Music, candles, food, aromas. All examples of how to establish atmosphere.
According to Cambridge Dictionaries Online, one of the definitions of atmosphere is: the character, feeling, or mood of a place or situation.
Atmosphere is a huge part of writing. And as a writer I don’t want to TELL readers what the mood is. Instead I want to SHOW them. So many things can affect atmosphere in a story. The setting can convey mood. The characters themselves establish mood, whether through their expressions, tone, or word choice. The actions of a character set mood as well. A strength of a hand against a cheek can convey mood – a light caress versus a slap.
Writers want to convey mood in subtle ways. Drawing a picture for the reader so that they can become part of the story.
But writers are affected themselves by atmosphere. Lately I have been having trouble writing at home. I don’t know if I am starting to get cabin fever (as are most of us in the colder US states), or what my issue has been with sitting my butt in a chair and writing. After analyzing it a bit, I thought maybe a change of venue would be in order. Give myself a new atmosphere. So where can an author go to recharge their batteries? Well, a library, of course!
How can I not want to write surrounded by books? The very books that pulled me into the world of imagination in the first place? So this past weekend I spent time on Saturday and Sunday at the library, writing. And you know what?
I was able to write two scenes which amounted to 3000 words. Not too shabby. Maybe it was imagination through osmosis? Maybe it was getting out of the house and breathing new air. Maybe it was avoiding the things at home that distract me. Whatever the reason, it worked and I will be heading back there soon.
Either way, it’s all about atmosphere.