Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Playing With Mood

"Show, don't tell," is great for scenes, less so for mood.

When I say "mood," I don't mean "emotion," for which "show" works wonderfully well for drawing the reader into what a character is feeling.

I'm referring to something subtle and somewhat intangible, a sense the reader discerns, that something wonderful or not is about to happen.

How do I create it? I play with a combination of techniques.

I show, I tell.

I fiddle with expressing the tone with similes and metaphors to the extent of thickly spreading cheese over the prose.

I move synonyms around like chess pieces.

I mold and squeeze together all of the above, like a baker kneads bread.

In the midst of this muck, the aura I wish to convey emerges.

When I can define this undefinable, I whip out the shears and start pruning and cutting every piece that doesn't contribute to the atmosphere.

First drafts, you see, aren't always straightforward. Sometimes they're a jumbled, disorganized mess of impressions. It's the author's job to make order from this chaos.

That's called writing.

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