12/5/17

Creating Great Atmospheres in Your Stories

     
       Last Saturday my family and I were at my grandparent’s house when my youngest sister asked my mom if she could go shopping.

       My grandparents live in a German tourist town, so everything is beautiful and picture perfect.
        I threw my hair up into a ponytail, rocked the no makeup look (since I had brought none), and my granny, my mom, my brother, my two sisters, my cousin, and I went for a ride and then a stroll down main street.

        Remember, we’re in a tourist town, everything is meant to attract customers, so as we’re browsing through shelves of knickknacks and passing these gorgeous stores I found myself thinking about story details and how to create a great atmosphere in my stories.


        First off, story details are crazy fun and crazy difficult at times. It is so hard to find the balance between too little detail and purple prose, which is a whole other post… oh, man.

       But as I walked through these beautiful, beautiful stores I noticed how there were so many things, and colors that I couldn’t simply observe them in one glance. Which leads me to my number one tip:


 

 
 
 
1. DON’T try to show everything at once!
I know your character is probably in a really pretty gown in a stunning palace or they’re out battling a ferocious dragon in the light of the blue moon, but finding the line between too little detail and TMI, is pretty important. Long tip short: Your character won’t notice everything at once.
See this picture? I took it while wandering this store, in the moment I mostly noticed the red car, snapped a picture, and hurried off to the other side of the store, but looking back I notice a ton of other knickknacks that I overlooked before.
         
        2. Remember the five senses.
 The basic five senses are sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, I say basic because there are a few others such as gut-feeling that are still being debated about.
 
 
 
 
 
Do the floorboards creak? Is the air heavy with the scent of must and lemongrass tea? Can your character taste sea salt in the air? Do they feel the coolness and roughness of the sword hilt they're gripping? Does the sound of clanging metal and the shouts of dying men still ring in their ears long after the battle? Does your character notice the soft white flower swaying in the breeze? These are questions that need to be asked and addressed, they'll make your story better.
I took this picture at an ice-cream shop, which had a very retro style that I loved. (It was also playing Grease on one of those older TVs, and my mom said that it constantly plays Grease over and over again, like, how cool it that??) Anyways, I feel like it’s kind of obvious what caught my eye first, which was the ball of fortune. Because it’s glowing and eye-catching.
 
 
 
 
 
3. Quality adjectives are essential.
In this case scenario quality adjectives are the distinction between *yawn* boring! And *gasp* ooohhh!  You could write that in the corner there is a blue ball of fortune surrounded by a few other games, which is okayish, but why do that when you could describe it in a little more detail?
It’s glowing, it’s an appealing light blue, and it’s pretty much lighting up its whole display case.
So at the end of this post, think details, stray away from too many, but try to still sneak in a few describing adjectives, and do try to use the five senses every once in a while!
 
 
Let's just pretend that this wasn't a complete ramble + an excuse to show you a few of my pretty pictures, okay? Okay.
That aside, what world building/scene creating tips do you have?
 
Happy Writing,
 

33 comments:

  1. This is beautiful and so true!! I think gut feeling is a sixth sense, honestly. I loved the pictures. And you're write about description, the character won't see everything. Awesome post!
    <3

    ~Ivie @iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    1. Also, I was meaning to ask you what happened to the ramblings of a tween blog. (I think it was called that.) I saw it had shut down, but I didn't see why. I wasn't sure if you knew what happened.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Ivie!

      And she took her blog down after it got hacked, she said she was planning on deleting it anyway because her life is busy, but getting hacked definitely sped it up. :/

      Delete
  2. So this may come as a shock to you but I have never seen Grease.. lol thank you for posting about this! Hope you are well!
    Ry at greenacresfarmgirlliving4god.blogspot.com

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    1. Be glad, lol! It's very raunchy and a guiltily pleasure. If it wasn't for the great music I would loath it. :P

      Thank you! I'm okay, and working on getting better!! ^_^

      Delete
  3. Great post. And even more than just throwing in a lot of details...you want your character to observe what would matter to her/him and what moves the story along!

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    1. Yes, that is very true, thank you for reminding me of that! :)

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  4. Yes, this is beautiful, Gray!! However, I'm currently still in NaNo-mode, which is no time to figure out how to describe scenes because. Must. Get. Words. On. Page.

    But I'm going to save the link to this so when I start editing in '18, this'll guide me a long and give me some motivation and a starting point. :)

    I've actually never heard of Grease. *raised eyebrows*

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    1. Thanks! Well, that is a good mode to be in at times!! XD

      Grease is... lol. If it wasn't for the great music I would loath it, because it's pretty bad, tbh.

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  5. I too will be saving this for future reference. World building is stoll something I struggle with. Funny, in real life, I notice a lot of really ridiculous details but none stick unless I take a picture or something.

    Catherine
    catherinearebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, world building can be so hard!

      And that is funny!

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  6. Yup. Fun. :D

    Quality Adjectives for sure.

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  7. These are some great tips and nice pictures! ;)
    I feel like I have heard of Grease somewhere, but I have definitely never seen it, which is probably a verrrryyyy good thing. XP

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    1. Thanks! ^_^

      And yeah, it probably is. I'm a sucker for great soundtracks, it's my one small weakness! XD

      Delete
  8. Yeppers. It's my belief that one should be very purposeful with the details that they use. It's good to use all five senses, but it's usually not good to use all of them all the time. Adjectives need to be as specific as possible and used as infrequently as possible. (All right, you can break that one a little bit.)

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    1. That's also very true, especially about the senses.

      I try not to go overboard with adjectives because I've read some really cringe-worthy books that have including my past works, but it can be hard!

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  9. Your posts are always super helpful! :)

    www.letmecrossover.blogspot.com

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  10. The pictures are extremely lovely! Those retro style arcade games seem cool as well, I wonder if they are functional? Did you try them out? XD

    I haven't heard of the first piece of advice in this list before, but as I try recalling the writing of some good books I've read, I guess you're right. Describing EVERYTHING all at once can be really daunting for the reader, and if I were to read something written that way, I don't think I'd be able to appreciate the story.

    Anyways, I loved Grease mostly because John Travolta was in it LOLOL. And I agree with what you said in reply to one of the comments, the soundtrack is awesome! Aaaahh I wanna discuss some thoughts about the movie sometime :D

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    1. Thanks! I didn't, I should have, but I didn't have any spare change anyway. Xd

      Grease is amazing, and so is John Travolta, and he was awesome in it! XD
      YES, WE SHOULD! :D

      Delete
  11. Lovely post! So much of description is finding the balance between noting the little details, and painting the bigger picture. It's a tough balance to find, but worth it! :D

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  12. I liked this post a lot because it reminds me that we authors should see our characters as human beings more often. Just as we human beings notice some things, we should take into account the things our characters will notice as well.

    Though it's honestly easier said than done!

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    1. Thanks! And yes, we need to see them as more than just characters, and it is way easier said than done.

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  13. Thanks for all the tips! I definitely need these tips, my settings and atmospheres are usually pretty flat despite my best efforts. All your photos are lovely as well!

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    1. You're welcome! My books tend to take place in a white box during my first drafts, so I totally understand!
      And thanks!! :)

      Delete
  14. Love your blog, girl! So happy to find another blogger friend from Goodreads =D
    Michaila
    seventytimeseven.com

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  15. I like the idea of using the senses to describe a setting. I think that really helps to put yourself in the character's mindset, to see what they're seeing and feel what they feel. Love it! Cool post. Looks like you had some fun adventures! I hope your December is going well. :)

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  16. oh my goodness, the pictures in this post are stellar, A+ for the aesthetic. and these are all great tips!!!

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