Emily's Foundation, Week Two: Setting And Mood In Historical Fiction
Seeing The World Through The Eyes Of Your Character When setting the scene in historical fiction, ask yourself "How does my character see the scene?" We ask this question because, as a writer, we don't write a description simply for description's sake. First we set the scene; then we interpret it through the mood of the character.
Using This Image To Set The Scene And Add Mood The image for this prompt is, in and of itself, quite dramatic. If you removed the girl, it would remain dramatic, but we primarily would be dealing with the “Setting”. With her completing the picture, though, we can add one of many possible "Moods" to the scene, all deriving from the girl's point of view.
How does the young woman see this scene? Depending on what is going on in her life, and what brought her to this place, the land in front of her might seem beautiful, or desolate, or even frightening.
Is she running away from someone? Does what she see in front of her fill her with dread?
Is she about to meet her lover? Is she awed by what lies before her?
Is this a place where she often goes to figure out difficult situations in her life? Has she traveled long and far to get here? Is this the last part of her journey? If so, where did she come from? Why?
Having asked and answered questions such as these, step back and appraise this beautiful scene through her eyes, at this moment. This will greatly help you enhance the setting with mood! Writing An Historical Scene Now, and In The Future Whenever you’re writing a scene, whether it's solely from your Imagination or from a Prompt plus your Imagination, remember to consider the scene through the eyes of your character, at a particular moment in her life, rather than through your own eyes in the here and now.
To do this, you always need to write from your character's point of view. You'll need to set aside your own desire as the writer!
The Benefits Of Using Picture Prompts Using picture prompts to set your scene allows you to focus on adding mood from your imagination. Simply seeing the details of a time and place allows you to jump deeply into the mood.
I've added a few more pictures from other historical periods below. Just click on an image to see it full-sized.
To get started on this week's scene, use the picture at the top of the page as the prompt that leads you through Setting and Mood. Or, if any of these other pictures interests you more than the one above, use it instead.
If you're having any problems writing this week's scene, you can call Emily at (914) 962-4432 to talk about what is slowing you down.
"Working on my weekly scenes with Emily was an amazing way to access the characters and stories I'd always known were there inside me, just waiting to be set free. Emily's understanding of who I am as a writer connected me to my creativity in ways I'd never imagined possible!" ~ Marsha S.