Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

F is for Forest.

The Fur Family
F stands for FOREST in the A to Z Challenge. The forest holds a sweet spot in fiction. It's where Winnie the Pooh and Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the Fur Family all live. It's where Hansel and Gretel are lured to the witch's house, and where the seven dwarves work. Forests are beautiful, mystical, healing, yet they can also be frightening places where wolves hunt, coyotes raid, black bears prowl and vampire bats sleep hanging
from trees. If you look hard enough, you can find magical eggs in the crooks of tree branches, and elves drinking dewdrops from snowdrop cups. You might even find the entrance to a secret underground vault if you push aside twisted roots. Or the hole in the tree trunk that Alice fell into to find Wonderland.
Bilbo Baggins

Hansel and Gretel
Go, then, authors, into the forest. Smell the scent of turpentine pine and wet moss, feel the crunch of twigs underfoot, witness paisley patterns of light shifting over leaf cover, and the deeper shadows of troubled spirits that haunt the toadstools and rotten parts of fallen wood. Listen to the chatter of chipmunks and the crack of broken nuts. Wander down to the stream and take a place there. Close your eyes and dream.
What is your forest dream? Which characters do you see there?


  1. The forest is my most favourite place. I absolutely love walking in the forest. But I am absolutely terrified of wolves! So I'm always a little frightened when I'm there!

    Thank you for your comment, I'm now following your blog (I can't believe I wasn't before?) This was a great post, although a little scary with the wolf picture!

    Nikki – inspire nordic

  2. I love forests. They so full of life but so still and quite at the same time. My forest dream is finding a long path that takes you deeper into the forest, telling you that that is the right way to go. I've been lost in forests frequently in dreams and in real life and, although it's not lovely being lost, there's a strange sense of magic and mystery that surrounds trees and the animals within. They are great places to set a novel.

  3. You know, I don't usually like writer's blogs... but I really enjoyed looking through your posts...!
    Stopping by from the A to Z challenge,
    Flower- Happy Blogging!

  4. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lacey! Mx, I've been lost in a forest for real, which is kind of terrifying. Nikki, yes, I agree with the wolf fear factor. In our country place we have coyotes and black bear, which freak me out. I hear them howling at night. Still, after all is sadi and done, the forest is totally beautiful.

  5. My MG novel takes place in a forest! Love it!

  6. So true! In fact I'm reading The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa right now and the forest (Wyldwood) is almost a character in itself.

    And as you know, I get alot of my inspiration from all things nature - forests included.

    Thanks for a GREAT post!

  7. Nice comments and write up about forests. I love forests, too. Unfortunately, wolves have gotten a bad rap over the centuries. They are fabulously beautiful creatures. I was blessed to encounter one in Arizona (of all places). We just watched each other for a long while until he ambled off.

    I saw a wonderful video about wolves in a class I took at Penn State long ago. I just showed it to my own class a couple of weeks ago and they loved it. It's called "Death of a Legend." It's a touching movie about wolves and it changed my way of thinking. The link is . . .

    Of since it's about wolves in the wild there is some animal in the wild type stuff here and there. But! Every time I've seen the movie I get choked up and deeply touched and fall in love with wolves all over again. All the best and enjoy those animals and angels. Rock 'n' Roll!!!

  8. your posts have reminded me how much as a child i loved the woods beside my house--they are no longer there

  9. Michelle, I've heard a lot of good things about the Iron Knight. Larry, thanks for reminding us that wolves need some respect. Kelly, can't wait to read your upcoming novel. Lynn, yes, we had a pretty little woods behind our house when I was a kid, and it was truly awful when bulldozers came in and destroyed it to build duplexes.

  10. Forests are a magical place, indeed! They can be mystical and enchanting or dark and menacing.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  11. forest in the day - magical fairytale wonderland
    forest at night - HORROR FILM

  12. Ooooh, I liked this. I was a huge Enid Blyton fan as a child (British author) who wrote about the Enchanted Forest. When my two sons were little, I used to make up stories about the place, carrying on where Ms. Blyton left off. Several of my blogs allude to the Enchanted Forest. Love the Hobbit and all stories along those lines. I got all snuggly seeing your pictures of woodland creatures.

  13. Forests have always seemed magical to me for all the reasons you've listed above. My son and I always check trees for fairy holes. I have always been fascinated by the small house in the clearing of an enchanted forest.

  14. I love your banner images. Where do they come from?

    I love the woods. I spend a ton of time hiking a local forested area. Even though I often take the same route, it is never the same twice.

    I find once you get to know the woods, they aren't so scary, even at night. I am much more comfortable there than in some urban environments.

    Off to check out your Gustave Dore post!

    A-Z @ Elizabeth Twist

  15. First of all, I love this site.

    My forest fantasy. I tell of it often. My dog Omar Blue spends part of his time with his fierce pack of followers, in the forest they've selected and named K-9 Town, USA. Devoted to each other, there is nothing more important than the well being of each of them. White wolf Bennie Ba is the only wolf in Omar's pack and there are no regrets about letting him in.

    There is a mystique surrounding the town and its inhabitants, especially Omar Blue. Sometimes I visit K-9 Town, USA. If you'd like to come with me, go to

  16. Wonderful post! This might be my favorite of your "A to Z" posts so far.

    New follower here. I’m enjoying reading my fellow “A to Z”ers. I look forward to visiting again.


  17. Hey thanks for the comment. Your post is definitely inspiring. I've found whenever I write any fictional story, I have to have a forest somewhere.

  18. When I think of a forest, birds, snakes, butterflies come to mind, along with monkeys and deer and Tarzan. Don't ask why I thought of him. Who knows?

  19. Elizabeth, my banner images are a few of my own illustrations for my YA thriller, Fireseed One. Beverley, your post made me laugh. Tarzan, indeed. O Warfield, I love your Omar Blue fantasy. You should write that as a real story. Cyberpunk dog pack or whatever. And new followers, thanks!
    Okay, I'm off to write my G post.

  20. I love forests. When I was little, I used to imagine all kinds of magical things roamed within. Who am I kidding, I still do ;)

  21. I do indeed love the forests. I roamed them with my two dogs as an adolescent. Peace and silence in total solitude. You can stand in a spot that perhaps no one has stood in before. Dark and deep dappled with light and full of hidden life. I love a forest. Thanks for a great post!