Setting

Mood Swings

I recommend starting this exercise with a travel magazine packed with lots of interesting photos. Select an image that appeals to you. Now, write a short scene from the viewpoint of a character who has just arrived at this location and is seeing it for the first time. Describe the setting through the character's eyes, paying particular attention to the mood that this image evokes in you. Evoke this mood in your readers through the reactions of the character — look for sensory images!

Now, write a second scene, with the same or a different character — and evoke just the OPPOSITE mood. If your castle seemed tranquil and romantic, set a scene in which the mood is menacing or sorrowful. If the image of that tropical beach made you feel relaxed and happy, create a scene in which, instead, it is causing your character to feel angry or anxious. Again, look for sensory details and impressions that will convince your reader and evoke that same mood through your words — regardless of what mood the picture alone might have evoked!


Discuss this exercise

Feel inspired? Share your story below.

Similar Exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar creative writing exercises.

Setting

Two-Thirds

“Gossip, as usual, was one-third right and two-thirds wrong,” wrote L.M. Montgomery. Improvise a gossipy dialogue between two characters (Character A and Character B) about your protagonist (Character C). If these fractions are followed, what …

Setting

Set The Stage

Believe it or not, choosing the right setting is one of the most important decisions to make when planning a scene. The location can add mood, supply tension and conflict, steer the plot, characterize, foreshadow, …

Setting

Create a conversation in which one character exclaims, "But that was MY cheese grater!" Make it as wacky or as literal as you'd like.

Setting

Room

Write a description of the room you are in from the point-of-view of a character in your work-in-progress. If the character is from another time or place, so much the better. What would the character …

Setting

One Word

Open a dictionary, close your eyes, pick a random word, and write about it. Go on, see how much you can write about one word in thirty seconds. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s …

Setting

Consider the World View

When describing your setting, consider who’s looking at it as well as what they see. For example, an ex-con is likely to view (and describe) a restaurant hosting a police officer’s retirement party differently than …