Tag Archives: Science-fiction

Another finished comic page

Do you remember the comic page rough draft in blue pencil shown this spring? Now here is the same page finished, inked, scanned then digitally toned in shades of gray.

Wind mistress page 11

This is an excerpt from my graphic novel Maîtresse des vents published in the issue no 7 of the magazine science fiction and fantasy Nexuz3 (edited by Gérard Lévèque) that just came out. Nexuz3 is available in various bookstores in Quebec.

There aren’t so many SF&F comic fanzines published in French, so this one should get a fair notice in the field.  All the other participant artists are quite talented : their works are well worth your support!

The page you see needed less working of the grey tones, because I did not daddle too long to ink my blacks and whites.  I took several frames off, making the panels “breathe” easier over the page.  The “degraded” filling tool in my Gimp 2.6 software proved useful to give a sense of depth. The ocean in the first page is another  example.

In the second panel, I decided against putting a grey filling in the kite… the speed lines and shadows were enough. I am beginning to get the hang on manga dynamics, but a long way from a mangaka’s nimble hand…

You would be surprised to learn that I used only one layer through the whole process. Managing the layers in Gimp has proved unduly complicated. I rather use the “darken only” option of the paintbrush to lay my greys without erasing the blacks, and the special selection tools for the degraded colors effects.

The more observing among you will remark that I clipped off some of the rock outcropping in the last panel (with the two characters sitting on it). I also moved the kite a bit along.

Wind Mistress  (a working title, I’m not sure how the English version will be titled. “Kite Mistress” sounds good, too), takes place in my space-faring civilization of super-gardeners, several years before the Quest of Chaaas cycle.  And, yes, I will have it completed and translated before the next TCAF, promise!

With all that work, I have missed the Fan Expo 2011 in Toronto. At least, I carry on other works, like my Otaku Ladies webcomic.

2011 Clarion Write-a-Thon update

The 2011 Clarion UCSD Write-a-Thon is almost over!

The earnest SF writer working on her projects

Since the Clarion overlapped the end of the Whittaker contest, I worked harder and produced more new texts… and some SF poetry! I did modestly on the Whittaker final tally (310 points) but was gratified by the production boost.

Here is my  short fiction writing during the 6-weeks Clarion (counting two weeks of family vacation!) Feel free to visit my Write-a-Thon Writer page here to send a small contribution for the Clarion Foundation.

- The Robe (SF)

- Wrinkles (fantastic)

- A Short Stay at the Caracalla’s Resort (Dark SF)

- The Patroness (fantastic)

And for my current works in progress:

- about 10 000 words on the last novel in the Chaaas series

- near 5000 words on my next SF YA novel (52 000 words) to be published next February

- Writing on two short-fiction pieces in progress.

- Editing on the synopses on two other short novels

- Plus… 6 brand-new pages of a new SF graphic novel! (Extract here) I’m normally faster on the draw, but my free time is limited!

 

 

 

A pencilled comic page to celebrate summer

To celebrate the official arrival of summer, here is another pencilled page, with the blue hues darkened after the scan. Yes, it is the sequel of a  low-tech SF story aimed at young adults.

Adalou Page12 pencils

You may note the little black ink trait on the top panel. This was a little accident happening on the last Free comic Book Day. Fortunately, a little post-treatment with Gimp will make this smear disappear.

I kept the horizon line at the same level in the two first panels, to give a sense of continuity. There is still some detail to clear up  on the interior backgrounds in the two last panels. Interiors are the hardest to draw for me.

Works in progress

A few short notices for April!

Working: on the fifth installment of the Chaaas’ Quest series, in French. I am developing the outline before getting to the actual writing. I am building new and exotic surroundings and exciting plotlines.

Otaku Ladies

The Otaku ladies Webcomic is on hold until after the elections.

Freshly done: 10 pages of Kite  Mistress, a graphic novel set in Chaaas’ Universe.

Translations: The first novel of the Chaaas’ Quest series has been fully translated in English. The second novel, Winds of Tammerlan, has been  translated, and is waiting for its final revision.

My YA novel Les Nuages de Phoenix, (The Clouds of Phoenix) is being toted around in Mexico for a Spanish translation.

Adaptations: The Clouds of Phoenix exists in treatment form for a feature movie adaptation. One movie company refusal, so far. The three first installements of the series Chaaas’ Quest have their synopses and treatments ready, available from the author.

Making plans: The serialized graphic novel adaptation: 12 chapters of Chaaas’ Quest have been prepared and the first chapter have been broken down into pages. I choose a simple manga style as in The General’s Garden.

A finished comic page

A satisfying comic page, appearing soon in the SF&F Nexuz3 Magazine.

Kite Mistress, First Page

Kite Mistress, intro page

On the green Luurdu planet, a young Chh’atyl girl dreams of becoming a kite mistress. Obstacles, both biologic and social, lie in her way…

She is exercising her belly’s deteriorating  muscles: “Once again!” she grunts.

The magazine Nexuz3 is published by Gérard Lévèque, in Montréal. The story is set in the Chaaas universe.

 

 

 

Meet my fans: the success story fan

The successful fan... meets the slightly less successful writer!

Has this situation happened to you?

Fortunately, none of my old college friends are afflicted with such a materialistic mentality.   This meeting did not happen in a book fair, but at a dinner for young professionals at the Ecole Polytechnique. I was so well dressed that newcomers automatically takes me for a successful businesswoman. I had this same air as this comic  character…then, it is when they realize that I am a humble self-employed worker that potential contacts shy away.

For some media, the value of an artist or writer is primarily related to his or her financial success.

I do not scorn entrepreneurship itself, since I lead my own business. In a recent lecture given at a dinner of the AFAF, I mentioned that building a business, any kind of business,  requires a good dose of creativity!

SF and fantasy author Dean Wesley Smith (a prolific author who gives advice to young writers, his site is worth a visit) takes writing as a serious business. According to him, if you do not make a living from your writing, it is because you do not write enough or want it, work hard enough. This appears like a disdainful view of people whose productivity do not match his own. But the reasoning works also to remind us that we often find excuses for… not writing.

Well, there is an area for nuance or discussion, and all our situations and writing goals are not the same.  I like to dig a lot of infos for my SF novels…  besides doing comics as well. DWS believes in writing  a lot, and submitting a lot, and taking care of the business end. With a hundred novels published in twenty years or so,  he is an Olympic writing athlete himself! (A page in 10 or 15 minutes… faster than me, even when I have the story clear in my head).

This year, he gave himself the challenge to write 100 short stories for 2011. Yes, a hundred! There is already eight published, between 2500 and 6000 words each. It is fortunate that he repeats that every writer is different!  Nevertheless, his blog “Killing the sacred cows of publishing” offers great pointers and unorthodox advices.

DWS is very optimistic. In his opinion, publishers are always looking for new voices. And that too much rewriting  “blunts” your creative voice, the personal, original part of the creation.

It happened to me for my first novel Ithuriel (16 agonizing rewrites!), so his message resonates strongly with me. Obviously, DWS revises to correct the “ortograf”, or flagrant errors or blunders. But after that he rewrites only if his editor asks him. And after the contract is signed…

It was a stimulating reading for me. Dean Wesley Smith’s advices have the effect of  empowering a writer, reminding that he or she is not at the mercy of “the market” or agents. And to put the pleasure back in writing. Writers can achieve a good measure of “success” with effort and perseverance, without sacrificing their unique voice.
:^)

Coming out soon, the next Chaaas novel

My next SF novel, La spirale de Lar Jubal, will be out in one month. (It will be printed in January to hit the book shops on February, just before the Outaouais Book Fair ( www.slo.qc.ca ).

Cover illustration of Chaaas 4 by Sybiline

On Lapsilis, a cylindrical habitat orbiting a devastated planet, young and old work hard to build a spiraling grain crop for their future world. If questor Sirius approves of this zeal which reduces the crime to almost nothing, Chaaas notices many people burning themselves out.

Then a strange disease is decimating harvests. Who would benefit from destroying the dream of Lar Jubal, the brilliant visionary lost too soon?
Lar Corom, a charismatic artist, tipped to succeed the debonair Ludrinn as the colony leader? Noalli, the embittered wife of Corom, overlooking the floating garden ? Ruffan, a fierce supporter of a return to the original purity of the Gardener’s  creation ? Or Lar Eimer, a haughty scientific  who doubts the merits of the project?

Chaaas must investigate without being distracted by the amber eyes of Lali kha Nakarli … and his warming friendship towards Corom. With the help of Kiumi, a girl acrobat, Chaaas will discover secrets that endanger more than the dream of Lar Jubal…

The novel is in French, and as it is coming soon.  If you can read a little French, the book will be available from  www.Prologue.ca or www.Amazon.ca websites. If you have read and liked the other novels of the Chaaas series, you may let it know, either by typing a review or rate it on Goodreads.com. If you hated it: do the same thing. There is no bad publicity… :^)

The full coordinates of the novel:

Michèle Laframboise, La spirale de Lar Jubal, Médiaspaul, (coll. Jeunesse-Plus no 16), 208 p.
ISBN 978-89420-852-6.

The cover art is from artist Sybiline.  For once, you get to see the protagonist close, and Chaaas is quite handsome!

 

 

Chasing your wild ideas!

The science fiction author attempting to control the wild ideas for a novel!

There comes a point in writing where we feel that the story, the players and the universe that hold them have gained enough consistency to secure them in a tangible form. The ethereal cloud of infinite possibilities must now be condensed, into a brick (but not a too thick one!) Of course, there will always remain a small cloud of regret…

How to take this step without too much pain?

As I explained in another post, I do not have a rigid plan. I rather draw a grocery list. Here is one of the subplots in a novel work.  (It does not give the big punches, and if you can’t read French, my secret is safe, bwa-haha!)

Liste d'épicerie des intrigues secondaires d'un roman (elle s'allonge pendant la rédaction...)

I draw clouds of relationships between characters, and do the research to comfortably establish my imaginary world.

Nuages de relations pour le deuxième roman de la série Chaaas

An imaginary world well designed, whether in science fiction or in fantasy, do not only allows the author to return to it, but fans can also seize it (it happened with the universe Darkover by Marion Zimmer Bradley).

CAVEAT: Research is good, but … to some extent!

Trop de recherche nuit à la rédaction!

This is me writing a science fiction novel! Alas, too much “let’s google this, check up that” in the middle of writing the first draft of a manuscript will cut your swing, slow or even paralyze you. Oh, I wanted to read this post by Cory Doctorov sooner!

When you’ve worked and thought and lived with our stories behind the head, the characters grow and eventually become almost friends to the writer.

After the throes of planning is a very pleasant step in creating a novel. In my case, I enjoy doing lots of sketches that show a little life characters “outside” the scope of the novels. Here, I sketched a family scene from the world of Chaaas.

Le Bassin - croquis (et non, cette scène n'est pas décrite dans un de mes romans!)

The downside is that it might push the story in all  directions. And as it happens while I am writing, the manuscript gets longer! We must rein in those ideas, and jot down the wildest ones to recycle them for another story!

As the publishers have a specific format in mind for their books, there is usually a limit of pages to follow. We must strive to keep one or two main plot lines and give up many ideas and developments full of promises … with no guarantee that all the children of our imagination will emerge elsewhere!

Trimming down the manuscript can be tearful...

Random pics from the last Spec Fic colloquium

The format of the Toronto Spec Fic colloquium, (one day, one track of presentations, then one evening of readings) was perfect for my busy schedule. The setting was very Gothic, at the Hart House, in the center of Toronto.

Inner Court of the Hart house

There, I finally met Peter Watts. I read his fiction via Nimbus, a story he published in a Solaris (issue 143), then later came in contact with his online fiction, which prompted me to buy the books!

Sunday artist with Peter Watts

The Sunday artist meets Peter Watts.
Nooo, don’t look below!

Props!

I used a prop for the photo, but reaching his level of SF writing will take a lot more time and efforts! Peter Watts is a specialist in marine biology, and is not afraid to consult and do extensive research for his novels. And he is also a proud squid overlord! (The squid term now refer to us SF writers, from a rather disparaging comment made about Science Fiction by Margaret Atwood. And I was in the room in 2003 when she uttered a similar comment!)

Julie Czerneda and Michele

Julie Czerneda, another Science-fiction writer who does not forget the science in Science-fiction. We look so nice from my arm’s length (and it did not need  climbing on a chair) !  I came back from the Spec Fic with her cool Trade Pact Universe trilogy.

Tony Burgess and Brett Savory at the Chizine table

Tony Burgess (He gave an ominous talk about raising young children while writing horrible things. We were treated to his recent horror novel trailer ) and to the right, Brett Savory, at the Chizine table. I also met David Nickle, whose dark fiction I discovered this year.

Karl Schroeder, Brett Savory and friends

Karl Schroeder with Brett Savory and friends.

Claude Lalumière gave a challenging speech, on when too much researching and science conformity can deter the creative sparks. Ahem. I myself tend to sink in the research for my SF novels… so as a budding writer, I was sensible to the arguments. But, as a former mad scientist, I like my science to be as up to date as possible in my novels

I bought his Object of Worship collection, and discovered a new and rich voice in the weird and fantastic. (More on my Goodread thread later!)

*

I took a few hours to walk at the Tightrope books office to assist to a very useful workshop on writing for children (and young adults), given by Marina Cohen. Her last novel, Ghost ride, is on the shortlist for the Red Maple Award given by the Ontario Library Association. She gave us tips on the craft, and also the business aspects of writing for a younger audience.

Tightrope Books office

Then, I walked back to the Hart House, on this fine autumn afternoon.

Election Boards

Or did I mention “on this fine municipal election day”?

Murale

A nice mural on the way.

Weeping willow

A weeping willow…

cats in their vantage  look out

And cute cats in a window, yaay!! Spying on the passer-by…

The nice hostel where I took the dozen or books from the Spec Fic for the night (as the event lasted until around midnight)! I began reading Maelstrom, by Peter Watts, then Object of Worship.

Pembroke Hostel

One hour at the signing table

Here is the photographic adaptation of the comics in the previous post, by an enthusiastic fan.

The one hour signing session at  a literature event

Réalisation by Christ Oliver, with Jean-Louis Trudel, a fellow science fiction author.

Now we are hoping for the movie adaptation.  It would not be a big-budget feature, but it would certainly echo with the many writers almost drowning in a sea of publications traveled by big corporate ships chasing the elusive best-sellers…

A tribute to all of you, artists able to create without the pressure of success!