ending a story

When I started to write my science fiction Meniscus Series, I had no idea where it would take me. All I knew was, the first story was there in my head, waiting to be told. Now I have four books published in the Series and five more planned. I have had to think about how I would end each book. I want each book to stand alone and yet I also want to segue into the next book. I also want the read to be satisfying and somewhat unexpected.

Meniscus: Crossing The Churn (here)

Meniscus: One Point Five – Forty Missing Days (here) (or free on Wattpad here)

Meniscus: South from Sintha (here)

Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb (here)

Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill (coming April 14, 2018)

Meniscus: Karst Topography (coming in 2018)

Meniscus: Encounter with the Emenpod (coming in 2018)

Meniscus: Journey to Bleth (coming in 2019)

Meniscus: Oral Traditions (coming in 2019)


Crossing The Churn  Scan_20180120 (2) Scan_20170522  Meniscus Winter by the Water-climb


Perhaps the most significant characteristic of endings has to do with outcome.

Do characters reach their destination or not?

Do they find the object of their quest or are they unsuccessful?


'release of the feather' close up


Beyond this, endings have other characteristics. Endings can be:

happy or sad

surprising or expected

exciting (active) or subdued (passive)

fated or governed by free-will

triumphant or disastrous

concluding or beginning

optimistic or pessimistic

encouraging or disappointing


'Odymn hides in the leaves'


With eight variables, there are many possible combinations. I did a quick analysis of my stories Meniscus: Crossing the Churn (blue dots) and Meniscus: Karst Topography (red dots). The endings are quite different, although they have commonalities. I have put in bold the characteristics of endings I usually prefer in stories.




A book in a series may demand a different set of endings than a self-contained, stand-alone story. An ending that suggests a new beginning will make a reader read the next book to discover what happens next. A disastrous ending will entice a reader to find out how the disaster is dealt with in the next book.


Not too long ago, I had a discussion with a reader who said the best endings are unexpected, but not necessarily related to the main objective, quest or destination.  The ending returns instead to something contained in the story that seems unconnected to the success of the mission or the eventual fate of the characters.


A simple example:

A woman, whose husband is killed in an explosion, tries to rebuild her life. She searches for a man who will make her happy and after several failures, she finds him. The story ends at the wedding when she sees a man among the visitors who looks just like her first husband.


'Belnar woos Vicki'.jpg


The ending is, of course, is not independent of the story. Moreover, stories have a way of writing themselves, situation leading to situation until a conclusion is reached.


When you finish writing your story, you have not reached the end. Now comes the editing! The ending of your story deserves a little analysis. Considering the ending with respect to the characteristics above may help you with the process.


All the best in your writing!






Free Book … Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb


From March 3 to March 7, 2018, you can get the Kindle version of Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb for FREE. Just click here to find out how the winter season goes for Odymn on an alien planet.


Winter on the planet Meniscus is brutal — the plenty of other seasons gives way to scarcity and desperation. Unprepared for the months ahead, Odymn and the Slain find shelter with the generous Argenops, friendly furry creatures. When Odymn has to survive without the help of the Slain, she must depend on her own wits and her skill at parkour to survive the alien landscape of the Themble. But she is not prepared for new arrivals, group of survivors of a transport ship crash. On a planet where Human relationships are not allowed, ten people and an alien child take the first steps toward building a community.


Hope you love the story of winter on Meniscus. And the story of how genetically altered Slains usually spend the winter!!!



Meniscus Winter by the Water-climb

Free Book!

Want a quick read? A chance to explore a distant planet with two spirited characters? The first book in my science-fiction adventure series Meniscus: Crossing the Churn (Kindle version) is available for free for the next three days on Kindle.  From January 29 to January 31, you can meet Odymn and the Slain, and learn about their meeting and their first travels together across the landscapes of planet Meniscus.


Scan_20170310 (2)


From the dangerous streets of Prell-nan to the dark woods of the Themble, this is a dystopian adventure, set on a planet where Humans are slaves to an alien race. Their only hope for freedom is to work together, foraging for their food, running from the nasty Dock-winders and battling the wild life. The only way to survive will be in their growing love for one another.


'uneasy sleep'


Hope you enjoy your free book!


Free book — Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb

Here in New Brunswick we are enjoying a gentle fall – nice days and cool temperatures. but the howling winds and bone-chill will soon begin.




So, how do the folks on other planets prepare for winter? Find out – the third book in the Meniscus science-fiction series – Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb – follows the characters as they get ready for the chilly season.


To help you get ready for a winter on planet Meniscus, I am running a free book promotion with Amazon Kindle. Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb will be free in Kindle edition from October 22 to October 25, 2017.

To order, just click here.

Although this is a series, Book Three can be read stand-alone. I hope you will enjoy the read!!!!


Meniscus Winter by the Water-climb


Winter on the planet Meniscus is brutal — the plenty of other seasons gives way to scarcity and desperation. Unprepared for the months ahead, Odymn and the Slain find shelter with the generous Argenops, furry, friendly creatures. When Odymn has to survive without the help of the Slain, she must depend on her own wits and her skill at parkour to survive the alien landscape of the Themble. But she is not prepared for new arrivals in the Themble Wood, a group of survivors, freed from slavery when their transport crashes in the Darn’el Desert. On a planet where Human relationships are not allowed, ten people and an alien child take the first steps toward building a community.


In the third book first of the Meniscus series, Winter by the Water-climb follows Odymn and the Slain as they try to survive a winter apart from one another’s help and protection.


Even in the dead of winter, you can build another home.


All my best

Alexandra Tims

Six reasons to write narrative in poetry

Almost every day I wonder if I should have written my science-fiction story in prose, as is usual with fiction. Instead I wrote all three books as free verse, in a long narrative poem. Many people do not like to read poetry — too complicated, too intense, too much like high school. Poetry books, even those that tell stories, do not sell well. There is not even a category in Amazon books for ‘Poetry, Science Fiction’. Poetry is boring.


I could have written my books as prose. I have written four books (unpublished) of fiction, so I know a bit about the process. If I was given the choice of reading a tale in poetry or prose, which would I choose? I only know, the story of Odymn and the Slain, set on the planet Meniscus, was made for poetry.


Meniscus Crossing The Churn cover painting (3)


1. The strange world of Meniscus needs strange description. This is a world where all is viewed through a purple mist.  The smell of cinnamon dominates. Water flows upward not down, and floats in droplets in the air. The alien language spoken on Meniscus is itself filled with alliteration and strange sounds. The word choices of poetry help the reader take the journey to Meniscus.

Bubbles rise, meet surface,

swell to domes, stretch and burst.

Disperse in elastic, floating drops.


Droplets hover

above the sheen of mosses,

between emerald and velvet ferns,

fronds flat and freckled.


2. Poetry allows terse story-telling. A lot of information can be packed into a few lines. Description is sometimes sacrificed, but the reader, embedded in the story, can fill in the detail. Sometimes the world created by the dual effort of writer and reader is more complex and complete.

A slear-snake, trolling for prey.

Nostrils expel viscous breath, visible

in the light of the rising moons.


Putrid exhalation,

sulphides and zootoxins,

evolved to paralyse prey.

Three eyes, oozing.


Her muscles respond,

propel her forward.

Side-wind and a claw

rakes her back.


3. The brevity of poetry suits the communications of the characters. The Slain, a genetically modified human with nictitating eyelids and the ability to channel energy to his armour, speaks rarely and briefly. Odymn sometimes jabbers she talks so much. The gaps and rhythms of poetry allow spaces in their conversation, the way white space on the page relieves our eyes.

“Odymn,” she says.

“Named by my father.


“Now you,” and points at his chest.


Blue sparks snap to the tip of her finger.

Faint vibration through hand, along arm,

deep into torso.


Penetrating stare.

Lazy double blink.

Membrane and lashes close and open.


“OK. I’ll choose a name for you.

Daniel. Or James.

Not quite right, too common.


“You need an alien name.

Something deep from Dock-winder mythology.

Amblyn, god of fire. Or De-al, water-weld.”


Steady stare. Double blink.

One hand lifts. One finger raised to lips.

Be silent.


4. Odymn, the main female character, has a skill to help her survive on Meniscus — she is a practitioner of parkour. Parkour is a way of moving through the landscape with running, jumping and climbing. The flow of poetry helps with the description of the fluid movements of parkour.

Dismount from the tree.

Trunk to trunk and flip forward.

Leap and struggle to stick the jump.

Vault and pivot.


Loves the silence,

quiet impact of feet, slap of fingers.

Ballerina toes thumping the stage.

Hands touching the surface of planet.

'parkour through the wood'test


5. When I write in free verse, I leave out most of the little words, the, and, a …  There is not much room for adverbs or unnecessary adjectives. The nouns and verbs tell the story. Actions read as more immediate, fast-paced and urgent.

Fingers ripping fabric.

Knee on her throat.

Violated by mouths and teeth,

dragged backwards over cobblestones.

Rising mist of red.

Fabric and legs splayed.

Skull-cracking fist.


6. Love scenes are fun to write in poetry. The reader uses every word to suggest a hundred more. Even a word like ‘peel’ becomes sensuous, embedded with meaning.

He lifts her, removes

every barrier between them.

Cold copper and silken ribbons

peeled away.


His skin a brief pause

before muscles

and movement.


'uneasy sleep'.jpg


I have considered writing other books in the series in prose. But when I do, I remember what is sacrificed. Brevity, depth, intensity, strangeness and urgency are components I want to keep in the story of Odymn and the Slain. Occasionally, I can relax the poetry to write dialogue, for example. But I always want to return to a place where the reader can walk through a village on Meniscus and experience the surroundings in brief impressions, as we do in reality.


Narrow streets.

Smooth stucco, mossy stairs.

Aroma of brewing zed.

Passageways exhale

solace, comfort, repose.


All my best,


JDB_0389 (2).jpg

book give-away

Greetings earthlings. Would you like to know more about the planet where I live?


One way is to read any of the Meniscus Series by Alexandra Tims.


On Meniscus we have:

three-eyed snakes, twelve feet long;

crawling carpets of carnivorous vegetation;

genetically altered humans with nictitating amethyst eyes.


You could buy the book … OR … You could win one! I am giving away four copies of Meniscus: South from Sintha at Goodreads from August 6, 2017 to August 14, 2017. No down-side … if you win (selection made by Goodreads), I’ll mail you, free of charge, a signed copy of my book. See the details below. Best of luck.

And stay away from carpets of moss.


'attack of club-mosses' both halves


Goodreads Book Giveaway



by Alexandra Tims

            Giveaway ends August 14, 2017.

See the giveaway details

at Goodreads.



best always,


winter on Meniscus

It’s winter on the planet Meniscus. Snow and bitter cold. Food is scarce and foraging is a poor strategy when everything is deep in winter sleep. All you can do is huddle together and hope for spring.




And then, your boyfriend declares he is going on his version of ‘walkabout’. And seven strangers, survivors of a spaceship crash, arrive on your doorstep. Winter survival just went from challenging to impossible!


survivors crop


Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb, the third book of the Meniscus Series, follows the continuing story of Odymn and the silent Slain. If you enjoyed Crossing The Churn (the story of the meeting of Odymn and the Slain) and South from Sintha (the story of the Slain’s attempt at redemption), you will love the third story. There are lots of new characters and Odymn’s parkour and foraging skills are put to the test. The book includes new drawings, a map, a glossary, a list of characters and a guide to Gel-speak.


Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb is now available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.com.  A quick read, written as a narrative poem. The paperback is $11.99 (US) here and the Kindle version is $4.96 (US) here .

Meniscus Winter by the Water-climb.jpg


The third book of the Meniscus series, Winter by the Water-climb, follows Odymn as she tries to survive a winter apart from the Slain’s help and protection.

Copyright Alexandra Tims 2017


thank you!

A huge thank you to purchasers of my books. From June 1 -5 I ran a free book promotion on Amazon for the Kindle edition of South from Sintha. I gave away 41 free ebooks and sold a few Kindle editions of the first book Crossing The Churn. Also, thanks to anyone who bought ebooks or paperbacks! I am so pleased to know my stories and words and characters are getting out there!


This week I am working on edits for the next two Meniscus books: Winter at the Water-climb and The Village at Themble Hill. Here is a new drawing for one of these books! The books will follow the continuing story of Odymn and the Slain, but new characters arrive, as the result of a transport crash.


'Ning confronts a Gel-head'paperback


Copyright Alexandra Tims 2017

working on a sci-fi series

When I first started writing my science-fiction series Meniscus, I had no plans for a series or even a book. I wrote a chapter of Meniscus: Crossing The Churn because my writing group wanted to hold a Saturday workshop on science-fiction/fantasy and I had nothing to share. I pulled out a story I had written years before but it was unbelievably bad. All I salvaged from the older story was the name of the heroine ‘Odymn’.


'parkour through the wood'test.jpg
Odymn, my main character, is an expert at parkour … helps her travel through the Themble Wood and get them out of sticky situations


Months later, I have two of the series published and four more in the wings. Since the story is written in the form of an illustrated long poem, a 150 page book is about 10,000 to 15,000 words long. This is only about 1/10th the length of a normal book, so when I finish, the story will be the length of a short novel. Once you get used to the narrative poetry form, the result is a rather quick read.


All six books tell a story: on a planet where humans are not allowed to have relationships, a small group of humans tries to build a community and recapture some of what they have lost. Within that longer story are six shorter story arcs, one per book.



'transport crash'paperback
more characters are added to the story when a transport crashes in the desert in Book 3



The table below shows the unfolding story in terms of theme, story length and number of characters.  Writing a series differs from writing a single book in that elements of the later story must be placed in earlier books. For example, the lost child in Book 6 is introduced in Book 2, the former girlfriend of the Slain is introduced in Book 3 but is not one of the characters until book 4, and so on. If you want to know what is in the mysterious box in Book 2, Meniscus: South from Sintha, the answer is in Book 3 (Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb)!


Book Pages Word count Number of main characters Theme
Meniscus: Crossing The Churn 147 9,556 3 A young woman, Odymn, thinks she has found her freedom when she is rescued from servitude by a genetically-engineered Slain whose kindness may not be consistent with his purpose.
Meniscus: South from Sintha 151 9,740 6 The Slain, for love of Odymn, tries to return his former acquisitions to their homes and finds the task more challenging than he thought possible.
Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb (DRAFT) 244 15,310 13 Winter comes to planet Meniscus and Odymn must cope with the survivors of a transport crash without the help of the Slain.
Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill (DRAFT) 220 15,229 16 When the Dock-winder overlords threaten their friends, Odymn and the Slain try to find a safe place to build a new community.
Meniscus: Karst Topography (DRAFT) 148 ? 9147 ? 17 The Slain and his friends travel to the city of Prell to rescue the women of the community but Odymn is not among them and the Slain fears she may be dead.
Meniscus: Encounter with the Emenpod (DRAFT) 140 ??? 10,000 ??? 16 + A mysterious alien begins to rebuild the community of Themble Hill and helps the Slain and his friends to find a lost child.


For each of the books, I am at a different stage in the writing process: marketing for Book 1 and 2, editing for Book 3 and 4, and creation for Books 5 and 6. It means I am never bored, still embedded in the creative process and getting feedback as I go.


If you have read one of the books in the series and want to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.


alien moons
‘alien moons’, acrylic, Alexandra Jane Tims, 5″ x 8″, May 2017


Copyright Alexandra Tims 2017