Tag Archives: Science-fiction

Splendors and miseries of the signing table

Another bookfair is coming at Montreal! And, if you are a lesser-known author, you might experiment this:

One hour at the signing table.

One hour at the round signing table

I drew this page after some signing sessions for my novel Piège pour le Jules-Verne, my table close to the Harry Potter stand.

Jean-Louis Trudel, my fellow SF writer, had accepted to figure in the comic, and even contributed to the scenario.

This page was originally published in a fanzine, (MensuHell) and found an echo with many friends and comic creators, among them, Christ Oliver , who did a piece on it (coming on my next post).

My profound sympathies to the all writers who will experiment that desertic bookfair at the Salon du livre de Montréal , very well frequented. When there are more than 800 writers vying for the public’s attention, it is bound to happen…

Meet my fans: the paranoid fan!

Another close encounter at a bookfair…

The pananoidal fan

It really happened to another science fiction writer. I took some liberties towards the obvious flying saucer conspiracy theory…

It is more difficult to manage than the Zombie fan, or the angry fan (to come) because you want to stay polite, but the obvious awkwardness of the paranoid fan pushes other visitors away from your signing table!

And yes, there is a direct X-Files influence on that one! I loved the series despite the dark angle, for reasons too numerous to cite here. The humor, among them.

24-24 in Streetsville

Here are some pics of this global event, 24 hours of continuous creation at the Image Collection Comic Shop in Streetsville, October 2-3 . We started at noon this year. It took us an hour to decide what to draw, so it was around 1:30 that we got started!


An idea of the atmosphere at 9:30 PM.

Left, Daniel Oshino, our hero of last year, made a visit with her small daughter, hopefully as talented as him! Behind at the right, our fourth member and the only guy of 24-24 this year, Mike, 14.

The themes this year, (at least one):

- Conflict, internal or external

- Growth of an idea

- I do not remember the other themes!

I took the characters who were in the Japanese Brush, and developed a science fiction adventure. I planned eight pages before plunging into the production.

Also, we had friends visiting, to chat and draw!

at 9h30 PM

We tease, at 9h30. The two guys are visiting; the left one guy has passed the first 24-24 complete (he inked his 24 pages) three years ago. We see Todd, the manager of the shop, back with long hair, he has grown a beard since last year.

Kim started strong, deciding that she would produce more written pages, a bold approach. She left around 11 am. Mike and Tiff, being minors, are returning home to sleep around 11:30, planning to return in the morning. This means that I had sometime alone in the night with my drawings. It helped me because the drawing is not fast when we gossip!

This time we worked on a smaller paper format, like manga, so this helped!

TiffPage

A page very red by Tiffany

Tiff’s work: here is an artist to watch for! She was just 15 years, and she looks inspired by Tim Burton in its atmosphere. Her full story covers eight to ten pages. Mike produced a funny story of zombies, with 4 small panels per page, which allowed him to complete his 24 pages and even put some red on it.

Me, I let go of the color, those who know me know why! I was a little stressed around 4:00 AM because I  suddenly realized I had a chance to finish my ink, but only if I worked non stop!

Last Minute ditch

Page Last MinuteAt 11:40 AM, I finished my blanket, when, at 15 minutes remaining, Daniel, who came back to haunt us, told me about an unfinished page!

Needless to say I worked harder to finish on time!

3 Authors with their Comics

The three authors (Kim is not back yet) pose with their pages! Besides me, Mike and Tiff  rose to the challenge!

My 24h comic book!

My 24-page new comic, inked!

My inking is not perfect, but it surpasses what I did last year. A new adventure of the Otaku Ladies!

The secret well of ideas

The secret well of ideas !If there is one question that every published author hears at other events, it is this one : But where do you get all those ideas ?

Secret well of ideasMany people who dream of becoming a (famous) writer are scratching their head to find this mysterious well of ideas. Most are under the impression that writers form a tight circle around a secret lair of the golden-egg-laying hen. The secret well of inspiration, teeming with ideas!

This belief joins another one : all writers signing at the events are filthy rich!  Or if they are not, it must be because they don’t have access to a good well.

This in nonsense, as chance and fashion are the capricious ingredients that make or unmake successes. Also, many are convinced that once this idea has been fished out of the well, the main work is done, the book will write itself! Hence this ubiquitous anguished question : will someone steal my idea?

Relax, it is rather the opposite. Ideas are like dandelion seeds, easy to blow : pfffffuit!

Chaaas blowing dandelion seeds

They are blown in the sky half-formed, and many budding writers try to capture them with  clumsy fingers ! When they manage to catch one, they notice that there is still a long way  between the seed and the grown tree, between the idea and the completed book!

About ideas, the following scene happens often at a signing table (preferably when the writer is alone). A fan walks by, telling of his wonderful idea for a novel, an idea so genial that the writer should leave all his current projects to do the hard work on it! It happens especially with the SF writers…

An idea may be a very small seed at the beginning, so we must not try to pull from it a completed 600-page spy novel !

Imagine if the writers worked like that!

(Who is this author?)

Les Nuages de Phoenix (The Clouds of Phoenix) was my first SF novel aimed at YA. The novel idea took a long time to grow.

It began with a simple mental picture, a girl looking at the clouds. One of my favorites activities when I was a child. I happened to like meteorology (and I later followed climatology courses when studying Geography). The place took form, Phoenix is another planet with a green sky. Why green? Ah, enter the airborne particles size, and many other explorations.

In that special environment, I found out that the little girl, Blanche,  was handicapped, a consequence of a grave accident, and she wears an exosqueleton that gives her legs the capability of running at 80 km/h (a fun fact when I mention it in classrooms). New characters appear : Blanche has a family: an big sister in love , a father worrying about the oxygen production plant, etc.  Those characters grow and eventually become like friends of the writer. This is a very nice step in the creative process, and I will come back to it in a future blog entry.

Cover of Les nuages de Phoenix

The clouds of Phœnix‘s seed idea took about one year to grow discreetly, before I was ready to write the full-length manuscript. Afterwards, there has been the long rewriting and edition process under my editor’s eye. All in all, the novel took almost two years (working on it part-time) between the seed and the finished work.

I wrote about the challenge of growing a story in my French blog. A story begins as a tiny seed, which we put in soil and water, leaving it for a time. But the idea grows in silence. And nothing prohibits us to have more than one idea growing! Certain will get ripe earlier than the others.

So, our inspiration tree must be fed, in three ways. We draw first from our own life experience, that help to get empathy with what our characters are living through. Then by our readings, any kind of reading: for researching our subject, for fun, for exploring different genres and ways of storytelling.. and last but not least, our imagination, always creating bridges.

The inspiration Tree

Many of those links may be absurd, but some will prove fecund.

A writer cannot get into an ivory tower and tell himself that his fertile imagination will be enough. Our plant needs watering, fertilizer, care: the three inspiration sources interact between themselves. And when the story gets too profuse, the care will later include pruning

(to be continued…)

Two new publications

Two new publications will be out for my birthday (July 14th) .  First, my Award-winning SF short-story  “Monarque des glaces” has been published in Solaris 175. The story depicts a dystopia set in an Earth reeling from a series of drastic climate and ecological changes.

The flower photo refers to Marguerite Andersen, the courageous editor of  the literary magazine Virages.  She does all the clerical work, despite the  recent cuts.

Marguerite is also the author of le figuier sur le toit , a precious personal account of life in Germany, in the pre-Nazi years. Germans were not a monolithic bloc, there were a diversity of opinions and political parties… until the elections of Hitler in 1933.

All this to proudly announce that another of my stories, “Château de neige”, will be published in the next Virages.

I won the 2010 Solaris Prize!

About one year ago, a Britannic webzine asked for short texts, one or three hundred words max, describing the future in one hundred years, and in the spirit of “mundane” SF. Mundane is a term coined by author Geoff Ryman to describe a “down-to-earth” approach to science-fiction stories.

I jotted a few ideas of a bleak future from which grew an embryo of text. I reworked it… and exceeded the word limit. So I left the text alone for a while.

One or two months later, I took the text back and managed to fold it into a story, with a bird-eye point of view by an unlikely character.

As the Solaris Prize deadline approached, I decided to work on it again, and polish it. The story finally grew strong and mature enough. So, like a child that I am proud of, I let it go…

And I received the good news last week. I’m a proud mother! The Prize includes a generous sum, plus the publication in the Solaris magazine.

The official communiqué (in French) is here

My first English SF workshop

Last Saturday, I took the bus and subway to go to a workshop.

The wookshop took place in the Tightrope books office, with a river of coffee with biscuits and strawberries. It was a very convivial setting, near a subway (excellent for me transiting from Mississauga).  Author and poet Sandra Kasturi was our host.

Sandra took the time to explore the preoccupations and favourite topics of each participant beforehand, so the workshop was well attuned. For me, it was my first English-language workshop (all my published books are in French), and I found out that I like to write in English!

Sandra’s sharing of her writing was deep felt. The writing exercises were short but intense, with the added incentive of submitting what we produced to various venues. Each of us, from first time writers to published ones, or hoping to, was well received. Francine is working on her novel, Johanne, an engineer like I was, is negotiating the hurdles of a first hard-SF novel , I had already read some of Kate Riedel’s texts in ON SPEC

I hope to see them again soon.

Sandra’s vision is that there shouldn’t be hard “rules” in writing, because each of us has a different lifestyle or occupation. She provided us with a lot of practical resource informations, plus a taste to continue to create and share our stories with the rest of the world.

Now, I must work on my flash-fiction…

Views of Saskatoon in late Autumn

P1060589RiviereRochesPont The rocky side of the Saskatchewan River.

For the event Lire à tous vents, I had the joy to discover a Saskatchewan, visiting schools in Saskatoon and Prince-Albert. Prince-Albert was under snow, but I received a warm welcome from the staff and students.

The Saskatchewan River divides in two parts the Saskatoon city, founded in 1882.

Le bord de la riviere Saskatchewan Autumn reflection

Saskatoon had been named after the little Saskatoon bay which grew there. Seven bridges were built to reunite the two part.

Freshly disembarqued from the plane, I had a grand afternoon for visit the Mendel Museum with a nice mini-botanical garden, and the Art gallery.

PlantesP1060518 PlantesMuseeW

I was impressed by the portraits by James Henderson, realized between 1914 and 1930.

Henderson painted Indians, and was nicknamed  Wicite Owapi Wicasa: the man who paints the old men.

Galerie Mendel - portraits Portraits of chiefs with landscapes. Those faces are marked with dignity.

And, since for one I had the time, I took my tablet to copy some of the portraits.  The museums offered a lot of folding chairs for artist and art students. Here is on of my efforts.

DreamerW

(Guess which one from the murale…)

I visited 6 schools from threee different School boards who collaborated to make the event a success.  A few pictures of the visits, where I explain with caricatures the differences between the flavours of the literature ice cream, to introduce the students to science-fiction

P1060592 MicheleNarutoHKelseyWeb One Naruto in 30 seconds at Henry Kelsey school, Saskatoon

P1060563 TechnologieHolyCrossWebTechnologie salvatrice ! This smart board can keep the drawing in memory! (Holy Cross school, Prince-Albert, SK)

Séance impromptue de signatures après la présentations Signings at École Sister O’Brien (Ann Gordon O’Brien, social worker, helper of families and education)

 

The organizers made me discover the nice aspects of Saskatoon, among them, the Bessborough hotel.  Bessborough

With the Mendel museum, I found good restaurants, and never did I ate so well in a Tour! Among the new meals, The salade de poires et de fromage bleu, asperged with a vinaigrette aux Saskatoon berry, well balanced. Also, at my hotel Sheraton (near the “Bess”), The restaurant offered a lasagne au Ricotta et à la courge “Buttercup”. The dessert was, a Saskatoon berries pie.

Some hotels boast a nice interior garden, like this one.

Jardin Interieur

 

 

My S-F novel is a finalist of the GG awards!

Couverture des vents de Tammerlan

Les vents de Tammerlan,  the second tome of my Chaaas’ cycle, is now a finalist of the General Governor’s literary Awards in the children’s literature category.

“This captivating novel by Michèle Laframboise strays from the well-worn paths of science fiction. While conserving the essential elements of the genre, the author’s subtle, at times poetic, prose creates moving and colourful images and gives life to complex, lovable characters.

It has been a long time since any science-fiction book, and proudly assumed, was nominated for those awards. The last was Temps perdu, (1984) and Temps Mort (1988), by Charles Monpetit. Meanwhile, children’s and young adults book collections flourished, and SF was relegated in the shadows.

It is a small victory for my story and my paper children, and a larger victory for science-fiction, now recognized as a full  flavour of the literary ice cream!

24-24

Images from my first experience of the 24-24 challenge, to draw 24 pages in 24 hours, at the Image Collections comic shop.

Todd giving the themes

Todd, Image Collections shop manager, giving us the challenge themes

Visitors: in the afternoon, visitors participated, contributing one or two pages.

2009_24hVisiteurs17h

Juliette (seated, on the photo), near my SIP mug. Also presents : Chris McQuaid from McHozer comics, and Aubry who came later and stayed until the end.

I thought I would be  falling over by midnight, but the ambiance, the oppportunity of creating without interruption, and the mad creepy music provided by Todd kept us awake (and laughing). I didn’t have to use my bed roll.

2009_24hMicheleEtConfreresMatin

How we remained awake all night. (Dan, Aubry, Kyle, Michèle).

2009_24hMatinZombies

8 o’clock morning saw the four of us working hard to complete the challenge (photo taken by Todd)

After midday, Sunday. We did it!

2009_24hLeResultatFinal

From left to right: Kyle, Michèle, Daniel, Aubry, all slightly zombified but proud! (Most of us did rise around 8h00 am on Saturday morning!)

I produced “Wind mistress” (Maitresse des vents) a new story, improvised, set in my SF world. Technically, I managed to ink four of the 22 pages of this comic book, plus a cover and back-cover and 22 pages.

And for me? It was paradise. Cartooning without interruption!

The Sunday artist on the Sunday Morning

The Sunday artist on the Sunday Morning.