Worldbuilding: Creating a Specific Mood

Worldbuilding: Creating a Specific Mood
May 15, 2017 No Comments » For Authors, Writing Advice Nancy E Miller

Remember Mood Rings?  Back in the 70’s we were entranced with the thermal sensitive stone set in a simple gold or silver ring (most of which turned your finger green). According to the color chart, when worn on the finger, the stone reacted to body temperature and changed color.  I remember mine usually being black.

It was the first time for many of us to understand the connection between emotion and the body’s reaction. Since then a whole new world of color study influences us without our conscious acknowledgement.

Did you know many fast food restaurants use the color orange in their décor? Why? Because orange triggers the human response to hurry up, eat, and get out. Faster turnover makes for greater profits.

So how can color affect your worldbuilding? Think of the movie genre Film Noir.  Set in the 1950’s after the feel good movies of the war era, Film Noir was dark and gritty. The films were in black and white. Shadows played across the screen blocking us from seeing what might be lurking.

In the Bruce Willis movie The Sixth Sense, the directors used red to indicate when the boy was communing with a dead person.

So how can color create an emotional response in your reader? I suggest you study several different sources and learn what different colors trigger in our responses.

Is the sun shining in your world? Is it beating down on shifting sands or gently beaming on lovers? Is there a gray mist hanging over the bay shrouding an incoming ship from view? Is the green canopy of the rainforest creating a cool, humid shelter or making you miserable with the stickiness and bugs?

I tend to concentrate on dialogue and general settings when I create my first draft. I have to go back on the next draft and fill in emotions along with the other senses. I find I need to concentrate on them separately to create the best climate and mood. 

Try envisioning your story as a movie. Your characters are not up on the screen all by themselves. Look around them. What conveys the emotion of the moment? Make sure to include those sensory images in your tale. We want the feel of wet woolen socks in mud-encrusted boots conveying the discomfort of the soldier huddled in a foxhole.

[bctt tweet=”Create an emotional response in your reader with color. #writingtips #MondayBlogs” username=”NEMiller_Author”]

Next week I’m writing about when a world becomes a character on its own. Some places are just too big or too important to ignore. Early man (and some modern) believed Earth spirits influenced their lives. The Earth was not just something they stood on. It was the Mother.  Join me as we discuss the possibilities.

Nancy E Miller Nancy E. Miller, romantic suspense author of Shark Bait and Crystal Unicorns, lives near St. Louis with her husband and three dogs, pygmy goats, chickens and a cranky rooster named Ketchup. Her degree is in Psychology and Sociology. She has worked in education and mental health as a case manager and crisis counselor.

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