Creating an Atmosphere

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Writers approach reading differently from other people. They dissect the writing, eager to understand how the author has created an enthralling plot, a cast of sympathetic and believable characters and a strong sense of atmosphere.

By atmosphere, I’m not talking about ghostly happenings or unexplained creepiness, though these also have their place. I’m talking about creating a mood to draw your readers in, build expectations and provide important information about your characters. By using sensory detail to bring scenes alive your readers will see the world through the eyes of the characters. Encouraged to experience the story at first hand, they will inhabit this imaginary world, be part of the characters’ lives, sharing their pleasures and disappointments. Continue reading

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A Sense of Place

giants-causeway1I was recently on holiday in Northern Ireland, where we visited the Giant’s Causeway on a wet and windy day. I was intrigued to see that the car park was laid with a hexagonal brick-weave, reflecting the basalt columns that make up the Causeway. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a car park surface before. It’s only when we go on holiday, take a walk in unfamiliar territory, move to a new neighbourhood, that we actually take a note of our surroundings. We don’t realise how little we notice our immediate environment until we change it. And this can have a big impact on our writing. Continue reading

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

At the risk of sounding like a tabloid headline writer, crickey, it’s hot! Hotter then Hawaii, apparently, here in sunny Norfolk. Which adds a whole new set of complications to the writing experience; the hunt for that bon mot pales into insignificance when compared to the search for a cool place to sit and cogitate. My brain has the thinking capacity of marshmallow and I feel as if I’m melting by degrees, like the wicked witch of the west.

It won’t last, the forecasters tell us, which is a bit of a shame since this has been the wettest, coolest summer hereabouts since people started recording these facts. You guys on the other side of the Atlantic are probably wondering why I’m making such a fuss – it’s only weather. And I agree with you. Still, I look forward to the approach of autumn.

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