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Collating Information for Narrative Non-Fiction

Crowvus has published a new book this week: "Child of the Earth" by Susan Crow. This book is nature writing at its best, that beautiful mix between poetry and prose.

To celebrate the launch, Susan is writing a series of blog posts, and creating some videos, to help others wanting to follow in the narrative non-fiction footsteps.

Collating Information for Narrative Non-Fiction

When I started this book, I wanted to include a number of pieces I had written in the past. I rummaged through old briefcases, folders and box files. I tried to find stories and accounts which I'd sent online. It took me a while and, at the end of it, I had a motley mix of might-be-useful  stuff. Then I had to sort it all out. I realised I couldn't do that until I had the structure of the book well in place.

Another nature book. How do I make this one different? It seemed the easiest option was to use the calendar from January through to December. But it had been done many times over the years. I need discipline. How else could I get over, to the reader, my connection with, and love for, the natural world without diluting the passionate performance of the perpetual calendar?

I decided to go with the Greats and stick to the months in their natural order. I reckoned it would be fine because I was set on mixing in some unusual creative pieces alongside my account of Nature as it continues to form me. So, in that way, my book would be refreshingly different. I hoped.

The next stage was to sort out and order my past journals and to source details of things mentioned in those so that I might make my notes more meaningful for the reader. I felt I held an ace in the journal, given to me, of a Lincolnshire farm worker in the late nineteenth century. I am fascinated by social history and so I found it a delight to deck some of the chapters with this man's personal accounts.

So the twelve months, January to December, were completed with additions.

My wonderful illustrator read the chapters before creating and organising the pictures. I just love them.

When the first draft was written, I felt I needed to introduce it. I wasn't sure if I was cheating the reader by writing the introduction after I had written the book but I went with it anyway. I then realised I needed to draw it together with a conclusion. I wanted to cry out to the world that I love it and pray for it. No, that wasn't the right conclusion. So I decided to put out a dual message of responsibility with hope.

Here is a nest egg of memories and anecdotes teased from a life uplifted by an appreciation of the natural world.
Memories of childhood in rural England, raising a family in Orkney and Lincolnshire, and retirement in Northern Scotland are threaded together into a broad tapestry of the natural year. These experiences meet with a view of Earth's uncertain future to illustrate the necessity for respect of all lifeforms and shares a passion for the wellbeing of this planet with all generations.
Child of the Earth is a source of inspiration and delight - a literary garland of hope.

The companion book to Child of the Isle, the bestselling memoir of growing up in rural Lincolnshire.


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