Creating atmosphere in a work of fiction can be incredibly tricky, but there are things you that you can do to increase your chances of doing it successfully.
For instance, when you are describing the setting from a character’s point of view, you can utilise their five senses. In real life, we experience our surroundings through taste, touch, sight, sound and smell. In doing so, we can acquire a great deal of information about the world around us, and fictional characters experience things the same way.
Smell, in particular, is great for stirring up memories. After all, it is a well-known fact that the sense of smell is directly linked to the memory centres of the brain. You could use this to utilise flashbacks in order to convey relevant backstory.
Another way of creating atmosphere is to use weather. Bad weather, such as thunderstorms and rain, for example, is an excellent way to add to the tension of a ghost story, whereas, a bright sunny day with bright, blue skies can emphasise the happiness of a love story, or a lighthearted children’s story. There are lots of different combinations of weather that you can experiment with to see how the mood would change within a scene.
Weather can also help to accentuate the emotional state of your character. Once again, thunderstorms and rain, dark skies and similar types of weather, could help to set the mood for a scene involving a character who is feeling depressed, scared or angry etcetera, while sunshine can help to set the mood of a scene involving happy or cheerful characters.
Just as weather can help you to add atmosphere to your work, so can the season, or seasons in which you set your story. For example, winter is always a good setting for a ghost story. Your characters may be stuck with no way out due to getting snowed in somewhere which would add to the tension because they can not just run away.
The way your characters communicate can affect the atmosphere too. Whispers are a nice way of increasing tension and giving an impression of fear and anxiety. In the same way, screaming and shouting can be used to express anger and add stress and tension.
Pace can also add to atmosphere. Short, sharp sentences can help to move the story along more quickly, whereas longer, drawn-out sentences and even paragraphs can help to slow things down.
These are just a few of the many ways in which atmosphere can be created within your story, but really its all about experimenting and finding what works for you. You may even find your own ways of creating atmosphere or mood.
I think I’ve gone on for long enough and I hope you can make sense of this.
As always, thank you for reading my words if you have. I appreciate you spending your valuable time here.
Until next time,