Lately I have been thinking a lot about story atmosphere and how it can draw the reader into the world of your story.

It’s all those things that come together to make the reader feel a certain way about the characters and what’s happening to them.

Atmosphere makes a story compelling and hard to put down. It adds another dimension for the reader. It gives them a feeling of being part of the scene.

So what are the things that make up atmosphere?

These are the things I’ve thought of. If you have some other suggestions, please feel free add them to the comments section of this post.


  • Mood of the characters
  • Emotions that characters are feeling. Are they happy, sad, scared, worried? How do they show this in their speech and body language?
  • Actions of characters – how do they respond to the situation?
  • Time of day – lighting, temperature etc.
  • Setting detail about the location of the scene – where and when – sounds and colours
  • Situation the characters find themselves in
  • Who is in the scene? Which characters, and what is their place in the story? Are the antagonist and protagonist in the scene? Is the hero under threat? How big is this threat? How much is at stake?
  • Pauses/beats between action
  • Imagery
  • language
  • rhythm

Atmosphere is part of the bigger picture. The language you use has to evoke a feeling or mood. It has to create a strong sensation for the reader.

Think about the way your character speaks, the language they use, the beats in between. Their diction. This will reflect how they are feeling…their reactions to what happens.

Plots can be tension filled, characters can engage me, but it’s the atmosphere that a writer creates that leaves me with a feeling or sensation, long after I’ve closed the final page of a book.

I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you have any other tips on creating atmosphere please feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.

Happy Writing:)


P.S. NaNoWriMo starts in November and I have plans to write a 50,000 word YA novel for the month. Wish me luck:) I’ll be sharing the journey with you on this blog. If you’re doing NaNo, best of luck to you too. Have fun and shout out if you feel like you need some encouragement. Maybe I’ll see you in the NaNosphere.


  1. Thanks for the excellent tips, Dee!

    Temperature definitely played a part in my latest YA manuscript, set in a tropical North Queensland summer. Describing the change from the humid, mozzie-filled outdoors to the cool, airconditioned interior changed the mood completely.

    All the best for NaNo! I say stock up on chocolate. 🙂


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