How to Write a Forest Scene
A. Write more about the trees and greenery. Give the reader insight to the location and the weather.
You may hear the gentle gurgling of a small creek and the forest hides all the animals that drink from that creek. Sunlight making polka-dots on the ground, lighting up dead tree trunks where shelf fungus grows like dinner plates for the creatures inhabiting its sanctuary.
– Rays of mellow sunlight filtered through the verdurous canopy, penetrating through the leaves and casting an unearthly green–gold luminescence over the ground.
– They were in varying shades of green: some were still budding, emerging a fresh, limey color into the summer, whilst the grown, flatly panned leaves were brushed a lush emerald under the overhead sun.
– The soft crunch of them on the ground made her wistful. They were a faded, shredded tapestry of autumn, she thought as she remembered the crisp golden hues and the vibrant oranges that had blanketed the forest floor the last time she had visited it. She remembered how they’d danced, pirouetted from the naked trees in a shower of color, bringing a warmth to the biting chill that was beginning to settle in.
– Gnarled roots dipped into and out of the ground and twisted branches reached down, fingers grasping thin air.
– The trees were ancient, timeless as they disappeared into the sky, rough with age, yet their roughness had been worn down by the soft greenness of moss that had slowly made them home.
– Some trees were wreathed in ivy, ever frozen in its embrace, whilst others were still bare; young shoots that hadn’t enough time to have claimed companions.
– Wet from the late spring rainfall, the ground was dark and damp. The curled brown leaves were half-embedded in it, trampled by the occasional dog walker, and the small prints of rodents and birds were crisply remembered by its form.
B. Write about the animals and the life that exist in this Forest. You can even make up your own and/ or it could be humans that live in the forest.
– In the canopy, birds twittered, chirping and calling in distant melodies to their kin. A faint rustling could be heard as small rodents scampered through the foliage, though it was drowned out by the greater rustling of the leaves in the gentle breeze.
– Hear the soft padding of a small fox nearby, the crisp snap of dry twigs underneath her boots and the flapping of wings.
– The raw, earthy scent of wet mud
– The crisp smell of dewy foliage
– The sweet scent of forest flowers, bespeckling the ground in bells of white and sprigs of lavender
- Orangutans spend most of their time in the forest canopy where they feed on leaves, figs and other fruit, bark, nuts, and insects. Large trees of the old-growth forests support woody vines that serve as aerial ladders, enabling the animals to move about, build their nests, and forage for food.
- The largest of all primates, the gorilla. Too large and clumsy to move about in the forest canopy, the gorilla lives on the forest floor where it forages for a variety of plant materials.
- The jaguar. Its endangered status is the result of hunting and habitat loss.
- The Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata), a medium-sized, green bird with blue wing feathers
- Below the canopy the waters are filled with fish life. Kelp bass find the middle of the kelp forest to be a good hunting area, while Sheephead, a boldly colored fish, like to feed on the larger invertebrates that live among the kelp stipes and tend to hang out towards the bottom of the forest.
- Insects (morpho butterfly, Julia butterfly, Monarch butterfly, and millions of other insects)
mammals (jaguar, ocelot, didelphid opossums, sloth, howler monkey, spider monkey, capybara, many bats, marmosets, procyonids, peccaries)
- Birds (quetzal, macaw, tinamous, curassows, hoatzins, hummingbirds, eagles, ovenbirds, antbirds, flycatchers, puffbirds, toucans, jacamars, tanagers, tapirs, troupials, honeycreepers, cardinal grosbeaks, xenops)
reptiles (anaconda, caiman, iguanas, lizards, microteiid lizards, boas, and coral snakes), amphibians (poison arrow frog, etc.)
- Fish (electric eel, piranha), and millions of other animals.Australia –
mammals (tree kangaroo, rat kangaroo, yellow-footed Antechinus, Giant White-tailed Uromys, opossums, bandicoot, echidna, duck-billed platypus, sugar glider, red legged pademelon)
- Reptiles (frilled lizard, carpet python, Green Tree Snake, Spotted Tree Monitor, Eastern Water Dragon, Boyd’s Forest Dragon, Northern Leaf Tailed Gecko)
- Amphibians (Giant Tree frog, Striped marsh frog, Northern Barred frog, Dainty Green Tree frog), and millions of other animals.Southeast Asia –
- mammals (tarsiers, orangutans, Siamangs, gibbons, colobine monkeys, tigers, tree shrews, binturong, moonrats, most flying foxes, colugos, bamboo rats, Oriental dormice)
- birds (tree swifts, leafbirds, fairy bluebirds, fantails, whistlers, flowerpeckers, wood swallows)
- insects (Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing butterfly, Goliath Birdwing butterfly, Saturn Butterfly) to name a few.West Africa –
- mammals (antelopes, bonobo, chimpanzee, gorilla, Mandrill, scaly-tailed squirrels, otter shrews, duikers, okapi, hippopotamus, Cercopithecus monkeys, bushbabies, pygmy hippo, duiker)
- birds (Congo peafowl, African Gray Parrot) to name a few.
C. Describe how these things have a connection to the story and to the overall plot. Give hint to how they will be a part of the journey.
I. What about the animals and the forest is important to the story and to the character? How are they a vital allie to the trail and the path of the rain forest?
II. Ultimately how are these things good? Give signs and behavior patterns that will differentiate them from good and evil. Or keep it a mystery to enhance the dynamics of your story.
III. Use ideologies, metaphors, and similes to create an experience your character is having. How they connect with the forest atmosphere and the creatures who dwell inside this area.
A. Why is your character there in the first place and how long do they plan on staying? Their journey can all the sudden become extended or shortened by anything.
I. Think of all the things you might find in a dark forest and make them experience it.
- Insects in the mouth and eyes
- Branches in the face and tearing at clothes
- Tripping over roots and rocks
- Feet crunching on dirt, snapping twigs
- His/her own gasping breath in the silence
- Sounds of creatures pursuing him
- Howling of wolves in the distance
- Owls hooting in the night
II. Explain their thoughts, the worries, even ultimately telling the reader what’s at stake for the character.
III. Do they meet someone along the way? Is there a barrier or path they cannot take or overcome? Or do they find a great shortcut? Is a shortcut even safe?
B. Is there anything out of the usual? Does it become too much for the character to handle to where they will need someone or something to help them? Maybe it’s the animals and life that live in the forest or the forest itself.
I. Is there magic involved? Are there a new philosophies or new rules that doesn’t pertain to our own world, involved? If so, who is controlling this? Does the character have an idea who might be behind these doing?
II. Does the character actively call out loud for someone or something to help them? Does anyone come to their aid? Is it magical or ordinary? Where has this person or being been all that time? Was this all a test to begin with?
III. Must the character return the favor somehow or is it given for free? Does the character somehow speak to this thing or person or are they dumbfounded? Do they just accept what happened or begin to question the place they’re in? Does this mean they’re about to escape or try to at least?
C. Show some relief of the problem or a solution that is at a near distance. Give the reader hope for the character.
I. How are they coping with these sudden changes and surprises? Are they able to take a break at all and stop to get some air from what is going on?
II. If s/he’s running to vent because she heard something emotionally traumatizing and they’re running away from the impact it has on them, then s/he would be tripping and stumbling not out of fear but out of anxiety to get away.
If s/he’s running through the woods because it’s a pass time and they enjoy it, then you select words and thoughts and structure your sentences to give a peaceful tone (or whatever emotion you’re aiming for).
III. What talents skills or abilities does the character have the makes them seem not so hopeless?
A. Show how the forest becomes an aide to the character and/or the character becomes an aide/savior to the forest.
I. Can the animals speak English, can the character all the sudden communicate with the animals, or do they have to find a creative way to speak with each other?
II. Maybe the trees sway in the wind and gives direction to the character on where to go, what if something randomly falls down as a way to direct the character to a specific path? You can use sound, you can use smell, you can use all the human senses. Be creative.
III. Or the forest and animals becomes a shield for the character… or tries to direct the character away from something… or even risks itself or their own lives to save the character from evil.
B. Is there any magic that is in the place? How about the connection between the scenery and the character? How does it strengthen them or how does it weaken them?
I. What type of Magic? Is it something that can be learned? Is it something that can be avoided or counteracted? Does the magic bring anything alive or keeps things dead? Does the magic prevent the forest from doing anything or allows it to do more than what it once could?
II. Does the character softly walk through the forest to avoid from causing any harm? Does the character do anything weird to the forest such as pray to it or use the trees leaves as clothing? Why are they acting this way?
III. How about the forest? Does the forest do anything out of character to gain the character’s interest? Does it offer the character anything?
C. Are there hints in the forest that the character can only see and their enemy cannot? How does the forest communicate with the character? How does the character communicate with the forest?
I. Why can the character see these hints and the enemy cannot? How do they know that these are going to protect them? What has the forest done that makes the character believe it’s okay to to follow unknowingly or even listen to?
II. How desperate does they forest become? Will they go to great lengths to protect the character? Or will the character go through great lengths to protect the forest? Where does this bond come from and how does it help the character easily flow through the forest?
III. Or maybe the forest is silent. Maybe the forest has no magic or is on no one side. If so, how does the character use the forest as they please?
A. Add some drama, some danger, what is breaking… what is causing Mayhem? How is the character mentally handling it and what might be their demise?
I. Give details about the great enemy. What is the character learning thus far? Who are their allies? At what point in their Journey are they at and how close are they to finishing?
II. Are there any swamps, quicksand, spiders, snakes, or otherwise that wouldn’t necessarily be in another land? How much harder is it to journey through the forest than it is somewhere else?
III. Do they get injured, do they somehow make a mistake that they cannot take back? Has the forest abandoned them? Have the animals abandoned them? Have they abandoned themselves and their will to live?
B. If the enemy is directed towards the forest, then how does the forest cope with it and what is it doing to protect itself? How is the character helping to protect the forest if at all?
I. Why is this evil thing having a war with the forest? Does the character understand why? Is it a being? Is it nature? Is it a Mystic being? Is it the forest itself that’s their own enemy?
II. Do the branches hit and sway? Do the leaves fall down from the branches to the ground as a way of surrender? Do the animals bite, bark growl? Do trees fall down? Do trees move as if they had feet?
III. Does a character being human give them a leg up? Are they able to help the forest even in the slightest way? Is this a way to return the favor for the forest helping them?
C. Put a bit of focus on the enemy; the danger. How do they look? what are they doing? how does it seem for them to be in this Forest? what threats are they saying? what weapons do they have? how many people are on the enemy army? How much more powerful is this threat?
I. How does the face look? How powerful is this evil? How weak are they; what is their weak link? How long has the war/battle been going on?
II. Where did this enemy come from? How evil are they or do they have some kindness to them? Is it never ending or does it have a downfall? Is it hurting itself by battling the forest or the character? Or is battling the forest or the character making it stronger?
III. If the character or the forest is battling themselves, then describe the pain they are inflicting on itself through the eyes of who is watching. How much longer until the end is near? In other words, is it hopeless to help?
A. Is everything complete, is everything at peace, how does the character feel?
I. What are the goodbyes like? What actions do they take to make sure they are thanking the forest and that the forest understands what they’re saying?
II. How much has the character contributed? Where does the health of the character and the forest lie? Are they both to thank for a good ending? Who’s to blame for a bad ending? Is there any animosity between the character and the forest? Remember, the animals are considered to be part of the forest.
III. Is there any gifts exchanged? Are there any songs sang? Is there a promise of return?
B. How about if the threat is still alive? how has the character left the threat or if they decide to stay how are they keeping the threat at bay?
I. Is threat gone away for a while? Is it sure to return? Will the character return before the threat returns but with more weapons or people to battle?
II. If the character stayed, what are they doing in order to protect the forest? How much do they have to sacrifice to keep the forest in good shape? Is the forest doing anything to thank them or to protect the character in return? Is this a completely selfless act?
III. Vice versa. What must the forest do in order to continue to protect the character? How’s the character thanking the forest?
C. Let the reader know who’s in charge, whether it’s the character the forest or the enemy at the end of the scene. Let them know where it should start the next time you begin this scene. If it is finished then make sure you bring out the person you want to bring out on top. But not without consequence; there must be signs of a battle.
I. Who left the battle? Who had the most battle scars? Who showed signs of fear? And how did they show these signs if they weren’t human?
II. Is there a prophecy? Were there hostile words exchanged? Was there a time when the character or the forest felt like they failed or were about to lose? Is this a false win?
III. Is there peace at the end of the scene? Or is there a lot to be desired? What is the last thing that the character remembers about the forest or sees?