nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘pencil drawing

next book in the Meniscus Series: the illustrations

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For the last two days, I have been in a drawing mood. Not many authors illustrate their books (not including those who work on graphic novels), but I love this part of the process.

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I have had lots of discussions with readers about the right and wrong of illustrating. Some think it takes away from the reader’s wonderful ability to imagine characters and scenes. Others think the illustrations take a reader deeper into the author’s intentions. As an author, I think drawings help get my ideas across. Since my books are told as narrative poetry, my words tend to be vary spare and I think of the drawings as extensions of the narrative.

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I include two types of drawings in my books: portraits of the characters and sketches of the action.

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The portraits are useful to me as a writer. They help fix the character’s face so the image does not migrate from book to book. I am really proud of the portraits and looking at them inspires my writing.

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I am also proud of some of my drawings of scenes from my books. When the drawing is close to the idea I want to portray, sometimes it suggests new details in the text. Some drawings are not so good but I rarely re-draw. Instead, I think of these as representative of the weirdness of planet Meniscus. It reminds me of a line from my favorite TV show Lost. Daniel Faraday, on his first visit to the island says,

The light… it’s strange out here, isn’t it? It’s kind of like, it doesn’t, it doesn’t scatter quite right.”

On Meniscus, the pencil doesn’t behave quite right.

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In every book, there are 23 +/- 4 drawings. Some are portraits or repeats of earlier scenes. Today, I did two drawings, both unique to Meniscus: The Knife.

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All my best,

staying home

and staying in my two-family bubble,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 11, 2020 at 7:00 am

next book in the Meniscus Series: the Cast of Characters

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Other writers often ask me about the use of a beta reader. Of course, I value their input and listen carefully to any suggestions about the book they have just read for me. In a series like Meniscus, the suggestions of the beta reader often help me more with the next book. Sometimes the suggestion has to do with the storyline or a particular character. Sometimes it is a suggestion that becomes integral to the whole series.

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When she read Book Two of the Series, Meniscus: South from Sintha, my beta reader Carol suggested adding a short description of each character in a compendium at the end of each book. I began to do this for the next book and now every book has a Cast of Characters.

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Since some of my characters are aliens, I group the characters as Humans, Argenops (benevolent furry creatures), Dock-winders (self-serving overlords), Gel-heads (unlikeable minions), and Others (animal companions and other sentient aliens).

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In the Cast of Characters I include information on the character’s role in the story, the character’s age, where the character lived on Earth, what they were doing when the Dock-winders harvested them, what Earth year they were taken, their occupation on Earth, their occupation on Meniscus and sometimes their motivation, faults or wants.

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Here is an example, a character description of Zachary, a carpenter and an important citizen of Themble Hill:

Zachary – survivor of the transport crash; 46 one-suns old; harvested by the Dock-winders in 2008 when he worked as a carpenter with his father’s company in Fargo, North Dakota; educated as an engineer; harvested as he made repairs to a roof during a wind storm; used by the Dock-winders as the laser-sawyer in a grammid mill; spent most of grad school playing Sonic the Hedgehog ™ and eating pickled eggs in the campus grad house.

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Sometimes I wish I could change the character description a bit to suit the story, but I try not to do that. I also include all of the characters mentioned in all of the books to date although they may not appear in the current book. So far, I have 41 characters, major and minor, who have appeared in the various books.

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All my best,

staying home and keeping in my two-family bubble,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 8, 2020 at 7:00 am

next book in the Meniscus Series

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May 1 has arrived. With my new poetry books at the ‘proof’ stage, I have shifted gears to work on revisions of the next book in my science fiction series.

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Meniscus: The Knife is the eighth book in the Meniscus Series and continues with the love story of Tagret and Rist. I haven’t looked at the manuscript for two months, so I hope to see it with a new eye.

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When we left them in the last book, Meniscus: Encounter with the Emenpod, Tagret and Rist are parting company for a while. Rist, after the manner of all Slain, is going to his home to hibernate for the winter. Tagret will pass the winter months in the community of Themble Hill where she will have company and things to do.

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In Meniscus: The Knife, Tagret will go on a quest to save Rist from the dangerous Brotherhood.

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I think ‘The Knife’ is a great title for the book.

First, The Knife is the name of Rist’s home, the first step in Tagret’s quest.

Second, a knife is a metaphor for anything cut in two, a broken vow, a broken trust, a severed relationship.

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knife romance split

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Third, there are no knives on the planet Meniscus. The reason for this is the mythological interpretation of the geological fault that physically separated the gentle Argenops from the oppressive Dock-winders and their Gel-head minions. Long ago, says the mythology, the Themble area was cut from the En’ast area by a magical knife and since then, no knives have been allowed on the planet Meniscus.

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knife culture split

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I have a few steps to do before the book is done:

  • Read the manuscript and make adjustments to storylines;
  • Do line by line revisions (word choice and poetic structure);
  • Add front matter, character descriptions, glossary and gel-speak dictionary;
  • Submit the manuscript to my editor;
  • Incorporate editorial suggestions;
  • Format text;
  • Finish drawings and maps, scan, scale and insert into text.
  • Create cover painting and photograph;
  • Scale photo and create cover;
  • Submit to Kindle Direct Publishing and request Proof;
  • Review and revise Proof;
  • Resubmit and finalize;
  • Push publish!

Then I begin the formatting process for the second time, to create an e-book.

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Sounds daunting but I have done this so often, I have worked out all (well, most) of the bugs. I am helped in this by my ‘little black books’ where I write out the revision and formatting steps, font sizes, image dimensions, Word settings and KDP requirements.

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I’ll keep you up to date on my progress.

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All my best,

staying safe and in my two-household bubble,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 4, 2020 at 7:00 am

a glimpse of sickle moon

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I am so happy to announce my poetry manuscript, ‘a glimpse of sickle moon,’ has won Third Place in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick (WFNB) Competition for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize for a poetry manuscript.

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I’d like to extend huge congratulations to First Place winner of the Bailey Prize, Kathy Mac, and Second Place winner, Roger Moore. I cannot be jealous of these winners because they are, respectively, members of my two writing groups: Wolf Tree Writers and Fictional Friends.

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Roger Moore has also won Third Place in the WFNB Narrative Non-fiction Prize and First Place in the WFNB Competition for the David Adams Richards Prize for a fiction manuscript. I am also proud of another of my Fictional Friends, Neil Sampson, who won Third Place in the David Adams Richards Prize for a fiction manuscript.

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And to all the other winners, some of whom are good friends, congratulations!

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My manuscript, ‘a glimpse of sickle moon,’ includes 56 poems about nature, arranged according to the seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall. For every four poems, a year rolls by, so the manuscript covers 14 years of seasons!

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Here is the title poem, about the andirons in front of our fireplace.

andiron cropped

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andiron

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wrought owl with amber eyes

perches on the hearth

hears a call in the forest

three hoots and silence

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great-horned owl, light gathered

at the back of its eyes

the oscillating branch

after wings expand and beat

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iron owl longs for a glimpse

of sickle moon

shadow of a mouse

sorting through dry leaves

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in this cramped space

night woods decanted

fibre and bark, fire and sparks

luminous eyes

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The next step will be to complete some drawings for the poems and add the manuscript  to the poetry manuscripts I intend to publish.

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All my best, especially to the winners of the WFNB Competition.

I am staying at home,

and in my two family bubble.

Jane

 

 

Written by jane tims

May 1, 2020 at 7:00 am

illustrating poetry

with 4 comments

I am in the process of creating several books of poetry from the many poems I have written over the years. I am now working on the third book, poems about life on my grandfather’s farm. The title will be ‘blueberries and mink’ since these were the main products of the farm.

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There are about forty poems in this collection. I have decided how I will order the poems and done much of the formatting. Since I illustrate the books I write, the next task is to pair the poems with drawings I have done.

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For some poems, as I wrote, I had an image in my head that my hands could draw. A good example is the poem ‘patience.’ One of the lines describes ‘staring down a cow.’ The drawing was fun to do.

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outstaring a cow paperback

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In some cases, a drawing I did for another purpose will find a home in my ‘blueberries and mink’ manuscript. An example is the drawing of old pop bottles I did for a blog post a few years ago. These bottles look much like the ones that used to sit on a window ledge in a shed at my grandfather’s farm.

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old pop bottles cropped

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Once I have inserted the formatted drawings into the book, I have to make sure they are distributed evenly through the book. Sometimes a poem and its drawing can be relocated. Sometimes I have to do another drawing to fill a gap.

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Next, from the drawings, I have to pick one for the cover of the book. I want the covers for these books to be similar in style with the book title and author name superimposed.

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A couple of the possible covers I am working on are shown below.

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poetry books

alt cover

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all my best,

staying home,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 24, 2020 at 7:00 am

Stay Home

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Don’t know how many times

I can say it.

Stay home!”

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“Stay home?

What are you talking about?

I am rooted to the ground.

All I can do is

Stay Home.”

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“You can’t fool me.

I know you’ve been sneaking around.

Letting your roots grow

into all kinds of places.

Communicating with other trees.”

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“What are you talking about?

My tap root grows deep.

All I can do is

Stay Home.”

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“You can’t fool me.

I know you’ve been sneaking around.

Letting your leaves drop,

blow all over the woods.

Mixing with those of other trees.”

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“What are you talking about?

Can’t help it if my leaves are dry.

All I can do is

Stay Home.”

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“You can’t fool me.

I know you’ve been

conspiring with squirrels.

Spreading your acorns

all over the woods.

Mingling with other trees.”

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“What are you talking about?

I can’t be responsible

for what my children do.

All I can do is

Stay Home.”

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“All I can do

is repeat myself.

Stay Home.”

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All my best,

Jane

Staying Home!

Written by jane tims

April 13, 2020 at 7:00 am

spider web

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My writing group has been sharing writing prompts in this time of isolation.

The most recent prompt was ‘spider web.’

Took me an hour to find a spider photo since I am spider-averse.

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spider web

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web enlarges spider

her domain, her coefficient of creep

extends her occupation of space

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trap for unwary

blue-bottle flies

beetles on the wing

and gnats, nattering

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all of the cobwebs

I have brushed from my face

would not weigh a gram

but they take up

a fair chunk

of brainscape

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just as the spider

is sensitive to vibration

my skin notices

the sub-threshold of touch

the tiniest occupant

of my domain

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

March 23, 2020 at 5:39 pm

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