Writers can change how they focus on details in their fiction in order to establish different moods and affect the story in different ways.
Writers can examine their fictional works much in the same way a director plans out a scene for a movie. Is it a close-up? Will the camera pan left or right? By examining the scene in a story, writers can achieve different things depending on how the scene is described to the reader at any given time. Here are some tips for how to approach scene by looking at each detail like a movie director would.
Zoom in on a Specific Detail
Zooming in on a specific detail will bring the reader very close to the scene, much in the same way a movie director might zoom in on a character or object. If the character of the story is bouncing his foot up and down underneath a desk, the reader will picture the character's entire leg bouncing as well as part of the desk. But if the writer chooses to provide details about the character's polished shoe tapping on the the concrete floor, the reader will picture the shoe bouncing up and down.
The same goes for inanimate objects. When writing about a grandfather clock, the writer can provide details about the clock's shiny wood and the reader will picture the entire clock. But if the writer focuses instead on the polished brass pendulum swinging back and forth, the reader will focus primarily on that, perhaps ignoring the rest of the clock altogether.
Zoom Out on a Place
One of the best ways to ensure readers are imagining a story's entire world is to zoom out on the setting and provide details that will let the reader imagine everything in the right place. Later, once the setting is clearly established, the writer can then zoom in on specific details that are important to the story and the scene in general. One way to zoom out is to imagine the scene in the way a director would: what does the director want to capture on film? What does the director not care about? By continually visualizing the story as a movie, writers can easily determine what the focus should be and what can be omitted in every shot.
Have a Reason for Each Shot
When looking at the story like a director would a movie, writers should always keep in mind one important thought: why is each scene in the story? Whether a writer is zooming in or out, there should be a reason it's happening. The goal is to move the reader from shot to shot, just like in a movie.