I love guacamole. Love it. I can eat it plain, on chips, in tacos, burritos, or over rice. Doesn’t matter. It’s that authentic Mexican flavor that I crave. No matter where I’m at, or what time of year it is, good guacamole is one of those rare dishes that can transform a glum, rainy day into a warm, sunny afternoon. This is the power of harmony. It isn’t the avocado that I love, nor is it the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, or lime. It’s the flavor that’s produced when each of these ingredients are combined that makes the dish the culinary treasure that it is. The same holds true for mood. A combination of smaller elements, mood is the product of carefully placed ingredients peppered throughout a scene/chapter/book. With just the right proportions, it can be used to wonderful effect.
You would never smash an avocado and call it guacamole (at least I hope you wouldn’t). So why limit yourself when creating mood? Suppose you wanted to create the sense of fear in your writing. Rather than simply describing a fearful scene, you should build upon it by using as many key ingredients as possible. You can start by making a list:
Just like cilantro and tomatoes are necessary ingredients for authentic guacamole, words like these should be included in any scene seeking to invoke fear. Individually their impact is negligible, but together they blend to create a distinct mood that can add flavor to any story. Can you come up with similar recipes for a mood of your own? If so, I’d love to read them!