It’s why I read.
I spent the better part of my childhood and early teens reading speculative fiction of one sort or another. I certainly loved all the action sequences and heroics. But above all, I loved the mystery and discovery I felt in seeing a new world for the first time.
I first remember feeling the sense of wonder when I was a little kid watching the Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. There was something about that weird claymation landscape. Something haunting about the little trees and the snowy hills.
Later on I had that same sense of wonder when I watch the Empire Strikes Back. In particular the attack on the planet Hoth at the beginning blew my mind.
One of my chores when I was a kid was to feed the dogs. They lived outside in a chain link pen. (Don’t worry they had a little house to go into when it was super cold.) And as I walked out there during the winter nights to get their food bowls, I imagined that I was I Luke Skywalker fighting the snow monster or an AT-AT Walker.
In some ways those strange movie landscapes were more real to me than the physical world. I believe that’s typical of readers. It certainly is of writers
As a writer the first thing I wanted to achieve was that sense of wonder. When Danny and his friends go into Undermountain, I want readers to feel as if they are there. I want them to feel the awe of the city, the thrill of discovery, and to wonder at the mystery of how such a magnificent place could remain hidden so long.
So while I love great characters, a nice romance, amazing action, huge set pieces, and twisty plots, what I crave the most is a sense of wonder.
What makes you feel it?
BTW. There are easter eggs in Undermountain that refer to both Rudolph and Empire!