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Finding Inspiration From Nature

The more you discover about the world growing in your own back garden, the more you’ll realize that there is real magic there and that no writer has an imagination more wild and impressive than nature. That’s why it can ignite the weirdest and most wonderful stories in your head.

Take a pen and paper and go outside.
M G Leonard, Author of Beetle Boy

Take a pen and paper and go outside. Find a creature to describe, like a worm or a woodlouse, a slug or a snail. Note down things about it. Don’t worry about sentences. Does it have a shell? An exoskeleton? How does it move? Does it fly? What colour is it? Scribble everything you notice down. Once you’ve splurged notes onto paper, go indoors and google your creature. Find out some facts about it. Write them down. Where does it live? What is its predator? What does it like to eat?

Then, find pictures of your creature. Choose your favourite. Stare at it. Is it a boy or a girl? Give it a name. That’s a character in your story.

Now you should have lots of wonderful information to spark ideas in your head, but, before you write one sentence, have a think about what’s going to happen in your story. What’s happening at the start? What disrupts this scene? Does a predator come along? Is there a fight? Or an escape? Or a disguise? Or a trick? And how do you want your story to end? Is it a happy ending? Or does someone get eaten? Nature is harsh and dramatic. Creatures die, but creatures also escape.

Now you are ready to write, and if you get stuck, you’ve got lots of wonderful notes to help you.

Writing stories inspired by nature is my favourite thing, because you learn things as you write. When I was writing Beetle Boy, I learned that ladybirds are beetles that aren’t always red with black spots, they can be orange, black or yellow, and some are cannibals. And you know that weird yellow stuff that they leave on your hand sometimes? That’s not wee, it’s foul tasting blood that they squeeze out of their knees, ‘cause they’re scared you are going to eat them!

M. G. Leonard is a writer of books, plays and screenplays

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