Friday, October 1, 2021

Alchemy of Place: How to Create Tension through Your Story's Setting and Atmosphere

Morning: writing at my sunny desk. Task: revise a stubborn scene. Advice from recent feedback: bring more tension and emotion into it.

Sunshine in our New England autumn today is no help. In my fictional scene, it's chilly rain in the northern mountains of New York state. While I sit comfortably in my chair, laptop in front of me, spicy tea and good music and sweet air at hand, my poor beleaguered character has just crashed her small plane--on purpose. She's bleeding, shaken, and starving. Around her is a circle of dark, forbidding mountains, misted by the rain.

Our settings couldn't be more disparate. Yet I'm trying to conjure emotion in hers and capture the desperation of this person who only exists in my imagination.