This week: The Wonder of FantasyEdited by: Dawn Embers
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Fantasy Newsletter by Dawn
"The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Part of the allure that fantasy as a genre (and science fiction as well) is the sense of wonder that it can create or show the reader. As a kid and young teen, I was drawn to the tales of female knights, elves and mage who go on great adventures. Not because of anything bad I was trying to escape, though to be honest there wasn't much of anything in general where I grew up or even many people... Still, I was drawn to the worlds fantasy stories created was they helped nurture my own imagination and sense of wonder.
What is wonder? Dictionary definition wise, the word is listed as a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. Hence the obvious connection between speculative fiction and the concept of wonder.
How do you create this sense of wonder? We will explore some recommendations made in how to create wonder from two different sources. The first is from a psychological stand point that focuses on a general building of wonder that can work for many people, including writers. Here is the link from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passion/201509/7-ways-spark-your-sense-w...
In the article, there are seven recommendations for how to possibly create wonder. Some are ones that are standard options that require making a slight change in order to create a new view. This can be either to look at your life (or something else) through the lens/eyes of someone else, change the context of an account, or even to change your own location. The very first recommendation is interesting because in the article they recommend that people seek out displays that show mastery or genius. Those displays can certainly be used as sources of inspiration and might spark creativity.
For a more specific set of recommendations, I found a web site posting from a fantasy author, David Farland. Here is the link for his post: http://davidfarland.com/2016/07/creating-a-sense-of-wonder-in-fantasy/
Farland's ideas on how to create wonder in fantasy are somewhat to be expected with the focus on large scale aspected in writing speculative fiction. The main points he makes are to create an interesting world, create a new type of magic system, or find a way to deal with characters in different, fantastic ways. The first is fairly obvious as part of what we enjoy in writing this genre comes from the world creation. The sense of wonder hopefully brought us to the table wanting to write the story and in turn maybe the worlds we create can give that joy back to the reader that finds the story. As for the characters, again it makes sense as that is part of what can help create the story. What happens to the characters, how they handle the conflicts and where everything reaches a sort of resolution is the basis of the process.
This is just my ramble of a thought on the concept of wonder. Now, I leave it more to you. Go out and create some wonder. Look to the stars and keep dreaming. And listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about dreaming and the stars if you have the time. It might give some inspiration for writing or for having a different sense of wonder in your own life.
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What element of wonder have you found within the world of fantasy?
Last month, I discussed the quarantine, government control and inspiration for stories. Here are some comments sent in from that topic:
Comment by Write 2 Publish 2020
Think Rear Window. When you’re under quarantine. What if you’re in an apartment and 1) write about a spirit that visits. 2) you hear noises or a conversation that could mean a murder 3) you over hear a plan? How can you report it if you’re under quarantine? What if the people are using it to commit a crime? Just saying
Comment by Paul
No. The current level of anxiety I live with driven by fear (I’m 78 with medical problems that are high-risk) is plenty for me. I do not need to add to it by imagining it to be any worse. That doesn’t mean I don’t write dark material, it just has nothing to do with the current problems.
A question for the dystopian novel you mention is, why do the power hungry seem to come away with more from social disasters and the people lose even more freedoms? I think it’s because the powerful are too stupid to recognize the real danger (they could die too) and charge out and grab whatever they can, the less powerful are more reticent because they recognize that danger. I used the word “Stupid” above because I understand ignorance, we all are that in some area, but those that work at staying ignorant and not wanting to learn new things that might conflict with what they want to believe, are stupid.
Comment by ForeverDreamer
One of my favorite dystopian novels is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. It deals with a society where crime is out of control. The government uses conditioning techniques based on B.F. Skinner's theories.
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