Saturday, December 27, 2008

Create Mood with Setting

If you write character driven fiction, it's easy to overlook setting details that add to your character's mood. Today's prompt will practice pulling details from the world around you and using them to set the mood. For example, yesterday I noticed a bird:

Charcoal clouds blanketed the sky where it met with the pale yellow horizon. The silhouette of a single bird flapped steadily toward the light. Does it feel as alone as I do?

When I saw the bird, I didn't feel alone. I thought the bird might feel alone. No flock. It did make a great story starter. This opening creates a lonely, perhaps dark feel but offers hope (the light).

Today's Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

Practice looking at the world around you. Look for small details and pull them into a sentence or two to create mood in the setting. Save your story starters to use when you need a jump start for a new story.

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Pumping Your Muse (Creative writing book)
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Malki said...

I started your Pumping your Muse exercise about 1 sentence summaries a week ago now. This sentence was one of the first I wrote. It had to do with the light and the shadows as they crept through a lattice covered with grapevines. I spent almost two hours on the first sentence, then incorporated the next two as a beginning to a short story and adding a character.

- The bright light pierced through the holes of the lattice as the withered vines angrily gripped the slats, instinctively preparing themselves for the harsh winter that inevitably lay ahead. Through years of experience, they had learned to twist, intertwine, and clutch tightly to themselves, and to this trusted wood, in order to endure the many lifeless months before spring. Here they stood undaunted, waiting for the slow ticks of the clock to pass, longing for their freedom, not unlike me.

Donna Sundblad said...

Great start Malki,

I introduced the "One Sentence Rule" in my book Pumping Your Muse. This exercise gives birth to all kinds of ideas to develop into short stories and even novels. Practicing how to show something in few words pays off!

Thanks so much for sharing the imagery of the withered vines. I was there! Do you have plans to continue this scene?


Malki said...

Thanks for sharing your response with me. I do actually plan on continuing this and was gonna do some research on vineyards and stuff today like it says in your book the first chapter. I think I actually have a decent plot and can make this into an incredible short story.
However I was sides tracked this morning. I'm still running through your book and those first couple of exercises. My research today had to do with the difference between fog, mist and haze. I learned quite a bit I honestly didn't know before and researched this because of the mist that I saw out my door this morning before sunrise. Here's the sentences. I thought the coolest information was that fog causes shadows to become 3 dimensional.

- The bluish mist had shrouded the landscape that terrible morning. Glancing out from behind the protection of the screen door, Becky shuddered at the omniscient view that stared menacingly back at her. The mist had given an eerie glow to the security light that dimly lit the lawn. The reflection of the light through the water droplets caused the beam to mark the ground just shy of the first step that led to her porch. To Becky this was a sign; a warning of the impending doom that would strike her by simply cracking the front door.

Donna Sundblad said...

Wow, you are on a role. It amazes me what research does to inspire a story. I love the way you scene creates a sense of foreboding.

I appreciate you're sharing what you're learning, and I agree. You have the makings of a really good story here!


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