Portraying Mood With Your Setting

Can you portray a mood in your setting?  You bet!  Take a look at this picture.  It is intriguing to me because it is built in a rough, old fashioned way.  The structure is very small and the little walkway and handmade bench are made with such care.  What is this little house used for?  Is it someone’s home or is it a workshop of some sort?  Is it the world’s worst mother-in-law suite?  This will be a short visit.

To set up a scene with this picture follow these steps:

1.  Decide what this house is used for-be creative.  Storing lawn equipment is not creative.

2.  Define a mood that surrounds this structure.  Is it a happy place?  Is it an ominous place?  Does it raise curiosity in your story?

3.  Use the elements around the house to create your story.  Who sits on that bench?  Why is the little house right next to the woods?  What’s up with the dirt yard?  Who put in the walkway?

4.  Finally create the character that uses this little house and let your mood established in #2 reflect in this person.

5.  Do this exercise one more time and switch your mood and character to something opposite of what you wrote about the first time.

Photo used with permission from MorgueFile

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