07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Setting the mood in writing

What we see is profoundly influenced by what we feel. The same should be true for our characters. Filtering a scene through a character's feelings can profoundly influence what the reader "sees."
In the below ‘snippet,’ I take an ordinary setting and filter it through Layla’s eyes.
Layla opened the door and stepped inside. Sunlight drifted through the lace curtains and reflected on the shiny wood floors.  A burgundy couch sat to her left with gold crocheted blanket across the back. A coloring book and box of crayons sat neatly on the polished end table.
The faint odor of a spicy aftershave drifted toward her.  She opened her mouth to scream but it froze in her throat making it impossible to breath.  This couldn’t be happening. Tears burned a path down her cheeks. She tried to step out of the room – out of the nightmare. A gust of wind pushed into her deeper into the room and slammed the door shut.
The room seems ‘cozy’ nothing from the description would prompt Layla’s response so the reader knows that Layla is seeing the room differently. Something about it triggers fear.
The reader will continue to read to see what about the room makes Layla so scared.
Thanks for stopping by. See you next month.


Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for showing how important the setting can be. I tend to ignore setting if it is longer than a sentence or two when I'm reading. But setting can be critical to the mood of a scene as you've shown.

Diana McCollum said...

Great blog post! Setting is an essential ingredient of scene structure.