Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Notes from Nature Writing Workshop

In yesterday's post I reviewed Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson, who gave a Nature Writing Workshop to Saturday Writers in April. Jen's workshop was inspiring and a great opportunity to stimulate the writing muscles, so I want to share some of my notes from the workshop.

To write a story about nature:

1. Sit quietly (or walk) and observe
2. Engage the five senses (see, touch, smell, taste, hear)
3. Notice the details (texture, color, weight)
4. Describe an object using two senses (for example, a clover field)
5. Describe the object as it evokes a memory (running through a clover field in the summer, making clover bracelets)
6. Combine the two parts (description and memory) to create a story
7. Be as specific as possible
8. Include a goal
9. Add conflict
10. Introduce a second character
11 Dig for emotion
12. Include Climax and resolution
13. Prune and tighten

In Jen's workshop I began a story about my mom's backyard. One woman wrote a piece about running through a field and making clover bracelets. Another wrote about scuba diving for shells. What really helped stimulate my imagination was holding the seeds and plants that Jen gave to participants.

Another suggestion was to keep a notebook or a journal to record details when you are out in nature. I also have found taking photographs helps stimulate my memory and heightens my senses to create a story or an essay with more vivid details.

Short Story Month Reminder and Challenge: How about writing a short story where nature has a strong presence?


  1. Interesting blogs. Thanks Donna, for the information on nature writing. I'll have to check out Jen's website. Sounds like an interesting speaker. Have a good day!

  2. What great ideas! Thanks for sharing...sounds fun!

  3. Hi Mary,
    You're welcome. Jen's workshop was so much better than my notes and comments.
    Hope your meeting this weekend goes well.

  4. Hi Tammy,
    It was fun. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


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