Friday, August 27, 2010

Writing Prompt/Finding Drama in Nature

Today we're stepping outside of our cozy little writing nooks with my friend and award-winning science author, Amy S. Hansen. Check out her informative website at: to learn more about her books and programs.


Finding Drama in Nature

Research a natural cycle and write it out.

For example, Sea turtles: Sea turtle eggs hatch. They move to the ocean. They find the current. They float around and eat and grow. They find a mate. The females return to beaches and lay their own eggs.
[Source: University of North Carolina]

Or Mosquitoes: Mosquito eggs hatch. They grow into larvae. They change into adults. The females bite a mammal, bird or reptile to get blood that they need for the eggs. They lay eggs in water. They die.
[Source: Oklahoma State University]

Now take a part your cycle and look for drama. Without making the animals anthropomorphic you can still show the danger pending to an individual sea turtle, or an individual mosquito. Most of the animals that start as eggs do not survive to adulthood. Danger is everywhere.

Go back to your research. See what eats the baby sea turtles. Write out a near miss, showing the turtle’s defensive action — maybe running faster into the ocean.

If you do that for every piece of your cycle, your readers will be cheering for that turtle, or even the mosquito, and the lifecycle itself becomes a story of triumph.

(Please note that I wouldn’t use only one source for any research, but would want at least three reliable sources saying the same thing. Non-fiction writing does not need to be dull. It does need to be accurate.)


Every fall, bugs disappear. And every spring, they return. Where do they go? Bugs and Bugsicles answers the mystery.

Some die, leaving their young safe in an egg sack or crawling along
the bottom of a pond. Others fly distant places. And one even freezes
to thaw out and live another day.

Watch as crickets, ladybugs, dragonflies, and other insects get ready for the killing frosts. Then look again, as spring arrives, snow melts, flowers bloom, and suddenly, the bugs are back.
Shop at!


  1. This post was really good at explaining briefly how to write a non-fiction nature article. I'm sending the link on to someone who is thinking about doing just that.

  2. So glad you enjoyed it Catherine! And thanks for forwarding it along. Lynne Marie