Writers, what brings you feelings of awe?

“The heart of it all is mystery, and science is at best only the peripheral trappings to that mystery–a ragged barbed-wire fence through which mystery travels, back and forth, unencumbered by anything so frail as man’s knowledge.” – ― Rick Bass, The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness

Montana thunderstorm - photo by chrisdat on Flickr
Montana thunderstorm – photo by chrisdat on Flickr

We often use the phrase awe-inspiring to describe sunsets, powerful storms, scenic mountain vistas, our favorite music, heroes and heroines and all manner of other things that are larger and more wondrous and more powerful than ourselves.

Before we can tell memorable stories, we need to discover what in our lives is awe-inspiring and then hold that close in our hearts and celebrate it and allow it to flavor our writing. When we do this, we link up to the readers’ on-going search for the kinds of plots and themes and characters that add magic and wonder to their lives.

Larger than life characters are part of the mix. So, too, exotic locations, the dangers of wind and sea and storms, tranquility and peace so dear one can almost touch their source, memorable choices that place characters at risk, and love in many forms.

If you, as a writer, feel awe as you think about the subject matter, location, plots, themes and characters of a prospective story, you have a better chance of connecting with readers than you would if everything about the project seemed rather flat and monotonal.

Your story need not be something over the top like Lord of the Rings, The Da Vinci Code, Raiders of the Lost Ark or Game of Thrones to inspire awe as you write it and as readers discover it. Quiet moments can also inspire awe; so can low-key plots. The awe comes from you and on how you react to the world.

If mountains inspire you, then you will write of mountains. If children inspire you, they will find their way into your stories. If something attracts and holds your attention and “asks you” to contemplate its beauty, mystery and power, then you will end up the best kind of nourishment for writers.


I find awe and wonder in mountains. I cannot help but write about them. You will find mountains in The Sun Singer, Sarabande and The Seeker and, I hope, a dash of awe. They also contain magic, but you expect that because they are contemporary fantasies!

A Glacier Park Novel
A Glacier Park Novel

4 thoughts on “Writers, what brings you feelings of awe?

  1. Smoky Zeidel

    Mountains. The sea. The desert. Bears. Coyotes. Mule deer. Gopher snakes. Rattlesnakes. slime molds. Good friends. A loving husband. A small dog. A diabetic cat. Need I go on?

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