Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Alba Series, Vol. 2 by Jen Black

Finlay of Alba tracks a wayward young girl to Lord Sitric's stronghold of Dublin, where she faces a forced marriage or the slave market. Can he rescue her in time? A Viking attack on Lord Sitric only adds to the confusion.

Question from the e-mail:  Someone criticized a short story of mine and said the "mood was all wrong."  What's that supposed to mean?

Answer: Basically, it's not the mood of the characters, but how the description, imagery, and symbolism chosen  determines how the reader feels about what is happening in the story. If a girl is breaking up with her One True Love, it should not happen at Disneyland in a plaza filled with clowns and happy children, or any other place full of cheerful images. It should happen someplace lonely, detached, and probably with falling rain to symbolize tears, whether any are shed or not. All writers do this, though many don't make a conscious choice.

Problems with mood  can ofter be the result of writing about actual experiences and using the real description, rather than picking details that will enhance the mood of the characters.

Remember, words and especially images have “feelings” as well as dictionary meanings. Look at your story again, to see how well the setting and description  ties in with the action and emotion.  Then check word choice. It's important to choose words that had the feeling you that would best convey the emotion in the scene. Don't forget it's possible she missed your meaning entirely.

For instance picture an airport waiting area with chairs. In a happy homecoming scene the chairs would be a nice sunny orange, because that’s an exciting color. If a pair of lovers are saying "farewell forever," the chairs would be “blue” and if they were having an argument, they’d probably be red, or maybe black. Do you see what I mean?  Whatever color the chairs really are, you can use the image of them to underscore the mood you want the scene to convey.

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