I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This

moon cloudsMy wife called me the other night, excited about something my eight-year-old son Josiah said on their drive home. Apparently he described the night sky by saying, “An army of clouds surrounds the powerful force of the moon.”

Not bad for an eight-year-old, eh? Not bad for an adult, at that.

Of course I’d like to take all the credit, tell you that he learned it all from me. But truth be told, he came up with that on his own.

My wife, of course, immediately posted it on Facebook, to rave reviews. The most popular comment? “I want to read the rest of the story!”

See what happens when you combine setting, detail, and mood? You create atmosphere. Obviously, the clouds are not an army, but the metaphor creates an image of strife. That simple description creates tension within the setting, and sets the stage for a story that will, likely, take place beneath the “powerful force of the moon.”

Were he to continue the story, as he may some day, he might use that opening image to establish a similar conflict below—an army nearing a powerful force, an epic battle beneath the tumultuous  night sky.

Never forget the power of setting and mood. I’d encourage you, upon revision of your current story or novel (or even as you move forward in your current work in progress), to keep an eye open for opportunities your setting provides to create tension and unease.

Until next week, good writing.

14 Comments on I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This

  1. I like this! But of course, what can you expect from your offspring? Oh, and what you did with here was pretty good too. 😉

  2. Shania Sheehan | October 1, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply

    Its like saying “The trees curve inward, their stiff fingers ever reaching” and “The tree’s leaves swayed slowly in the breeze. It’s the same forest but different mood.

  3. Miranda Almeida | October 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Reply

    Boy. Genius.
    Haha that is such a vivid and elaborate metaphor he thought up! I love the way his mind works… I hope someday he can create something huge out of this first thought.

  4. I try to set a mood in my writing, but it’s always through obvious means. Thanks for this, it gives me a bit of insight on how to be more subtle.

  5. A subtle but powerful description is an amazing tool in writing–give your kid a high-five for that one!
    It might seem hard to set the mood at first, but there’s always the opportunity to revise. Just think about your readers’ feelings. Do you want them excited? Scared? Enamored? What words go with that feeling? Think about it. Now think harder. Now jump out of your chair and wave your arms like a crazy person! No? Well, it was worth a shot.
    Write well, write often.

  6. Katelyn Haeckel | October 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply

    Looking back at some of the stories I’ve written, I realise that I have a bit a of a difficult time creating the mood. I’ll definitely have to work on it.

  7. Heather Moore | October 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply

    I have to improve on my skills for creating mood, most of my storys lack a good atmosphere.

  8. Really smart kid. he definantly has a nack for createing an image in his own head that people generally dont see. I’ll have to try harder to do this in my future writing.

  9. Very interesting. Explaining the clouds and the moon in a simple metaphor has a lot more power than showing the clouds and moon in many details. One quote shows the whole tone.

  10. christopher rush | October 5, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply

    i like that idea of the army of darkness thing i like it maby i can do one like the room was as cold and dark as the most bitter of night in the arctic.

  11. When I write I think I need more mood and not so much feeling of the characters. I thought his idea was a very good one, with the army of clouds around the moon.

  12. jake van dusen | October 9, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply

    first of all that is awsome! Also setting the mood like that always grasps my attention and makes me want to read more.

  13. I love the imagery, it really captivates the person reading to read the rest to see wht else they say.

  14. Hailee Brooke Stewart | October 11, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply

    I love the way that i am instantly drawn into the story. The imagery is fabulous!! I never think about setting a mood in my stories, but after reading this i think ill go back and revise. Great metaphor<3

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