden

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I can hardly wait to write a poem about playing marbles in the school yard!

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Copyright  2016  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

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