When it comes to writing fascinating books and stories, learning how to write about nature can bring an extra element into your stories that can make them even stronger.
Nature can provide so many elements to a story that make it more intriguing and can add complexity to the story overall. It can represent a deeper metaphor for the human experience, be a challenge for characters to overcome, be a turning point for growth, and many more things.
If you are considering adding elements of the natural world into your writing, this article will guide you through some of the basics to keep in mind as you write.
How To Write About Nature
- What Is Nature Writing?
- What Are The Main Elements Of Nature Writing?
- How to Write About Nature
- Famous Nature Writers And Their Books
- Ready To Write Your Book?
What Is Nature Writing?
Nature writing is a literary genre that focuses on the natural world, including its landscapes, ecosystems, and its impact on our lives. It is a form of nonfiction or fiction that explores and celebrates the beauty, wonder, and complexity of the natural environment.
When brought into a novel, it is often a force that has an impact on the story or characters involved. It can even act as a character in and of itself, meaning it can have a huge role in the overarching story. Think about the movie Twister and how big of a role the tornadoes had in the overall plot of the movie.
Nature writing often combines personal observation, scientific knowledge, and emotional or philosophical reflections to create a richer story than it would without it being included.
Nature writing can take various forms, including essays, novels, memoirs, haiku, poetry, travel blogs, and field guides. It continues to be a popular genre, taking on environmental challenges such as global warming and other issues.
Often, authors will use things like nature to be something that characters battle against and learn about themselves in the process. For example, would Moby Dick be quite the same story without the element of the open sea?
Nature writing can include fiction and nonfiction written works.
What Are The Main Elements Of Nature Writing?
Key characteristics of nature writing include:
- Observation: Nature writers are keen observers of the natural world. They pay close attention to the details of the environment, from the smallest insect to the grandest mountain.
- Connection to a place: Many nature writers have a strong connection to a particular place or region, and they often draw inspiration from their surroundings.
- Environmental awareness: Nature writing often carries an environmental message or raises awareness about ecological issues, conservation, and the human impact of nature.
- Personal reflection: Nature writers often share their personal experiences and emotions in response to the natural world. This can include feelings of awe, wonder, serenity, or contemplation.
- Scientific approach: Nature writing often draws on a range of disciplines, including biology, ecology, geology, and more to provide readers with a deeper understanding of the natural world. Authors who do not have experience in these fields might have to spend time learning about them in order to accurately describe weather and natural phenomenons.
- Literary skill: Nature writers use literary techniques such as vivid descriptions, metaphors, and storytelling to engage readers and convey their experiences effectively.
How to Write About Nature
Writing about nature can be a big endeavor as a writer, especially if you have not done it before. Whether you’re crafting a descriptive essay, a poem, a short story, or even a scientific report, there are several things to keep in mind when you take on this challenge:
1. Observation and Immersion
Spend time in the natural environment you want to write about. Observe the sights, sounds, smells, and textures. Immerse yourself in the experience to gather rich, firsthand details.
2. Read from successful nature writers
Study the works of renowned nature writers, such as Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Rachel Carson, or Mary Oliver, to gain inspiration and learn different styles of nature writing.
3. Write with an audience in mind
Think about who you’re writing for and adjust your tone and style accordingly. Are you writing for a scientific audience, the general public, or children? Tailor your writing to your audience’s level of knowledge and interest.
4. Choose a specific focus
Narrow down your topic. Nature is vast, so decide whether you want to write about a specific place, a particular season, a type of wildlife, a natural phenomenon, or a personal experience in nature.
5. Use vivid imagery
Paint a vivid picture with your words. Use descriptive language to help readers visualize the scene. Describe colors, shapes, and sizes in detail.
You will want to learn how to write about colors and learn how to accurately describe scenes so you can
6. Bring in the senses
Engage the reader’s senses by describing the sensory aspects of nature. Discuss the rustling of leaves, the fragrance of flowers, the taste of fresh rain, and the warmth of the sun on a character’s skin.
Instead of simply telling the reader the basics of the scenes, show it through actions and sensory details. Let the reader experience nature through their imagination.
7. Create emotional connections
If you are writing your own journey with nature, you will want to share your own thoughts and experiences with nature. Describe how the natural setting makes you feel, whether it’s a sense of wonder, peace, awe, or even fear.
8. Tie in metaphors and symbolism
Use metaphors and symbolism to convey deeper meanings. Nature can often be a symbol for broader human experiences, such as growth, change, or the cycle of life.
Personify elements of nature by giving them human attributes. For example, you might describe the wind as a playful child or the trees as wise old guardians.
This step can take a lot of practice in order to make them not sound too cheesy when you write them, but it can really enhance the experience for the reader.
10. Edit and revise
After writing, revise your work to improve clarity and flow. Eliminate unnecessary words and ensure your writing conveys the intended emotions and imagery effectively.
11. Fact check when needed
If you’re writing about conservation or environmental issues, be sure to include information about the importance of preserving nature and the impact of human activities.
This is an area where you will need to work extra hard to make sure your facts are correct.
Famous Nature Writers And Their Books
Prominent nature writers like Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Rachel Carson, and Aldo Leopold have made significant contributions to this genre.
Their works, such as Thoreau’s Walden, Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierra, Carson’s “Silent Spring,” and Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac,” had a huge impact on the world of nature writing and also played a role in shaping environmental conservation efforts.
Kobayashi Issa is a famous Japanese poet who also often wrote haiku’s about nature. According to the Poetry Foundation, “Issa’s haiku are as attentive to the small creatures of the world—mosquitoes, bats, cats—as they are tinged with sorrow and an awareness of the nuances of human behavior.”
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