I often say that I am a product of my environment, as colors tend to have a dramatic effect on me. I’ve noticed the same thing happens to readers; much of it is subliminal.
For example, suppose you have a scene where two people have just entered a room. The walls are pastel, robin’s egg blue with bright white trim. Photographs on the wall depict beach scenes and serene seascapes. A pair of flip-flops is beside a cottage chair, and a beach towel is draped over a white-washed kitchen chair.
Now stand at the threshold again. As you enter the room again, the walls are covered in a burgundy and gold wallpaper. The trim is walnut. Photographs depict black and white villages of times gone by, of a law office, doctor’s office and five-and-dime from the early 20th century. Beside an over-stuffed chair is a walnut curio table, upon which is a crystal decanter. A dining room table sits off to the side; it is also walnut, and the chair cushions are burgundy and gold.
How did you feel as you envisioned the first room? How was that different from the second room?
A good writer can evoke feelings in the reader simply through the description of their surroundings. The events that follow, however, must tie into the scene that is depicted.
Has there been a scene in a book that has stayed with you for years after reading it? How did the description affect the feelings it invoked in you?