How to Nail the Mood of Your Scene in 3 Steps

I promised this post in my last one, so make sure you check that one out here!


Have you ever written a scene and been frustrated that it just doesn’t seem to convey the feeling that you want?

Same.

I think we’ve all been there before. But, over the years, I’ve found 3 sure-fire ways to help nail that mood that you want to convey in a scene. 😉

1. Watch which Words You Use

Words have untold power. Changing just one could change your entire scene. I kid you not.

Source

As writers, we understand the value of words. But, at the same time, I feel like we can also undervalue how much of a difference they can make.

You can use any old words in a scene. But if you want to convey a certain mood, then you need to carefully watch which ones you pick out. They should be tailored to the mood you want to convey.

For example:

  • If you’re writing a happy scene, then use happy words, like sunny, beam, or grin.
  • If you’re writing a sad scene, use words like sob, dark, or heart.
  • If you’re writing a painful scene, use sharper words, like scrape, gasp, or grit.

If you’re having trouble choosing words, remember: it’s all in the emotion. That’s essentially what mood is. You’re communicating to the reader how the character feels. The way they feel affects the whole scene because readers see it through the character’s eyes. Think of the emotion to know your mood, and know your mood to pick your words.

2. Music!

Music is basically my secret weapon. It can set a mood instantly and get your mind into it, unconsciously getting you to start writing that mood. (Helpful, right?)

Source

If you went into my music library, you’d see a list of playlists. I like making one for each of my books, adding on any songs that make me think of it in general, or specific scenes. But a lot of the playlists I have are actually based on what type of scene I’ll be writing. I have playlists for calm scenes, death/sad scenes, happy scenes, epic scenes, super epic scenes (because sometimes there’s just those scenes that are even more epic than others) (if you’re a fantasy writer, you probably know what I’m talking about 😆) and intense scenes. I literally went through my music library, finding all the songs I have without words and sorting them based on how they sounded or made me feel. Now, when I go to write a scene, I decide what mood I want, turn that playlist on shuffle, and it can instantly help set a mood!

(Also, if you don’t have much music without words to listen to while writing, make sure to subscribe to my email list! I share some music suggestions specifically for writers that I myself like to listen to in every monthly newsletter 😉)

3. Pacing

I didn’t realize for a long time exactly how important pacing can be. I mean, on a subconscious level, I got it, to some extent. In one of my super epic scenes in fantasy stories, the way I wrote the scene actually used pacing quite a bit. But I didn’t really notice it consciously, as something I would employ on purpose.

Here’s the idea: if you want a smooth flowing scene, you can use longer sentences. But if it’s a scene that’s more painful and sudden, you might want to use short sentences that create a poppy, jolting, staccato sort of feel.

Source | A great example of different sentence lengths 😉

Making your sentences shorter makes things seem to happen faster, and making them longer makes things seem to happen slower. Employ pacing to really help nail that mood you’re going for.

Don’t forget to save this post for later!

Getting the mood of a scene right can be difficult, but these three things can really help! 😃


If you liked this post, you might also like:

When You’re at a Crossroads in Your Writing

How to Deal with Plot Bunnies – the Right Way

The Importance of Plot Line {How to Keep Readers Interested}

If you want more awesome writing tips, make sure to subscribe! You’ll get a free 7-day course on how to defeat writer’s block butt, emails with exclusive insider info, and the monthly password to my Resources page! 😃  Can’t wait to see you on the inside!

How do you usually like to nail the mood of your scene?

Do you like to listen to music while you write?

Which of these tips did you like the best?

-Julia

Photo by Alphacoloron Unsplash

6 thoughts on “How to Nail the Mood of Your Scene in 3 Steps

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