Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Adding Props to your Story to Convey Mood

I was working on a post for another site and our theme for the week was 'moon'. I did a quick search and found an excerpt where the moonlight played a role in conveying the scene. As an author, I didn't realize how much I've added props to my scenes to convey a certain mood. Moonlight can portray a specific emotion to the reader, be it loneliness, terror or romance. Add the night and a dark house, and I hope I conveyed the mood in the following excerpt from Shrouded in Darkness.

Moonlight pierced through the one window across from the desk, illuminating the tables, equipment and enough of the laboratory floor for him to cross the room without banging a foot or shin. At the window, he rested a hand against its edge as he peered outside. The night greeted him, the only time he felt comfortable since the explosion. He welcomed the shadows, which clung to the pines and rolling snow, camouflaging the mice, owls, and other small creatures he knew were out there.
A storm was due in tonight, but he didn’t see any signs. Stars winked from above, and a stillness, a hushed sense of expectation washed over the night, or it could be his own imagination, his own hopes that he might find the key to unlocking the formula.  
He glanced up at Margot’s house. It sat on the hill, darker, thicker than the other shadows. Even though the sun had long since dipped behind the barren trees, the windows were absent of light. She was up there, though. Somewhere.
But what was she doing? Working? Drinking? Or staring off into some nameless space. He’d caught her doing that a number of times, thinking of God knew what as the house darkened around her. Was she remembering what had happened between them last night? She must have felt the same passion, the same hunger that still burned through his body. God, she’d been so soft and supple in his arms. The scent of her had driven him insane.
He’d been on her like a rutting dog and so damned close to going up those stairs after her. And he still wanted to, wanted to walk out of here and up the snow covered hill to her house. He wanted her hot, whimpering for him.
He placed his brow against the glass. The chilled pane soothed his burning skin. From past experience, he knew he had a temperature. Even though mild, dangerous nonetheless.
Disgusted with his lack of self-control, he pushed away from the window. He had no time for sex. If he wanted to live long enough to have a good time in bed, he needed to get back to the computer and work. The answer had to be somewhere. He knew John had safeguarded a copy of the formula for him, but the question was where. It wasn’t anywhere on John’s computer or in the lab. Jake had made a thorough sweep, while he’d also searched every room in Margot’s house. As for the idea of it being destroyed in the car crash with John—Jake didn’t even want to think about it.
Sinking down in his chair, he focused on the numbers and equations in front of him. Concentration and determination were critical to unraveling Miracell. He’d get his answer or die trying. He laughed bitterly. That last thought came too damn close to the truth.
As he reached for another breath mint, a frigid breeze brushed against his skin. He stilled, his hand suspended in mid-air. The heater was on. He’d made sure, keeping the room regulated for the experiments he had to conduct. Shivering, he pushed away from the desk with a foot. The chair rolled and swiveled over the hard, linoleum floor as he turned.
A man in a bulky, down jacket stood in front of the laboratory’s closed door. Malcolm. He’d slipped inside without Jake realizing.
“Hello, Jake.”
The air locked in Jake’s lungs for one, two...three seconds. Then he expelled it into one harsh sigh. He sat unmoving, as frozen and brittle as the trees outside.

Malcolm stepped further into the lab, and a beam of moonlight glittered off a gun. “Shocked? You shouldn’t be. You knew I’d catch up to you.” 
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