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Create Mood in Writing Using Digital Photos

written by: Kellie Hayden • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/31/2014

The literary element of mood is often overlooked when teaching students how to write a short story. To enhance this lesson, use digital photos to inspire the mood, setting and conflict.

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    What's Your Mood?

    Before beginning the creative writing lesson with students, give students a quick pre-test to see if they know some examples of mood. What's Her Mood? Ask them to write five examples of mood on a piece of notebook paper. If students cannot do this, review the literary term of mood.

    Definition of Mood

    Mood is a feeling that is conveyed to the reader in a literary work. It is also synonymous with the atmosphere created in the literary piece. The writer can develop mood through word choice, dialogue, sensory details, description, and plot complications.

    The mood conveyed in a literary piece can be a variety of feelings. A short list is as follows:

    • mysterious
    • eerie
    • electrifying
    • happy
    • bleak
    • dreamy
    • freewheeling
    • gloomy
    • light
    • ominous
    • reckless
    • humorous
    • sad
    • soothing
    • brooding
    • cheerful
    • intense
    • calm
    • somber
    • whimsical
    • volatile
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    Lesson Procedures

    The focus of this creative writing assignment is for the writer to create a mood in a piece of writing. Students will need photos to help Woods create a mood in their stories. A small grouping of digital photos is included in this lesson. It is helpful if the teacher gathers a variety of photos of different topics to help students create a specific mood in their writing.

    Select Classic Short Stories

    Also, reading short stories with strong moods will enhance this lesson. Edgar Allan Poe is a master of creating a strong mood in his short stories. Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is another choice. However, most authors convey a mood in their short stories. Bibliomania is a great free website that offers a variety of classic short stories to view.

    Deciding on the Mood

    Step 1: Students need to decide what type of mood they want to create. A long list is included with the definition. Give students the list Covered Bridge or brainstorm other examples of mood on the board.

    Brainstorming the Piece

    At the top of students' notebook paper, they should write the word, "mood" and the mood selected.

    Step 2: Students need to create an imaginary world or setting for a story to take place. This will help create the mood in a piece. This is where the photos can be very helpful.

    Using Digital Photos to Help with Setting

    Show students the digital photos. This can be done through a PowerPoint presentation or with a LCD projector.

    On the same notebook paper, students should write the description of the setting down directly under the mood. It should be labeled, statue setting.

    Step 3: With the mood in mind, students need to create characters and conflict. Once this is decided, it should be written and labeled conflict.

    Write the Draft Including the Mood

    Step 4: Students now should write a draft of their piece. Remind them that the focus of this assignment is to create a mood using their brainstorming of mood, setting and conflict.

    Step 5: Students should peer edit each other's papers. The peer reviewer should be able to guess the mood selected. If the mood is not obvious, students need to work on developing it.

References