I've been thinking a lot recently about wonder.
Wikipedia describes the emotional state as something similar to surprise and awe, when something unexpected happens that is deeply tied to joy. That is key. Wonder is a joyful, uplifting feeling.
Wonder is a powerful force. I'd argue, it's one of the biggest draws to speculative fiction in the first place. From the dragons of Game of Thrones to the galaxy-altering heroes of the Avengers. It's in everything that works. The trailer for the upcoming Star Wars film spends nearly half of its time on a single wondrous jump (with Rey using Force magic to leap over a TIE-fighter, and attack mid-air). I visited Disney's Pandora area in Animal Kingdom last year, and that entire section of the park is solely devoted to the wonder felt in the move Avatar, from the landscape to the two rides, to the background music (I have a feeling wonder will play heavily into the Star Wars Disney expansion as well). No focus on the movie's tension or characters, or even anything remotely antagonistic. Simply...wonder.
Wonder is essential. The examples are endless. I've been enjoying Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, and each of the three books so far ended in a moment of absolute wonder. I cheered out loud, causing my wife to turn and give me a look, when reading the climax of Oathbringer. Dorothy steps into Oz and her jaw drops, as does the readers. The children walk through the wardrobe into Narnia and the reader's eyes widen. Frodo gasps as he walks into Lothlorien, and the reader feels it time and again in Middle Earth. And the entire series of Harry Potter, from the moment he meets Hagrid on, is centered around that emotion more than any other. Wonder is essential in speculative fiction.
But why now? Why am I thinking about wonder nonstop? Because while we, as human beings, encounter wonder many times in both fiction and our lives, I think there is only one experience that creates this experience more profoundly than any other. It's the one wondrous moment, deeper than any other, that truly changes you as a person. It's happened to me once before, and it's about to happen again. Any day now, my wife and I will welcome a child into this world.
I cannot wait to have my world turned upside-down. To know that who I am will be reshaped daily by another soul, looking back at me, depending me, and changing me in ways I can't even begin to fathom at this point. This is a sense of awe and joy and deep, deep wonder at the miracle of creation. I may write about wonder and read about wonder and watch shows and movies filled with wonder. Yet, I also know that no words will ever do justice to the deeper, more powerful emotion I'm about to experience.
I can't wait for this wonder-filled moment to arrive.
One of my quirks is that I always remember at least one dream. I don't mean always as in once a week, I mean once a night. Some nights I'll remember up to four or five separate dreams, but it's always at least one. I know not everyone remembers their dreams, so one piece of advice is to keep a pad of paper right next to your bed. When you wake jot down a few quick notes, and then look at what you wrote a week later.
This method is wonderful for kickstarting inspiration. Dreams are a fertile ground for creativity, where are muse wanders free to dream and create whatever it will. The novel I'm currently working on, as well as the one after, are both inspired by vivid and different dreams.
So I ask, where will dreams lead you?
For four years, I have blogged actively at The Poet's Fire. My blog was originally was created to keep my family and friends in the USA updated while I studied abroad at Oxford. During my time in England I became inspired to write School of Deaths, and my career as a writer began. The blog morphed from a travel blog to a blend of inspiration, advice, and personal posts. Now, as I move into a deeper phase of my writing, I am consolidating the blog to this, my author site.
Feel free to visit The Poet's Fire at its original site for all posts before December 20, 2015.