nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘writing process

five ways to prepare for reading from your work

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I love to read aloud and my work as a writer gives me lots of reading opportunities.

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Reading at Westminster Books, Fredericton

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Readings take lots of preparation:

  1. Practice. Stand, read and time your readings. Keeping to the allotted time respects the audience and keeps the reader calm, particularly near the end of the reading. No last minute timing revisions. No being ‘hooked’ off the stage!
  2. Prepare any remarks not in the reading itself. I usually give a little background to my reading and make a few remarks between poems. These words will be delivered more smoothly if they are composed, written down and practiced.
  3. Include a give-away. I sometimes raffle one of my paintings or another associated item during my book launches and readings. Everyone likes bookmarks. Business cards should always be available.
  4. Use props. Once I gave a talk to a group of high school students about career development. I took an old pair of hiking boots with me to talk about my time in the field. The boots make the presentation funny and gave the audience an image to focus on. I often bring my cardboard stand-up aliens when I read from my Meniscus books.
  5. Involve your audience. Always leave time for questions. Consider adding some interactive components to your reading: ask the audience mid-reading questions, pass a book around, include a quick show of hands.

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my stand-up aliens at a New Maryland market

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I have two readings and a book fair in the next weeks:

WordsSpring, WFNB

7 PM, May 11, 2018 (Friday) at Quality Inn & Suites Amsterdam, Quispamsis for WordSpring (Writers Federation of New Brunswick) – I will be reading from my two newest books: Meniscus: One Point Five – Forty Missing Days, and Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill. Copies of all my books, including ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ will be for sale.

Book Launch, Westminster Books

7 PM, May 25, 2018 (Friday) at Westminster Books in Fredericton. I will be launching my book Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill. Cary Caffrey (a.k.a. Terry Armstrong) will also be reading from his Girls from Alcyone Science Fiction Series. Everyone is welcome!

2018 Metro Moncton Book Festival

I will be selling my books at the 2018 Metro Moncton Book Festival, June 9, 2018 (Saturday), 10 AM to 3 PM at the Moncton Lions Community Centre (473 St. George Street
Moncton, NB).

 

Reading at The Attic Owl, Moncton

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Plan your readings and your audience will appreciate the time you have taken.

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If you are in the area, please come to one of my readings. I would love to see you there!

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all my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 9, 2018 at 7:00 am

Celebrating bookstores and reading – Canadian Independent Bookstore Day

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On Saturday, April 28, 2018, I will be participating in Canadian Independent Bookstore Day at Westminster Books in Fredericton. I will be there to talk with you about my books in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series and sign copies.  I will be at the bookstore from 11:00 AM to noon. Hope to see you there!!!

Canadian Independent Bookstore Day is a day to celebrate the amazing independent bookstores in communities across Canada that develop and maintain a thriving book industry across the country. It is a day to go out into your community and enjoy the unique intersection of art, culture, business and opportunity that bookstores provide. Thanks to your participation, this event can continue to grow and thrive in the years to come. The purpose of Canadian Independent Bookstore Day is to show off the unique community spaces that bookstores create and was born from Authors For Indies.

Authors for Indies was a national grassroots movement in support of independent bookstores. It’s a day when authors take time to give back to the bookstores who support authors every day of the year by volunteering as guest booksellers. We meet and greet customers, recommend books, tell our friends and relatives to come to the store where we are working. Hundreds of authors across Canada have done this for the past three years. It’s been a national phenomenon. 

Jane

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

New Maryland Fall Show – Jane’s books and paintings for sale!!!

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Last year I tried selling my books and paintings at a local craft fair. I had so many ‘fears’. I wondered if I would sell anything. I wondered how it would feel, sitting there waiting for someone to be interested in my wares. I wondered if I would have any money when I went home (I saw so many things at the fair I wanted to buy)!

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I was pleasantly surprised. I sold both books and paintings. Sitting, watching the vendors and browsers, was very relaxing. And I loved meeting the other vendors and bought some items I still love!

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This Saturday November 4, 9AM – 2PM, I will be at the New Maryland Fall Show (held at the Faith Baptist Church, 525 New Maryland Highway, New Maryland, New Brunswick). I will be selling copies of my books and some of my paintings.

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my books:

‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ (Chapel Street Editions, 2017) – my new book of poems about plants and animals living in and around some of the covered bridges in New Brunswick (if the book doesn’t arrive from the printers in time, I will be taking pre-orders)

‘within easy reach’ (Chapel Street Editions, 2016) – poems about wild edibles and other local foods

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three books in my science-fiction series (CreateSpace, 2017):

Meniscus: Crossing The Churn

Meniscus: South from Sintha

Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

some of my paintings:

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I am getting close to my 500th follower! If you leave a comment on this post (WordPress or Facebook), you will be entered into a draw for a free, postage-paid paperback copy of my new book ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’! One entry per commenter per post.

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If you live in the New Maryland area of New Brunswick, I hope I will see you on Saturday November 3, 2017 at the New Maryland Fall Show!

at the Faith Baptist Church on the new Maryland Highway, 9 AM to 2 PM.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

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 

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