nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘writing process

from a first drawing to a final cover

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This month I completed publication of the third book in my science fiction series. I published my books with CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform and have loved the outcome. I also chose to use one of the CreateSpace templates for my covers, an efficient choice but one that let me easily download my own painting image for each cover.

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As a sort of retrospective, I think it is interesting to see the progression of the three covers, from drawing to painting to cover (all paintings are photography of J.D.R. Beaudoin):

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The next book in the series, Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill, will come out in January 2018. Seems a ways away, but time to start working on the cover. This cover may change in overall design but will feature the moons in the background with poor Odymn tumbling through the trees. This is the black and white drawing I will work from.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

a map to go with a story

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Since I began to read, I have loved to have a map included in the book – the more detailed the better!

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The maps that come to mind include the five maps of Middle Earth and the detailed map of the Shire in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings (Methuen Publications), the maps of Great Britain and Wales inside the front cover of Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave (William Morrow and Company, Inc.), and the map of Martha’s Vineyard accompanying all of the books in Philip R. Craig’s Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries (Scribner). Although books in the mystery and fantasy genres often have maps, almost any book can include a guide to the geography of the book.

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the completed GIMP map for Meniscus: South from Sintha … every feature has its own layer so I can add a tree, delete a path, or add a house to a village!

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When I began my Meniscus series, I knew a map was needed. I needed it, to help me plot the story and action!

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At first I thought I would do a hand-drawn map and make changes as needed. Foolish girl! I would have been drawing maps forever. I have included a new map with each book, showing the path taken by the characters and any new features they find in the landscape. Fortunately I chose GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), a free on-line app similar to Photoshop Pro. I had never worked with GIMP before, so I took the time to learn the system and I still have trouble with those ‘paths’. The system produces maps in layers. I can have a map for each kind of tree in the forest, a map for the grasslands, one for the villages and cities and so on.

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This week I started plotting for the seventh book in the series (two are now published and the third is expected out next week). I have told all the stories I care to (for now) for the first map (Map of Prell-nan South District, Meniscus), so I have been working on the landscape of Prell-nan North District.

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I first designed this map at the laundromat. Laundromats are the best place to read and write and think. No one bothers you and there is a set time to work. Many of the details of the map will change but it shows the basics of the portion of planet Meniscus I am building.

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a very draft map of Prell-nan North District, Meniscus … the features on this map will be continuous with the map of the South District … the original map is 4″ by 3″  … I drew on what I could find!

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I have now finished most of the layers on GIMP. I still need to label the various features and tidy up some of the layers. Now I can use the map to help me plot the journey of my characters and their actions!

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the first draft of the map on GIMP … I love creating all those little trees!

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Be watching for the next book in the Meniscus series! Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb tells the continuing story of Odymn and the Slain, and gets them through a brutal winter on planet Meniscus! Their love story and adventures continue with some new characters.

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

 

making stand-ups for my book launch

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On Thursday evening at 7PM, I will be reading at Westminster Books in Fredericton, with Zach Hapeman, poet-for-the-young-at-heart and author of ‘A Crack in the Door’ (Amazon books).

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I’ll read from my new book ‘Meniscus: Crossing The Churn’. I have a few surprises for my audience, including life-sized stand-up cardboard aliens.  I also did a set of smaller aliens to include in the Westminster Books display window.

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First step: Obtain the cardboard. My very helpful husband brought home two big cardboard boxes from Leons Furniture in Fredericton. A big thank you to Leons! The boxes, originally used to protect table tops were the perfect size (6′ by 4′)!

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Second step: Select a couple of drawings of the Gel-head and Dock-winder aliens from my book. Gel-heads are named since their skin is a transparent green gel – muscles, skeleton bits and even some organs can be seen through their skin! The Dock-winders have very long necks, tattooed to keep track of their exploits. They are called Dock-winders because when they invaded earth, they attacked from the sea and their necks resembled the dock piers sailors use to tie up their boats!

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Third step: Transfer the drawing outlines to the cardboard. To do this I created a grid on the drawing and a scaled grid on the cardboard. Then I just drew a scaled outline using the grid-lines.

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Fourth step: Paint the cardboard figures. Manipulating the cardboard during painting was the hard part. I just used my exercise ball to elevate and steady the figure. I was afraid the cardboard would bend, but no mishaps occurred!

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had to add pants to my Gel-head alien … even on planet Meniscus, you need clothing!

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Fifth step: Cut out the figure. I used a skill knife and carved away small segments at a time. Then I touched up the edges with black paint.

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Sixth step: Reinforce the back of the figure, especially bendy parts like arms legs and necks, with wooden skewers and glue.

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The Results: Here is a photo of the smaller stand-ups in the window of our local bookstore Westminster Books, Fredericton. Janet North (owner) and staff have been so good to me. The store is hosting the launch of my book on Thursday May 18, 2017 at 7 PM. If you live in the Fredericton area, Zach Hapeman and I would love to see you there!!!! My aliens would love to see you too!!!!

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Copyright Jane Tims (a.k.a. Alexandra 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

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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 – final edits

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This week I am working towards final publication of my first sci-fi novel on CreateSpace – Meniscus: Crossing The Churn.

I have incorporated the comments of my editor ( Lee Thompson Editing + https://leethompsonediting.com/ ) into my final draft.

I have sent my beta-version to my six beta-readers and will make a few edits based on their comments.

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A glimpse of the book in final editing. The blue paper was a gift from my husband who thought he was buying white paper! The yellow tabs are just a few last minute changes. The white frame is my way of seeing how the book will look on the final page size!

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At the last minute I decided my font was too small and switched from Garamond 12 to Garamond 14. It took a while to get all those drawings back to the left hand page!

Now, I have printed out a final version to have one last view before I load the cover, text and other information into CreateSpace.

A comment about independent versus traditional publishing:

I realize how patient the publisher was with all the edits for my poetry book within easy reach (Chapel Street Editions, 2017).

I also realize that my publisher made the final call and ‘pushed the button ‘ regarding the final, final, final draft. Left to my own, I realize I am a bit nervous about this last step and find myself procrastinating, just a little.

To that end, I spent all morning, not working on Meniscus:Crossing The Churn, but on the early draft of the fifth book in the series!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

 



Written by jane tims

February 20, 2017 at 1:27 pm

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