By: Rayne Hall
Do you want a scene in your novel to be especially intense, emotional, creepy, scary, romantic or exciting?
Let it play out at night.
To create the right atmosphere, you need to trigger the reader’s senses differently than for a daytime scene. In this post, I’ll show you the techniques professional fiction authors use.
Use different senses. In the dark or semi-dark, your PoV character will see less than in bright light, so use the sense of vision less and the other senses more.
The sense of hearing is especially important. Insert several background noises, such as:
- Outside, a car door slammed and a motor whined.
- From the kitchen came the persistent drip-drop-drip of a leaking tap.
- Water gurgled down the drainpipe.
- Wind whispered through the branches and rustled the leaves.
- Rain hammered on the window panes.
Insert sentences of this kind especially in moments of tense silence. They can help increase the suspense.
In the evening, most people’s sense of smell heightens, so you may want to mention the scents and odors of the place and the characters. However, this awareness lessens in the early morning hours. The temperature also affects the sense of smell – during a balmy night, the characters will notice more smells than if it’s cold.
Here are examples:
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