Award-winning author
Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

24 March 2015

The natural world deserves to be in your books and stories

The modern industrialized United States has demonized dirt and bugs and everything else in our world that works together to create a balanced harmony in nature. I get snail mail and email several times a week from organizations telling me about states not only allowing but encouraging people to kill wolves, which play important roles in their ecosystems.

"Odin's Self-Sacrifice," W.G. Collingwood (1854–1932)
One can see the disconnect between people and nature in the many novels that either ignore the outdoors or uses it generically as a setting. I've been guilty of it myself . . . although I'm going to be more aware in the future to do my part to wake people up to the beauty that surrounds us and the importance of saving species, even toads that hold up highway construction.

Yesterday, I did a guest blog post at the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal Chapter of the Romance Writers of America's blog. I talked about the close relationship between trees and hominids, focusing on beliefs and myths about trees that are found around the world. (One of those myths is the "world tree," known in Norse mythology as Yggdrasil.) You can check it out at

Do you agree that the natural world should be a crucial element of world building? Do you notice when authors use the indoor world in their stories but not the outdoor world? If you are an author, do you remember to include the natural world?


Charles Gramlich said...

If there isn't some natural world in a story, then it becomes a horror story to me.

Shauna Roberts said...

CHARLES GRAMLICH—it feels as if the story is confined or as if the character is in a prison, at least to me.