One thing I enjoy about visiting new places is analyzing the mood of a setting. Of course, the mood I bring to a location will affect how I perceive it, but I also try to examine the “vibe” a place gives off, independent of how I’m feeling at the time.
For example, I visited a library in a small city. Now I’m predisposed to love libraries because I’ve used them since I was a child and was a children’s librarian for ten years. But I wasn’t in the building long before I felt uncomfortable and even depressed. This wasn’t a friendly library. So I tried to figure out why I felt that way. Signs were posted warning patrons about rules. The library was extra quiet. Although the staff was polite, they weren’t friendly, as if they had other things to do than wait on patrons. I have the impression that removing books from the shelves would have been frowned upon.
Once I’ve dissected the mood of a place, I can file it away for possible use in a story.
Want to try out your analysis of setting? Check out these setting prompts.
Do you analyze the mood of a setting? How do you write about it?
I’ll have to start thinking about this! Sometimes in a big crowd or a quiet forest, I think about how a crime/mystery story could occur there…but the mood of a setting…I’ll be thinking about this!
When I walk into a room or place and don’t like it, I try to figure out why. That’s what I call the “vibe”. Sometimes it’s simply curtained windows or dark walls giving the room a gloomy appearance. Sometimes it’s the people. Years ago, I was in a candy store in December and the two people behind the counter were arguing about whether to take the large order of the customer ahead of me. Very uncomfortable and very memorable.
I see what you mean about conveying the vibe of a setting to the readers. I am not a fan of dark/gloomy places, so if I have an uncomfortable scene, I’ll see if it works to have it take place in a gloomy room. And arguing employees would certainly make customers uncomfortable (especially if they’re arguing over an order!)