Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Writing 101: How to Set a Mood

Ever read a book that made you feel happy? Hopeful? Scared? Some authors know how to play with your emotions, and it's a skill that can be learned. Find out how to set a mood with your writing, and start jerking on those heartstrings.

Evocative Words

You can say that hamburger looks tasty, or you can say it looks mouth-watering. Which description made you feel the hungriest? Certain words and phrases evoke certain emotions, and it's the author's job to figure out which ones to use to create the right emotion in the reader. 

Was Jessica upset or was she in despair? The mood created by each word is very different, though either might be appropriate to describe the mood of the character. When you're writing, it's important to pay attention to the way certain words and phrases make you feel -- because if you feel it, the reader will probably feel that also. Do you want them laughing or crying? Groaning or gasping? Feeling hopeful...or hopeless? The words you choose do all of that, so you have to choose well.

Setting the Pace

The words you choose are of course the most important element in any book, but there are other ways to set a certain mood. Do you want the reader to feel the boredom of a long day, the tedium of a strenuous task? Write longer, thicker paragraphs with more details to slow down the pace of the book and create a mood of inactivity. Want to make the reader feel a little more rushed, frantic? Write shorter, choppier sentences in quick, small paragraphs. Make details come hard and fast when you're creating a chaotic mood, describe them slowly when you're creating a moment you want the reader to live in for a while. 

Setting a mood is all about pacing, proper word choice and of course, the action that's taking place. Focus on mood when you're writing your scenes, and your writing will come across a lot more strongly. Readers will feel it more, and they'll connect with it more easily as a result.

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