Creating an atmosphere that reflects and adds emotional layers to your fiction is important.
The reason? Readers of fiction want to be drawn into the fictive dream. They want to imagine world you’ve created and lose themselves inside it as they read.
When you create the atmosphere(mood) uniquely for each scene, it awakens an emotional response.
This is what I’ve been working on as I’ve been tweaking the scenes in my current romance novel. It really does make a huge difference to the feeling readers get as they read each scene.
If you’re curious about ways that you can create atmosphere – mood – in your fiction, read on…
A Few Ways to Create Atmosphere in Your Fiction
Readers want to feel as if they are right there in the moment – with your characters – experiencing and living the story with them.
I thought I’d share below what I’ve been learning about creating atmosphere and mood in fiction.
The Five Senses
Using the senses of smell, taste, touch, sight and sound are used to bring a scene to life. Using the senses as you describe your story can really bring the stories tone and mood to life. For example, in the romance I’m writing at the moment, I write about the distant caws and wailing cries of Seagulls as my main character Charlotte is on the yacht and meets Eli for the first time. It’s a type of mirror moment of what’s happening in her internal character arc: she’s crying over memories of the baby she was forced to give away. It seems to create more of a resonance and a turbulent mood/atmosphere that I was going for.
I love using weather to bring about specific moods in a story. For example, a real sunny day makes us feel warmth, joy and expectation of some sort of happiness waiting in the wings. Scenes of the engagement’ or ‘Weddings’ are wonderful moments for this. If you are writing a mystery or suspense, you might instead choose to use rain, thunder, lightening, wind, etc., to change the mood of the story and build up the tension.
Setting helps to create the mood of your story, but isn’t the same as atmosphere. Although setting is a huge part of creating the mood and tone of a story. For example, in my romance series, the setting of the island has two very different types of settings: 1)the mysterious caves(places where they smuggle moonshine) which gives a feeling of hiding, abandonment, loneliness, eeriness and more. 2)but the sandy beaches and the wide open spaces up on the hills and the mulberry trees, evokes a feeling of happiness, dreams, child-like fun, romance and more.
It’s important to choose a setting which suits the genre of story you’re writing. I’ve discovered as I’ve read other novels in a similar genre that I’m writing, that has really helped me to understand how to create/write settings and by extension the right mood that draws readers into the story.
The time or year or the time of month or the time of day can make a big difference to which emotions you bring out in your story. For example, for a story set in winter can be more dreary: dark clouds that pack the sky and creates a vast space of cold cement above your head. If your story is set at night, it darkens your story. There can be an extra sense of threat and uncertainty in a story that takes place at night or in the wee hours.
I hope these ideas help you as you write your fiction.
These are details that I’m learning and tweaking in my stories too. I’m learning how to use fresh, sensory images and to really notice details as I write… it’s a big learning curve, but one I’m enjoying 😉
I hope you have fun trying new ways to create atmosphere as you write.
What are some ways that you create atmosphere in your fiction? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear your ideas… we can learn from each other 😉