In a lot of ways, speculative fiction lends itself to evoking a sense of wonder. It’s a world we’ve never been in before (or at least a version of the world that we’ve never been in), so everything’s new and fascinating. A sense of wonder comes strongly from the setting, as well as from the magic if it’s fantasy, from the government if it’s dystopian, from how things are different in post-apoc and alternate reality, and from the vastness of the universe and the possibilities of technology in sci-fi.
But the sense of wonder doesn’t have to just come from setting. In Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction the term sense of wonder is defined as follows:
SENSE OF WONDER n. a feeling of awakening or awe triggered by an expansion of one’s awareness of what is possible
Another definition: To be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel
So anything that brings about a sense of awe, amazement, or makes you more aware of what is possible will bring about that sense of wonder that a speculative novel needs so greatly.
Like with characters. We’ve all known that person who’s just slightly crazy and spontaneous enough that they’re fascinating to be around. Or the friend that’s brilliant, and listing to them speak can open your mind to seeing the world in a whole new light. Any character that introduces the reader to new possibilities, or in ways that bring about admiration or awe, introduces your reader to wonder. Your characters can introduce a sense of wonder every bit as strong as seeing the vastness of the universe.
|photo credit: write_adam via photopin cc|
|photo credit: Auzigog via photopin cc|
When you use a variety of ways to introduce your reader to wonder— from the vast to the minuscule, from setting to characters— your story will be much more satisfying.
What's your favorite way to introduce wonder?