My guest is author Kenneth Weene. He shares a bit about the importance of writers setting a mood for the reader to visualize and store a sense of season. With the right choice of words we can create a happy setting or an ominous tone in our work.
It isn’t just the weather, not even the color; it’s the whole mood. That’s what changes from season to season.
It isn’t enough to say that the colors of autumn fill the little town in which your story is set. It isn’t even sufficient to mention the cold rain carrying that first hint of the fluffy snow yet to come. Sure there’s football in the yard and the crunch of dead leaves underfoot. Then the inviting smell of burning wood carried by thin wisps of chimney smoke in the ever-crisper nights. If you are into astronomy, you can change the constellations. If you are into gastronomy, what local foods now grace the table? Having grown up in New England, for example, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a pumpkin pie or suggest that apple cider, perhaps redolent of cinnamon, is being drunk. Ah, those pesky kids have loaded the cider with raisins and sugar in the hopes of a more potent brew. The sense of autumn is everywhere.
Have you, however, noticed something else? I have slowly portended something joyous, as pleasant as a game of tag football in the yard or rolling together in the just-piled leaves. I have set the mood for something to happen, something perhaps a bit delightful. We anticipate winter and Christmas, playfulness, and kids having good-natured if naughty fun. (And yes, in case you were wondering, the mention of constellations is intended to help generate an awareness of forecasting the future.)
Consider the above paragraph if I were to change it just a bit. Here are the changes (replacing the italicized sections above).
It isn’t even sufficient to mention the cold rain carrying that first hint of the wet-footed misery yet to come.
Then the acrid smell of burning wood
in the slightly darker evenings.
Ah, those damn kids have loaded the cider with raisins in the hope of a foul-smelling but potent brew.
The new description offers a less happy fall. I have now set the mood for something perhaps a bit off, certainly unpleasant, to happen.
Setting the sense of the season to the mood of our narrative is one way we can subtly bring our readers into the story. Staying with autumn as the example, suppose the writer wants to do something sexual with the story. Then perhaps we can have deer rutting or possibly go back to the pleasure of that leaf pile but instead of crunching the leaves can tickle or comfort. On the other hand, if the story is about loneliness, do not the yearlings go off to find their own lives? Do not the birds migrate leaving behind their empty nests?
Writing the seasons into you story adds a dimension that few readers will recognize but to which almost all readers will respond.
- How do you show the season in your story?
Memoirs From The Asylum
A New Englander by upbringing and inclination, Kenneth Weene is a teacher, psychologist, and pastoral counselor by education.
Ken’s short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications including Sol Spirits, Palo Verde Pages, Vox Poetica Clutching at Straws, The Word Place, Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly, Bewildering Stories and A Word With You Press.
Ken’s novels, Widow’s Walk and Memoirs From the Asylum are published by All Things That Matter Press.To learn more about Ken’s writing visit: http://www.authorkenweene.com