nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘writing a novel

segue

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segue

(verb) move without interruption from one song, melody or scene to another.

(noun) an uninterrupted transition from one piece of music or film scene to another.

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I am so happy today to be doing some creative work. For months I have been focused on edits and other work associated with my book releases. But today, I clicked on the draft of the fifth book in my Meniscus Series. And there are blanks in the writing! Places to add new ideas. A chance to create!
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Immediately, on a re-read, I identified a problem. Meniscus: Karst Topography follows two diverging (and then converging) story lines. From chapter to chapter, I switch from story line to story line, back and forth as many books do. However, in the draft, the transitions are sometimes quite abrupt. Instead, I want to help my reader by creating smooth changes from one story line to the next. I want to segue from one set of actions to another.
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Ways of creating smooth transitions, from chapter to chapter, action to action, or scene to scene:

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  • make sure the tone and rhythm of the writing are similar or appropriate in the transition. This may be particularly important since I am writing poetry. Sometimes, a smooth transition will occur because lines are of a similar length or number of beats, or because the tonal qualities of the poetry are similar. On the other hand, there may be places where an abrupt change is necessary to introduce an element of anxiety or surprize. I compare this to the background music in a movie, carrying the watcher from scene to scene, or changing abruptly to signal a crisis. In the following passage, the terse, rather short lines of Chapter 13 are focused on action verbs and are picked up by terse statements in Chapter 14:

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Madoline locks the door as she leaves.

Ignores the way to her cell

in the honeycomb.

Turns

towards the centre

of the city.

 

14.

Belnar throws down his pack.

“Not there,” he says.

“Big scandal afoot.

The cook gone.

Eighteen

unconscious

Gel-heads.

Nine dead

Dock-winders.”

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  • use a repeated idea or word to help transition the reader. An example might be the use of colour. Sometimes in movies characters are shown walking down a hallway, for example, and characters in the next scene are also walking down a hallway. In the following passage, the idea of swirling at the end of Chapter 1 is picked up by the word ‘confusion’ at the beginning of Chapter 2:

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Chill wind kisses cold rock.

Sweeps out, across the Darn’el.

Stirs desert and dust.

 

2.

Confusion in the village.

The women gone.

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  • have a character in the first scene think about a character in the second. In Chapter 9, the Dock-winder child Don’est remembers Kathryn and Chapter 10 takes us immediately to Kathryn in the Gel-head’s clutches:

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“And Kathryn

was a bedwarmer,”

says the Dock-winder child,

nodding, the wisp of a smile

on her thin lips.

Her knowledge

not appropriate

for her years.

 

12.

Kathryn waits in the cell

of the honeycomb.

Fiddles with a ring above her eye.

Tries to ignore confining walls,

paltry inflow of air.

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  • signal to the reader that something new is coming. If the location changes, name the new location to make sure the reader knows where the action is situated. In Chapter 7, Don’est, the Dock-winder child, reminds the others that she and the wolf-like Kotildi are also part of the community of Themble Hill. In Chapter 8, the action is taken far from the Themble Wood, in the city of Prell:

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Len, len.

And me,”

says Don’est.

“And tame Kotildi.

 

“Elan’drath

in the Themble Wood.

 

8.

Tal and Daniel in a room

as unlike the Themble Wood

as it is possible to be.

Del-sang ma’hath,

Acquisitions Tracking,

Prell.

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  • report on an event happening in the previous chapter. In the following passage, Odymn rocks the new baby in Chapter 22 and Vicki refers to the birth of the baby in Chapter 23:

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Odymn weeps when she sits with Malele

and rocks the tiny baby.

 

23.

“Fourteen days,”

says Vicki.

“Fourteen days

and we’ve made

no progress at all.

 

“Back in the Themble

Malele’s baby will have been born.

They will be wondering

if we will ever return.”

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So my first task in creativity is to look at each shift from one chapter to another and write in some segues. Sounds a little like editing to me!

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What do you think of the transitions I have written above? What devices do you use to make certain there is a smooth transition from one chapter to the next?

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Copyright 2018 Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

February 7, 2018 at 10:26 am

Out Soon – the next book in the Meniscus Series!

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Within the next couple of days, my new book in the sci-fi series Meniscus will be out on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle versions.

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This book, Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb, continues the love story of Odymn and the silent Slain, and follows a ragtag group of humans as they try to survive winter on the planet of Meniscus. New characters are introduced to the story and Odymn discovers a secret way to the Themble Wood.

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The book includes 21 of my drawings, an updated Map, a Glossary, a Gel-speak Dictionary and (New!) a guide to the Characters (as suggested by one of my beta-readers)!

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To buy the first two books in the Series, click here for Meniscus: Crossing The Churn and here for Meniscus: South from Sintha.  They are also available from Westminster Books, Fredericton.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

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

Meniscus: Crossing The Churn …. published!

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I am so proud to announce that my new science-fiction book Meniscus: Crossing The Churn is now available in paperback through Amazon.  The book is written in the form of a long poem and includes my pencil drawings.

 

 

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To quote the book cover:

On the alien planet Meniscus, Humans are slaves. Every twilight, Odymn runs through the forests of Meniscus, practicing the art of parkour. Her runs give her strength, flexibility and endurance, and a way to survive a life of servitude under the oppressive Dock-winders. When the silent Slain rescues her from a brutal encounter with a gang of Gel-heads, Odymn believes she has reached the end of her search for freedom. In their travels through the Prell’nan District of Meniscus, she and the Slain encounter dangerous woodlands, dramatic water-climbs and an impassable water churn. Odymn and the Slain work together to evade the Gel-heads and overcome the dangers of the landscape. But is Odymn really free or is she caught in a cycle of trying to escape the inevitable?

In the first of the Meniscus series, Crossing the Churn tells the story of the meeting of a young woman and a genetically-engineered Slain whose kindness may not be consistent with his purpose.

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This is the first book in a series of five, all in various stages of completion. I aim to publish a new book in the series every couple of months during 2017.

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I have published this book under my first name Alexandra so be sure to look for it under Alexandra Tims. Hope you will come with me for a run through the landscapes of the planet Meniscus.

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https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=meniscus%3A+Crossing+the+Churn

or for Canadian customers:

https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Meniscus%3A+Crossing+The+Churn

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If you buy my book, please leave a short review on Amazon!!!

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True to my botany training, part of the story reveals how to stay fed on an alien planet with no grocery store nearby! If you want to stay fed on this planet, have a look at the poems in my other book within easy reach (Chapel Street Editions, 2016), also available on Amazon.

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odymn-and-the-slain-together-nings-drawing-2017_01_01-20_03_57-utc

Odymn and the Slain

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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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carton
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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

a muse takes over – character arcs

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Every character in a novel needs a background and a story arc of their own, in order to make them interesting and realistic. This creates challenges as I proceed through the drafts of the five books of my sci-fi series ‘Meniscus’.

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In Book One (Crossing the Churn), I have only two main characters, Odymn and the Slain.

In Book Two (South from Sintha), they rescue three new characters from servitude under the Dock-winder aliens and a simple community begins to take shape.

In Book Three (Winter by the Water-climb), a transport crash brings six more humans to the settlement.

By Book Four (The Town at Themble Hill), the settlers  are actively seeking new recruits to the community and there are sixteen characters for the writer (me) to manage.

At the end of Book Five, even I don’t know how many characters will survive/be added!

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Character arcs assist with the forward motion of the entire story. Each character’s story arc contributes to the whole and is usually connected in some way to the main story arc.

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I express my character story arcs in a three-part sentence — what the character wants, the obstacles he or she encounters, and the resolution.

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For example, one of the new recruits in Book Four (The Town at Themble Hill) is Edward, a medical doctor. Although the settlers can get the help of an alien elder, a doctor who has actually treated human illness will be a great asset to the community. When he enters the story, he has been a Dock-winder slave, used to treat the ailments of other human slaves.

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In the Dock-winder city of Prell, Edward has been able to work with complex technologies. But in the new human settlement, deep in the Themble Woods, even simple tools like stethoscopes or standard pharmaceuticals don’t exist. Edward has to reinvent his approach to medicine, developing his own methods with available tools and embracing alien natural medicines and techniques he previously belittled.

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So, Edward’s story arc is expressed as follows:

Edward wants to help his patients but when technology is no longer available, he has to learn to embrace alien methods and natural herbal medicines.

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This sentence, once written, can help determine the mood of the character, his attitude towards other characters, his response in various situations and the risks he is willing to take.  Now I can revise my draft to make it consistent with Edward’s story arc.

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There are often three ‘bumps’ to move the character’s story arc along. Edward’s three ‘bumps’ are consistent with his story arc:

  • Edward is skeptical of the Argenop methods (the Argenops are primitive aliens, cute and furry)
  • He encounters a medical challenge that, with technology, could be easily resolved
  • He tries an alien, herbal treatment and learns to trust new methods

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Back to work!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 9, 2017 at 8:32 pm

a muse takes over – telling a story through the seasons

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In New Brunswick, the passage of time is measured in part by the seasons. Right now we are in winter, in the midst of another snow storm and taking a lot of care when walking on all the ice. Soon it will be spring with crocuses blooming on the lawn and water in every hollow. Then summer, days on the deck and keeping cool. Finally, my favourite season, autumn, colourful leaves and starry nights.

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Since I am a writer embedded in the winter-spring-summer-fall cycle, it’s natural that changing seasons are an important part of my sci-fi novel. Although weather is often a factor in story telling, I find many books ignore the changing of the seasons.

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Seasons on planet Meniscus occur in a cycle of four, as in the northern and southern latitudes of Earth. On Meniscus the seasons are the result of a changing heat regime as once per ‘year’ one of the twinned suns slips behind the other. Whether the physics of this makes much sense, I can’t say. “I’m a biologist, Jim, not a physicist!”

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Book One, Crossing the Churn, begins in summer. Foraging for food is easy. As the days pass, leaves begin to fall and soon the characters wade rather than walk through the forest.

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Book Two, South from Sintha, finishes in autumn, as the days grow colder.  New characters in Book Two are looking for a home before winter sets in.
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Book Three, Winter at the Water-climb, takes place in a world of ice. The plot focuses on the coming of cold weather and shorter days. Foraging for food is difficult since everything is hidden under snow drifts.  Survival depends on what has been put into storage.

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Book Four, The Town in the Themble Wood, celebrates the coming of spring and the vibrancy of summer. The Slain and Odymn scout the Themble Wood for a town-site and help the other Humans establish a new community.

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Book Five, so new it has no name, will take the characters back into autumn. In many ways this book will be a race against time as winter approaches and the Slain must find Odymn and other characters who have been lost after a crisis.

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Including seasons in my story adds to the possibilities for describing setting. The cinnamon scent of trees in the autumn Themble Wood, tracks in the snow of the new town, and melting water-springs add to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes my writing can explore.

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The progress of getting my first book into CreateSpace has been hampered this week by the appearance of ‘The Blue Screen of Death’ on my computer. It is fixed now, but I am sure the folks on Meniscus have never faced such a challenge!!!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 8, 2017 at 7:04 am

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