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Friday, April 29, 2011

The Process of Writing: Part Seven

In this post we will deal a bit more with the topic of creating the proper settingP.T.I.

…P.T.I…. Pardon The Interruption…Pardon The Interruption.

There is nothing wrong with your reception. This channel has been high-jacked by the NFL Draft….

Titus Young, BSU wide receiver, has just been taken by the Detroit Lions as the 12th pick of the second round in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Your regularly scheduled program will continue at its normal time…..

Thank you.  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Process of Writing: Part Six

In the last entry I dealt with how I go about creating my characters. Before moving on, let me point out that the worksheet included in the last post serves only as a starting-point, and should be added to or subtracted from as needed.

In this issue I am focusing on the setting. Setting simply defined is where and under what conditions your story takes place.  In Francine Rivers’ novel “Redeeming Love” the setting is the 1800’s California Gold Rush era. Juxtapose that to Donna Fletcher Crow’s “A Very Private Grave” in which the setting is modern day England.

In my Nate Richards series, starting with N.H.I., the setting is modern day Treasure Valley in South Western Idaho. As the writer I am able to borrow from what is geographically real and gently mix in the fantastic. This also goes for the culture of the setting. In the Nate Richards series I add a traditional Black Church to the Meridian City backdrop. While no such church exists in Meridian, there is one of this type in Boise. So by using the modern setting I can use very real places and events, but because the story is fiction I can add and subtract as needed to bring the story alive.  

In N.H.I., I combined the cities of two counties to create the fictional metro community of Treasure Valley. This allowed me to keep my story set in Meridian, Idaho, but allowed me to borrow from some of the better known and perhaps more picturesque features of the valley.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Special Guest: Donna Fletcher Crow

Shadows and light.  That's what so much of life is all about.  And shadows and light— the contrasts— are a lot of what make art work.  I think that's why I'm having so much fun with my romantic suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries.  Romance in exotic settings played out in sharp relief against murder and mayhem.  It gives an edge to everything.

For example, In book 1, THE SHADOW OF REALITY Dr. Elizabeth Allerton, head of the English department at Rocky Mountain College insists that her new department member Dr. Richard Spenser accompany her to a mystery week set high in the Rockies.

The role-played week starts out as if all Elizabeth's fantasies had come true, staying in  an elegant English manor house in the 1930's. And then it gets better.  Their host is even more than Elizabeth could have dreamed:  Sir Gavin Kendall— sophisticated, brilliant, rich and captivated by her.

Then falls the shadow.  Will Elizabeth's lifelong dreams become reality or will she fall prey to the vicious murderer lurking in the shadows? Will Elizabeth discover the narrow line between fantasy and reality in time to achieve her dreams?

In book 2, the newly-released A MIDSUMMER EVE'S NIGHTMARE Elizabeth and Richard want nothing more than a quiet, romantic honeymoon— with a touch of literary charm. So they have chosen the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.  Perfection.  Until they find that Desdemona’s brilliantly acted death scene wasn’t acted and Elizabeth’s costume designer sister and her actress roommate are terrified that they are slated to be the next victims.

Elizabeth and Richard are stretched to the limit as they struggle to deepen their marriage relationship while supporting and protecting two young women at the same time.
“With an adroit hand at humor and sleek banter, Donna Fletcher Crow combines a lighthearted romance with the dangerous world behind the curtain. Her characters Elizabeth and Richard share their Christian faith unobtrusively and with deft intelligence.”  Christine Lindsay, Shadowed Silk
A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare has "all the elements of a throat-gripping, sleep-robbing thriller, while still wooing the reader with the tenderness of sweet romance. . . this is a charming page-turner that will keep readers on edge to the very end."  Kathi Macias, Valeria's Cross
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 36 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.  The award-winning GLASTONBURY, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work.  A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, book 1 in the Monastery Murders series is her reentry into publishing after a 10 year hiatus. Book 2 A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH will be out in 2011.  THE SHADOW OF REALITY, Book 1 The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries, is a romantic intrigue available on Ebook. A MIDSUMMER EVE’S NIGHTMARE, Book 2 in the Elizabeth & Richard series is her newest release.

Donna and her husband have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren.  She is an enthusiastic gardener. 
To see the book video for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE and pictures from my garden and research trips please visit me at
read my blog at
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Process of Writing: Part Five

Now that we’re done with chapter one of DRTthat was the pre-edited form by the way, we’ll talk about the editing process later – we can turn our attention completely toward character development.

The key to having believable characters is having real characters.  To quote another teacher, who told me, “Fiction is just truth that hasn’t happened yet.”  So just like you, your characters have to have a history. Just as your history has made you who you are the same is true of your characters.

Your character’s back-story is where his history is made. The Back-story is everything that has happened to your character before the story begins and that has an impact on your character or the story’s development.

The better you know your character the better you can write your character’s life and events.  To help you know your character better, I have included the worksheet I created - again based on ideas shared with me by many others who have helped me along the way - to log your character's identity. 

Character Development Worksheet:

I. Book One: _In this space write the title of your manuscript so that you can keep in mind which piece this character goes with._

Synopsis:  Create a short story summary so that you are kept aware of which story you are creating the character for, and how that character will fit into the overall storyline.

Note: Not all this information will make it into your story, but it is integral to your character’s history and will aid you in writing realistic fiction for that character. i.e. If your character had a two inch ragged scar on his cheek, that will mandate some event in his history that caused the scar, but it also gives you a launching point for how he/she might react to edge weapons.

i.e. John Doe Everest
i.e. 23 years six months



Hair Color

Eye Color

Scars or handicaps  – how obtained

Educational Background

Work Experience


Enemies and why


Present Problems

How will problem get worse

Strongest Character trait

Weakest Character Trait

How see’s self

How seen by others

Sense of humor

Basic nature



Life philosophy


Music preference

Dress style

Favorite color

Past times

Description of home

Most important thing to know
about character

One line characterization

What trait will make character
 come alive

Why is character worth writing about

What makes him different

Why I like him

Why readers will like him

Why and how is he strong


Badge Number