Atmosphere and Mood

Atmosphere and Mood

by Adam Huddleston


This week’s literary term(s) are atmosphere and mood. They more or less equate to the same thing with subtle differences. Atmosphere is the overall feeling or mood in a story. This can be affected by a good description of objects or the environment. For example, gothic horror leaned upon the trope of dark, rainy nights and old, dusty castles. The imagery helps the reader to understand that the story has a scary or depressive feel.

Mood is similar but may change throughout the plot. Also, this aspect is more closely related to characters than to location. For example, a protagonist’s mood may begin as happy, progress through stages of fear, and return again if he triumphs over the antagonist. This variation can occur even if the surrounding atmosphere remains constant.

When emphasizing atmosphere and mood, take care to use familiar (but not stereotypical) wording, so as not to confuse or bore your reader. When fully developed, these parts of your story will draw the audience in and leave them satisfied.

Happy writing!

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