Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab
Mahtab Narsimhan joins us this year for a dozen episodes on worldbuilding, and this week we’re talking about geography and biomes. These pieces of our settings can be central to the stories we tell, but they can also be backdrops, and the story purposes they serve may determine which tools we use to describe them.
Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 18:47 — 13.0MB)
Describe a landscape using four senses that are not sight
Gama Ray Martinez joins us at LTUE to field questions on the Element of Wonder, which were submitted by members of our audience. Here are the questions:
- How do you create wonder in non-genre stories, where there are no super-powers, spaceships, or spellcasters?
- How do you avoid making the wonder stale?
- Are there stages of wonder, similar to the stages of grief?
- Does wonder come from the style of the prose, the pacing, or from other things?
- How would you foreshadow wonder?
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:48 — 12.3MB)
Have a world-weary character, one who is not in awe, and find ways to help the reader experience wonder despite being in the POV of a character who is not.
Shadowguard, by Gama Ray Martinez, narrated by Adam Verner
If the Element of Wonder is the driving force behind “sense of wonder” science fiction and fantasy, then that same element can be used to give wondrous flavor to stories whose driving force lies among the other elemental genres. We talk about how to use wonder at smaller scales, how to create it with context, and how you might use it in support of the other themes of your story.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 18:32 — 12.8MB)
Take a story you’re working on, a story in which Elemental Wonder isn’t a driving force, and add that wonder to some aspect of it.
We’ve introduced the concept of Elemental Genre already. It’s time to start digging in to the elements themselves, beginning with the Element of Wonder. We started with this one because “sense of wonder” is a term that gets used to describe what makes some science fiction stories work.
In this episode we expand upon the word “wonder” a bit, making the shorthand of “elemental wonder” more useful, not to mention more descriptive. We then go on to detail some methods writers might use to evoke wonder, leveraging that element for the greatest effect in their work.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 18:15 — 12.6MB)
Homework! Apply a sense of wonder to something small and ordinary. Describe it using those cool point-of-view tools that evoke wonder in the reader.