harnessing the energy of tonal contrast
The term chiaroscuro, used to describe strong tonal contrast in painting or drawing, means light-dark in Italian. The chiaroscuro technique brings heightened drama to pretty much any subject depicted. Intense contrasts are also energizing in literature. They can be introduced through variation in sentence length, shifts in diction or subject matter, and a myriad other ways. Consider the long, grammatically complex sentence that precedes the abrupt death of Andrew Ramsay in Chapter 6 of the Time Passes section of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, and the short one that follows:
Then again silence fell; and then, night after night, and sometimes in plain mid-day when the roses were bright and light turned on the wall its shape clearly there seemed to drop into this silence, this indifference, this integrity, the thud of something falling.
A shell exploded. Twenty or thirty young men were blown up in France, among them Andrew Ramsay, whose death, mercifully, was instantaneous.
PROMPT: Harness the power of chiaroscuro by bringing a beautiful description to a hideous object or juxtaposing a peaceful scene with a violent one. Contrast a revelation with a deeply guarded secret. More literally, you could also write a scene in which some elements are brightly lit, others in shadow. Whatever you choose to focus on, play around with tonal contrast.