A guest blog post by Jacqui Johnson
Teacher, writer, friend
Building on a previous Writers Group ‘Setting that creates atmosphere’, this month I wanted to focus on developing the use of ‘word choices to affect mood’. Each time we get together, I am so thankful and amazed at being involved in a group which has such talented writers who can spin a few words into such eloquent phrases. I know this is an area I need to build, thus becoming my focus topic for the month’s meeting.
Initially, we read Cris Freese’s article, Use word choices to set the mood. It gives an example of how to use one setting, and create three different moods through word choices.
Building on this idea were three other articles by fiction editor Beth Hill. Her article, Zeroing in on words, gives practical advice to build on sample sentences for specific purposes. Keep readers close to the action and emotion article draws on the ideas on personal connection between readers and your text. Whilst, Tone, Mood & Style – the feel of fiction, goes into great detail about tone, mood and style mixing practical advice and examples you can use to sharpen you craft.
As a writing activity to build on what we had read, we brainstormed several settings and were to choose one to create two different pieces of writing. Our focus was on keeping the setting consistent whilst changing the tone, style, and mood through our word choices. Below are the drafted pieces we each created.
Ester’s piece based on ‘the beach at dawn’:
Megan’s piece based on ‘a wooden cabin near a mountain-top lake’:
Thriller: The dark cabin crouched in the shadows of the nearby pine forest. A chill wind howled through the pines, sounding like a hoard of ghosts. Stacey’s heart pounded. Cold penetrated her thin jumper making goose bumps rise on her arms. Her hair prickled up the back of her neck. The slamming of the back door decided her.
Stacey burst out of the front door making it jump on its hinges. She raced down to the shore where ice gleamed like teeth at the edge. She wondered if she should chance the freezing water. The still black water beckoned, and she said yes.
Fantasy: The dragon, Narli, burst out of the sparkling blue water of the mountain lake. Spiralling ever higher, Narli danced on the warm thermals, racing the eagles to greater heights. Tiring of the game, he finally flopped himself onto a warm ledge with a broad grin, and smiled down at the cabin bathed in sunlight below.
My piece based on ‘a kid’s park at night’:
Once again, all our pieces take on a slightly different feel based on the types of writer’s we are, experiences, passions, and motivations from our underlying ‘writer’s voice’.
Have a go at these and let us know how you go. It's fun!
Growing and sharing as part of a writers group is an inspiration and a good challenge. I encourage everyone with a passion for creating stories to go outside your comfort zone. You don’t need to be a ‘closet author.’ Develop your craft by participating in a group where you can cultivate your love of creating literature.
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