March 2nd, 2016

Me typing?

Writing Excuses 11.9: Q&A on the Element of Wonder

Writing Excuses 11.9: Q&A on the Element of Wonder


Q&A Summary:
Q: It's pretty clear that you can create wonder through magic, superpowers, crazy sci-fi stuff (trademark), etc. but in more realistic fiction, what are some ways or examples of creating wonder?
A: True love. Every character has something different they find wonderful. Share that with the reader, looking at someone you love, a spectacular sunset, the Grand Canyon. Emotional wonder. Capture the character's reactions!
Q: What are some ways that you can incorporate a sense of wonder within a well-explained world or magic system? If it's not going to be wondrous to the characters to use this, how can you still make it wondrous to the reader?
A: Expand a moment, just linger on it. Vocabulary. Give the reader a true sense of size. Look for someone who is experiencing awe, and remind the world-weary character of it. Just because you're used to something doesn't mean it isn't wonderful! Juxtapose the reader's wonder with the characters' casualness.
Q: How do you avoid getting boring when you show a character in awe of what they're experiencing?
A: Show something wondrous, then show something else wondrous. Engage many senses.
Q: How do you give a sense of wonder about gods that are also slaves?
A: See N. K. Jemison The 100,000 Kingdoms.
Q: There are known steps to dealing with loss. Anger, denial, grief, acceptance. Are there steps in wonder? Excitement, discovery, fear, boredom, question mark, or is it self-sustaining?
A: Disbelief. Awe. Attempt at understanding. Internalization of the awe.
Q: Does wonder come more from the style of prose, the pace of the plot, or the type of setting and its description? Is whimsy connected to wonder in some way?
A: Yes. Can be, but whimsy is not necessary. Like caramel and dessert.
Q: How should you, or should you at all, foreshadow wonder?
A: Wonder does need setup, but also surprise and discovery. Contrast wonder with normal. Often there's a buildup, or escalation, of wonder.

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[Brandon] All right. It is time to break for our homework. But first, I would really like to thank Gama for being on the podcast with us.
[Gama] Well, thank you for having me. It's great.
[Brandon] Everyone should check out his books. I'd like to thank the audience here at LTUE.
[Brandon] One woman is so excited to clap, that she dropped her laptop.
[Brandon] I am going to give the homework here. One of the questions talked about… In fact, several of them took different tax on this, which is how can you have someone who is world-weary and knows a lot about the world still experience a sense of wonder? What I want you to do is try to do this contrast. Have a character who is not necessarily in awe of some aspect of the world, and find a way, in a story or scene, that you can evoke a sense of awe in the reader. Whether by doing what I talked about, harkening back to the character's first experience, or just having them blow it off, but the reader says, "Wait! This is awesome." This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.