3 Tips To Creating Mood In Your Scenes Through Sound

picture by iwd

picture by iwd

Writing is a creative process that pours out of us and onto the page. But what we bring to the page is essential to how the words shape and form. If I am in a happy mood, I am more likely to pick words that sound light. It will also make it more difficult to translate what the character is feeling in a sad scene.

There are many different ways to help you get in the mood for a scene. Some of my favorite ways are through sound. Sound has the ability to land us right smack in the middle of what we are writing. It transports us into the emotions we are trying to connect with that our character is experiencing. It is one of the reasons movies have wonderful music and sound effects.

Try watching a suspenseful scene in a movie and turn off the sound. Notice how much the mood is lightened by just taking out the sound. Movie producers know how to build the tension in a movie and the mood through sound.

3 Tips To Creating Mood In Your Scenes Through Sound:

*Listen to mood music before and during scene writing. As you feel the music you can begin to imagine your character in their environment and what they are experiencing. It makes you notice the elevated heart rate, the shift between deadly soft fear and the climax of running from a predator. Here are a few music samples I like to write to:

Suspenseful Music:

Emotional Sad Music:

Romance Music:

Humor:

Wonder – Discovery / Happy Picnic Type Day:

*Listen To Inspirational Speech Clips To Help You Put Your Character In The Right Frame Of Mind. If you are wanting to show your character as heroic and they are going to face odds that are difficult to overcome, it might help to watch a speech clip that builds courage. As you listen to a speech think of the words that are used and how they make you feel. Try applying some of the techniques to your dialogue and character reactions. Some speeches I use:

For Inspiration To Go To Battle:

Challenging The Status Quo:

Happiness/New found Success:

Challenging Indifference:

 

*Listen to Weather or Setting Music To Help You Transport To The Place Your Character Is In. This often helps me to remember sensory details to add to my scene.

Rain:

Thunderstorm:

Sounds of the City:

Sounds of the Countryside:

What do you listen to as you create mood in your scenes?

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8 thoughts on “3 Tips To Creating Mood In Your Scenes Through Sound

  1. Michelle, what a fun post! And all those fabulous ideas for sound! Love it. In general, I write in silence. But when I have a particularly emotional scene I have been known to put on music that will help me get in the mood for that scene. Other times, I’ll write a scene to the favorite music of the character I’m writing. That’s fun too. Cold Play anyone? :)

    I love all the ideas you shared for using sound and music to complement my writing. Thanks for this!!

    • Michelle Lim says:

      So glad you found it helpful, Jeanne! I like the idea of writing to the favorite music of a character…neat idea!

      • LeAnne says:

        Me too. Never thought of it. I usually write in silence for fear the music will take over my emotions instead of the story, but choosing something specific for the emotion is worth a try.

      • Michelle Lim says:

        Even if you play it just before you start writing it can really put you in the mood. I was surprised just how much the suspense clip helped me when writing my last scene.

        Thanks for stopping by!

  2. sharynkopf says:

    Music is so effective when writing! Thanks for sharing all these great selections, Michelle.

    Mostly, I like instrumental music. A movie soundtrack station works great for that, though most seem to be intense – Lord of the Rings, Superman, Last of the Mohicans – all very inspiring but can become a bit exhausting too.

    But sometimes, one song can do the trick. Two years ago, while road-tripping my way to the Blue Ridge writers conference, I was listening to REO’s greatest hits while thinking about what I wanted to do with a key moment in my MC’s story. Then the song “In My Dreams” came on & I followed the emotion of that song all the way to my girl’s heartbreak. In fact, my heart broke right along with hers because I’d heard that song a few years before when I finally accepted that the man I’d fallen for hadn’t fallen for me.

    Empathizing with her emotion helped me get there. And that song was the catalyst.

  3. Wow! I am bookmarking this post! Perfect sounds to write to, depending on the mood you want. Great post, Michelle!

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