In my opinion there is no better way to set a scene or mood than by implementing imagery. Visuals of a particular location, or even within a single room, provide an enormous amount of information about your characters to the reader. Also, what a character sees outside a window can tell us how they view their world.
Does your hero find himself in an unfamiliar and unsettling locale? Perhaps the buzzing streetlamp he stands under blazes blue light down on him, seemingly to draw unwanted attention to him—yet this is the precise spot where he’s been told to wait in order to receive the clue which will save the heroine’s life.
Your villain can be clearly established by the way he carries himself, or perhaps consider a prop for him/her to use. In my upcoming novel Staccato, presented by Second Wind Publishing, I use the device of a walking stick which my villain wields, at times with brutal effect. The tap tap tapping of the villain’s cane striking the gleaming marble floor as he moves closer amplifies the fear and trepidation evident by my hero’s stuttering heartbeat.
Setting the scene visually is highly advisable so that the reader can place themselves in your characters’ shoes. Indicate what the character sees and implement as many senses as possible—particularly when the reader is visiting the location for the first time.
Add personal details visually. There may be a cherished item you want to highlight (a locket always worn, a lucky charm), a deficit that adds intrigue (a tick or habit), or perhaps there is something your character avoids (a framed photograph that is always placed face-down on a table, a locked door never entered). These visuals or images are compelling devices to implement—the reader will be compelled to keep flipping the pages to the very end of your book.
Accessing existing photographs are an ideal way to set the mood for a scene. I often use photos to kick start a project. There’s nothing better for breaking a little writer’s block than to dig out a picture and truly assess a capture in time. Focus on the entire element then break down the image piece by piece. Implement a character or two within that setting, and viola you have begun crafting a short story that could very well turn into novel.
Imagery is a snapshot within the scene. If carefully crafted, these images will be ones your reader will not soon forget.
Deborah J Ledford is the author of Staccato, scheduled for release by Second Wind Publishing later this summer. Please visit her website at: www.deborahjledford.com.