1. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Is it cheesy to set dark mood using weather?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Mallory, Jul 17, 2010.

    I'm trying to create a sort of dark mood in my story. It's not horror, but kind of a "bad things have been happening" lonely type mood.

    Obviously, saying something like "The sky was as gray as her heart" and using a ton of purple prose is just stupid. But what if you are more subtle, and mention stuff like rain, wind, cold, dim/flickering lights, etc.

    Can this work well to set a good tone, or is it something to steer away from or considered cliche`?

    Thanks. :)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Just don't begin with, "It was a dark and stormy night..."

    Everything you do in an opening scene, including the weather, helps set a mood.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Thanks!! :)

    "A dark and stormy night." Your posts never fail to make me chuckle.
     
  4. Fantasy of You
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    Fantasy of You Banned

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    I'm not one for too much description, or obvious foreshadowing. That said, one of my favourite lines - as simple as it is - concerns the weather: "The sky was bruised purple."
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well. If you do it well you get away with it. If you use all kinds of weather all kinds of way you will avoid the worst clichés. Jim Butcher tends to do this in a good way using all sort of weathers to set the mood. From moist uncomfortable heat to the classical stormy night.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's cheesy, if done cheesily... not, if not...
     
  7. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    One option you could think about is using the clothes she wears to highlight the weather around her.
     
  8. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    The weather is often a good way to show the mood, because in reality, it often effects our mood. If it is a sunny day, we usually feel more happy. If it is a dark and drab day, then most people feel a little more moody. However, certain events don't rely on the weather. If there is a battle going on, it could be a beautiful sunny day. I often find the story much easier to believe if the weather goes its own course, instead of copying the situations.

    If you were walking down the alley, would you feel worried if it was a sunny day, flowers growing along the fences, and birds are chirping in the trees? What if it was night, raining, and the fence was creaking in the wind? In that case, it is all the mood. However...the serial killer probably won't attack in daylight, but at night, when no one can see anything, and the rain will wash all the evidence away. Just keep it realistic.

    Anything has the possibilty that be cheesy, and in the end, it is all about how you write it. Many of us have seen the cheesy love story, where the lovers get reunited in the end. We have also seen the really touching love story, where the lovers get reunited in the end. Same thing, just different execution. Just worry about the effect the story will have on the reader. (Just a hint: If you think it is a little cheesy, chances are, the reader will think it is extremely cheesy. Learn to be judge of your story, and not its lawyer)

    Real Life
    -Heard of rainy wedding days
    -Been to sunny funerals
    -9/11. Look at the pictures. Terrible day, but the weather looked fine.
     
  9. WindOffTheSea
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    WindOffTheSea New Member

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    Setting the mood based on weather can be fun and seem like a great way to set it, but sometimes it helps to allow the narrator to do his/her job and describe even a sunny day with words that make it darker than it is on the surface. It's harder, and it requires more work, but sometimes your characters are going to be the ones who will decide what the mood is going to be. When applicable, the weather helps. Granted, bad things tend to happen more during weird weather, at night, or some other kind of setting (at least in books and movies), but try focusing more on how your characters are interpreting it.

    Good Luck,
    MB
     
  10. Cecil
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    Cecil Member

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    While I think it can work to literally change the weather to fit the mood, I think it would be much more impressive to "filter" the audiences perception of the weather, through the character's mood. If I'm happy, a sunny day can be pleasant, but if I'm feeling down, the sunlight is annoyingly bright. Likewise, a gray, overcast sky can be beautiful if I'm in a good mood.

    If your writing in a way that everything comes through your character's point of view (first person, third person limited, etc.) then I think this can be a good way to set the mood using the weather and give a little character development by showing the kind of weather he/she likes the best. Just don't go overboard and make the weather always go in the opposite direction to the character's mood.

    However, for the opening the rules may be a little different. In the opening you aren't just setting the character's mood, but the mood of the whole story, the whole world you're writing about. So weather is fair game.
     
  11. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    I think that it can work (if you avoid that "dark and stormy" line), but I also enjoy that sort of ironic weather, like Evelyanin said, sunny funerals and rainy weddings. Well, not rainy weddings, 'cause those suck, but they do present an opportunity for a cute, romantic umbrella moment.

    One of my favorite weather examples is from Fullmetal Alchemist set at a funeral. I apoligize for paraphrasing, and possibly misspelling apologize.

    Roy Mustang: It's raining, Hawkeye.

    Riza Hawkeye: *Looks Up* No, it's sunny, Sir.

    Roy Mustang: *Crying* It's raining.

    Riza: I suppose it is, Sir. I suppose it is.
     
  12. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I loved that Funeral Scene. Holy crap it was so depressing I think I even had a tear in my eye. :(
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the bottom line here, as in all aspects of writing is that anything can work if done well and nothing can, if done poorly...
     
  14. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ninja Vampires vs. Zombie Pirates from space?
     
  15. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's a classic line. Google it.
     
  16. LeFay
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    LeFay New Member

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    It's cool to hear everyone's opinions of this.

    I always figured that the short answer is "no," and the long answer is, "because so many freaking people use that trick."

    But yeah, it depends, I guess.
     
  17. LightningBug
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    LightningBug New Member

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    I agree with the weather a good "mood" setter, but more than that, it sets the tone for the story. If someone is in a house, having it storm outside gives it a little more of feeling "trapped" inside. If they go out, they'll get soaked and cold and . . . .yeah. It can create that lonely, oppressed tone.

    If you want to use weather in your story, by all means, do it! Just don't make it suck!
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Does that mean tornadoes are a no-no?
     

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