Searching For A Mood That Suits Me

I don’t think I’m the first person to establish that blogging and physical condition training are interrelated. What they have in common is that it’s so much more fun to do something else. A blog entry’s no more than exchanging a few words with friendly people. PT training’s just being sure you’re in good enough shape for physical effort, be it work or play. I always enjoy shooting the breeze with folks. I enjoy physical stuff. Why do I dislike working out and/or spending time typing a conversation? I hope it’s just human nature. I need all the human I can get.

Which brings me around to mood status, a segue that only an intensely human person could execute. I was reading a thriller a few days ago (so much easier than writing a blog entry) when it came to me that the scene was as flat as yesterday’s open beer. There was plenty of action and good tension (both between characters and the situation ) and enough suspense to keep a reader zipping through the pages – but there was something missing. Sort of like a silent movie – one’s never in doubt about what’s going on, but it’s weird to watch all that jittering around and not hear a thing. It took me a minute to link that sense of silence with the use of music in film. Moviemakers have access to the finest mood-seting mechanism we’ve invented – music. Writers don’t have that luxury. Still, we can set mood other ways. They have to be subtle and they have to be so well-designed that their effect is cumulative, not single shot. We have to think about the psychological effect of color; we choose them to underline feelings of excitement or calm. We have language; for example, strong verbs accentuate vigorous activity. We have to think through how we describe the simplest things, i.e., “He roared with laughter,” as opposed to “He laughed loudly.” A laugh’s just a laugh, but when you determine how the reader hears it in his/her mind, you’re contributing to the mood – and thus the effectiveness – of the entire scene.

Your novel’s not just interesting things happening to interesting people. It’s making the reader part of the story. We have to create that sense of engagement and when we create the proper mood, your reader’s step from reader to participant in the story is no longer a leap of faith. It’s a dance into your party.


  1. I have thought the same when reading a “Reacher” novel. đŸ™‚

    I never felt that way reading the “Warrior” series. You did a good job of those.

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