February 24th, 2016

  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 11.8: Wonder As a Subgenre

Writing Excuses 11.8: Wonder As a Subgenre

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/02/21/11-08-wonder-as-a-subgenre/

Key points: Wonder as subplot. Often the first half is exploring amazing, wonderful new things, while the main plot is building for the second half. Mash up waiting for the next wonder with something else. Put awesome things in! Make a list, order them, and write. Beware taking them out of order, kung fu on a train goes before the nuclear explosion, not afterwards. Use set pieces, major scenes. Make your buildup fit. Foreshadowing is important. Sense of wonder, strangeness, newness, and reactions. Make sure the character can be awed -- sometimes a naive viewpoint character can help (eh, Watson?). But when Sherlock is surprised, you know it is amazing. Don't just do set pieces, fill in the corners with amazing candy wrappers, too. Even small moments of wonder can be very useful. Build the progression -- something new, something strange and unexpected, and then amazement. Booger-flavored candy? Consider timebombs, plot tokens that foreshadow you've got this many coming. Apprentice plot, travelogue, whenever you set up promises of wonders to come and then pay them off, it can be good. Be careful that your subgenre doesn't take over the story, though. Use little pockets, layers, flourishes of wonder, not a distraction but an accent, just an Easter egg for the reader to enjoy now and then.

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[Brandon] We actually are out of time on this. This has been a fantastic podcast. But we're actually going to give you some homework.
[Dan] All right. Your homework this week is that we want you to do this. We want you to actually take a story that you're working on, that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a sense of wonder, and apply a sense of wonder to some aspect of it. Somebody walks into a room and sees something amazing. Or walks out into the city street and sees something amazing. Write a paragraph or two where your character experiences a sense of wonder.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.