My A-Z Blogging theme is to cover 26 touch-me-not categories of fiction writing. These are frequently the trouble spots which can be useful components of the story if handled properly, but when rushed through, can cause all kinds of trouble. While the genre is fantasy, the tips can apply to anything, from romance to literary fiction.
While exploring the ruins of an old castle, Mordekai and his sister Monique accidentally destroy an old tower only to find themselves in a different place, or time, entirely. Then a giant goat crashes through the wall and carries Mordekai off, leaving Monique with the unpredictable Princess Mural. After a variety of adventures, they’re reunited in the courtyard of the villains castle. They take refuge in a stable along one wall and hold off the goat forces until her uncle delivers an ultimatum: surrender the throne of Stelvia or be crushed beneath the roof of the stable. He then leaves them under the guard of the giant goat and the goat soldiers while they make their choice.
Monique had known Mordekai would object. What she hadn’t expected was the tone of voice he used. He sounded more certain, more determined–more grown up and himself than she’d heard in a long time. This wasn’t the whiny voice of the man who’d followed in Annette’s shadow for years, nor the heart-broken voice of her little brother when their parents had died. Somehow, while in this wretched kingdom of Stelvia, he’d found his feet at last.
Still, she wasn’t going to give in without being certain, so she said, “I’m…sorry?”
“I’m not leaving, ‘Nique. If you want to, you can go, but…this is my battle as much as it’s Mural’s.”
The princess looked at him, and the smile she gave him was better than anything Annette had ever sent his way. She could tell, just by watching the two of them, that something had transpired. Somehow, they’d connected deeper than she’d ever thought possible. “Thank you,” the princess said at last, and Monique let out a sigh. Well I can’t just leave these two together. They’d probably die holding hands and count themselves blessed. “Okay, so what are our other options?”
Wonder. It’s what we feel when we see beauty, but also when we encounter a glorious surprise. And your story should surprise your characters. Some part of it–the other character’s responses, a unexpected kindness, or the splendor of the world–should produce amazement. Delight. A kind of happiness mixed with awe. Your characters should not be dead to wonder to where everything is “ho, hum, another part of the script…on to the next battle!”
But the wonder your characters feel isn’t something you can always “show,” because who can see the wonder that another is feeling? If I see a sunrise, and am moved by it, another can only see the light in my eyes. The way I hold my breath. The smile.
Or, if it’s first person, I can tell you about my feelings, but I can’t “show them.” And as a writer, you can only present the circumstances that lead to the wonder and amazement–describing the sunrise, the unexpected kindness, the growth in another–and then leave it up to your readers to feel what they feel. Wonder is a private moment, and as soon as you start drawing too much attention to it, it will flee.
Until the next letter,
Copyright 2017 Andrea Lundgren
Photo courtesy of gratisography