I can’t be the only one that feels it. That chill down your spine when something awesome in a book or movie happens. Heck, video games can do it, too! That surge of emotion that is almost overwhelming if it hits you the right way. That moment, in any medium, when you realize something is much bigger or different than you had expected. Sometimes these moments come in the form of a plot twist, but it doesn’t have to be. In some cases, it’s simply the execution of the scene or a simple angle in which a scene is shot. Here are a few good examples (from several different genres):
The slow pan at the beginning of Wall-E that shows the enormous towers of garbage that have been meticulously organized, providing context at just how long this has been going on. That reveal in Fullmetal Alchemist when you realize what the characters are truly up against. The moment in Star Wars when you see Darth Vader’s flag ship and see how tiny the star destroyers are compared to it, and realize how terrifying a force the Empire really is. That sense of awe the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King cinematic trailer inspires, both because of the tragedy of the context and the vast might Arthas wields. When Ancalagon, the largest and most powerful dragon that ever lived in the world of Middle-earth, was defeated, and his fall destroyed an entire mountain range.
At its basest form, scenes and moments like these are my true passion. I want somebody to experience something I made, and feel that surge of emotion, be it one of terror, shock, sadness, elation, doesn’t matter. My ultimate goal, as a creator, is to provoke that emotion in as many people as possible.
Focusing this objective towards writing epic fantasy, I have so many of these scenes in my head that I hope will one day translate onto the page. A single man halting a wall of arrows, then hurling them back towards an oncoming army. A floating city, thought to be untouchable, falling from the sky and crashing into the landscape below. A person, whose name is synonymous with death itself, strolling through the city streets, searching for the main character. Three people mortals would consider gods, standing in opposition of a being that dwarfs their immense power.
I could go on, but these descriptions may mean nothing to you. These are each fully mapped out scenes begging to be written. Unfortunately, a scene with epic scope such as these require context. If I write a short story about an impervious city being torn down, it’s a bit difficult to sell the idea that it’s an “impervious city”. My universe is literally built upon scenes like this, whether I realized it at the time or not. In fact, this universe was birthed from what I intend to be a big reveal (though if you know me or do any sort of research on my website you probably know what that reveal is).
I don’t know if I will ever tell a story that brings a chill down somebody’s spine. It’s one thing to describe an epic scene, but it’s another thing entirely to experience that scene after having been given context as to how big a deal that moment really is.