“What creates the vibe of a room? The other people inside it: the combined resonance of their voices,” write authors Sofia Samatar and Kate Zambreno in the introduction to their collaborative nonfiction book, Tone (Columbia University Press, 2023). A study on the use of tone in literary works, the authors consider how even if a room is empty, “there is a trace in the air of those who have recently left.” Begin a short story that takes place over the course of several scenes set in different places. Jot down notes for what you imagine happened in each environment before your story’s scene takes place there. How might subtle traces of those who have recently left the locale still linger and affect the tone or atmosphere of your story?
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