I'm writing my first novel which is set in an alternate universe, a place which is set on Earth but in a different ecosystem where story can get affected by nature and might take the reader to locations that are weird at its best.

So, how can I integrate a world where the secondary threat is the world itself, but not overshadowing the main story and a wide array of unique characters.

  • 2
    There are lots of sci fi and fantasy stories just like that. You probably need to do some reading to get a feel for how other authors are doing it. Pick recent books so when you are ready to publish, they can be comparative titles ('comps')
    – DWKraus
    Apr 8, 2021 at 20:12
  • 1
    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by another ecosystem, though, since Earth has numerous ecosystems. I assume you mean many very different ecosystems.
    – DWKraus
    Apr 8, 2021 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


You characterize the ecosystems just like you would with any character, with exception that this character doesn't speak.

"Show don't tell" is key here. Show animals living in this environment, and show in what ways the environment is dangerous to them. Characterize cliffs, beaches, organizations, and show the threats that these face. That way, when characters are wandering through these environments, these threats are always at the back of the mind of the reader.


The best way to tell a story if you have a unique setting is to tell a story that can only really be told in that setting, and plays to that setting's strengths. Because the setting cannot be disentangled from the story, it forces the reader to pay attention to the setting as part of the narrative. A good example of this is Jurassic Park. Because it's basically a monster movie in book/movie format, it forces the reader to pay attention to dinosaur biology in order to understand why the protagonists are under threat and how they are a threat. By contrast, if the plot focused on, say, the ethics of cloning in general (Fallen Kingdom went a little in this direction), the dinosaurs would be a set piece and no one would care about them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.