It’s getting on that spooky time of year, and with it I along with other writers I am sure begin to find our creative minds heading to the macabre. And so I couldn’t help but find myself thinking all about good horror stories. Specifically what makes horror and fears in a story really click, what makes our minds as readers fall readily into the nightmare. And at the same time what elements, can also completely ruin this effect. And for me I really couldn’t think of anything that affects a reader as much as mood and atmosphere. So this week I wanted to talk about mood and atmosphere as a writer. I wanted to explorer how I personally approach it, deliver some incite as a reader, and just remind people the importance its plays into the overall tapestry of good horror.
As writers (and even more so as readers) we often don’t let our minds dwell on what a massive task crafting a prose story truly is. Prose is unlike any other media, in the sense that we are supplying the reader with all sensory input, including how they should think and feel. And I am sure you are shaking your head and going “okay that’s sort of obvious” but terrifically so, we don’t dwell on how massive this is. We don’t usually think about how many moving parts go into making a story. For some writers its automatic. They can just throw all these things out in beautiful paragraphs but that’s rare and the product of a lot of experience. For most of us, as much as we would love to deny it, these are things we have to be consciously aware of. But that comes down to process. We all have our own, and we know what works for us. But one thing I often note is how this key component in writing often gets over looked. For a lot of writers especially those starting out, there is a lot of focus drawn on the characterization, and alliteration to immerse the reader’s mind, so we can deliver an experience. So much so that we neglect the parts of a story that might be quite transparent. That is developing a reader’s feelings and bringing them to a special place in their mind.