Some of the best characters in stories aren’t human or even alive. One of the most important characters in Earnest Hemmingway’s The Old Man And The Sea was the ocean itself in all its moods and glory and simply its overwhelming presence.
I think I understand how he felt writing about the sea because I suspect I feel something similar about the forest in my current series, Wilderness Women. The forest is as much a character as the people who walk its paths and live beneath its trees.
Like all good characters, sometimes the forest is benign. A friend. Other times, though, it’s fury is unleashed and the characters are revealed for what they truly are, mere mortals fighting to stay alive in the vastness of the wilderness.
Such is the case with my work in progress, The Snow Queen, in which my main characters, Laurie and Jase, must brave the forest in the dead of winter because if they stay where they are, they may not survive.
But they also may not survive if they leave. The forest may be their friend as they seek shelter and safety. Or their foe. Or it may simply be the forest, immutable and unknowable and uncaring whether they live or die.
Of course they survive or there wouldn’t be a story. But the story doesn’t end with their mere survival. It continues on in the world of people as they navigate the intricacies of relationships that are every bit as difficult and scary as the paths of the forest in winter.