I’m Red, all in, no hesitation 🙂
What color are you?
There is no better curse than to be a writer.
Why constrain yourself to one world and one life, when you can build thousands for yourself?
With imagination you can climb impossible mountains, fly dragons, and win wars.
You can die, and be reborn.
You can solve great mysteries, or create them.
Make people, and then make them hate one another or fall in love.
Send them out on perilous quests that they might, at your whim, win or lose.
You can go with them, or decide to watch them from afar.
Yes, there really is no better curse than to be a writer.
My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool;
it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.
~Ursula K. Le Guin
As a writer we are constantly seeking to explore the rich web of life, and to do so a writer needs to maintain their wonder lens. Without a wonder lens our stories would become static and repetitive, there would be no new or fresh perspectives, and no growth.
A sense of wonder is as vital to a writer as our imagination and our insights. Here are some reasons why a writer should never lose their sense of wonder.
We need to see life through other people’s perspectives
Wonder[Verb]: Desire to know something; feel curious.
Whether you write in the first or third person, and no matter how many POV’s your novel may have, it’s essential to see all the character’s perspectives. First person and close third person use perspectives to jump right behind the eyes of the character, and this would be impossible without a sense of wonder.
One of my favourite scene writing styles is where the reader is pulled in from a distance. It’s where you move from third person cinematic to close third person, and I love the way that it spirals in, closer and closer until you are sitting in the character’s skin. There’s a great write up here [3rd person point-of-view]. It’s a powerful tool when correctly used.
We need to see things as if for the first time
Wonder[Noun]: A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
If you watched the sun set for the very first time you would probably describe it with a sense of wonder. It’s not about being verbose in our descriptions; sometimes it’s just a word or a short phrase that pops the reader right into a scene.
Our stories need a protagonist, however conventional or unconventional that role may be
Wonder[Noun]: A person or thing regarded as very good, remarkable, or effective.
We breathe life into our stories through the characters we create, and we always do so with a sense of wonder. I love this definition for a protagonist. How could our character be very good? How are they remarkable? How are they effective? If you can answer all three questions you have a few great additions to your character profile.
So, if I was to choose someone unconventional, like say Dexter, then he would be:
Very good at killing people,
Remarkable at disposing of bodies.
And effective at covering his tracks.
Let’s pick someone from the less questionable side of the fence, say Frodo Baggins
Very good at doing the right thing.
Has remarkable endurance.
And is effective at disposing of rings.
Everyone has something they consider to be their special gift. Maybe it is something you acknowledge privately, or something that everyone knows. Perhaps you are a great communicator, a loving mother, possess green-fingers, or something else.
I consider my imagination to be my special gift. Not that I think I am an amazing writer, or in someway uniquely gifted in this respect. It is more that I cannot imagine what life would be like without my imagination.
Our mind is a complex creation, filled with nuances and influences, hopes and aspirations. We feed it every second of our waking day, and give it freedom to flow unfretted every night.
But is this gift forever? Can we count on the way that it works now, to always be the same?
Sometimes I wonder if my imagination will abandon me. If I will sit down to write a chapter and get it a terrifying blank. I fear this; really fear this. What if I run out of ideas? What it my enthusiasm flat-lines?
So far this has never happened, and it is always waiting for me in whatever capacity I need.
I truly hope my imagination never leaves me, because it is something that I love, and I know that if it left me, I would miss it very much.